Lafayette state Rep. Joel Robideaux walked into Gov. Bobby Jindal's office Wednesday an independent lawmaker and walked out a Republican.
Robideaux, who calls himself “a lifelong independent,” announced late Wednesday that he is joining the Republican Party.
“After meeting privately today with Gov. Jindal and discussing the matter with him, I have decided to become a member of the Republican Party,” Robideaux said in announcing his decision.
Robideaux, the current speaker pro tempore, isn’t commenting on whether this amounts to a quid pro quo with the GOP governor, whose support he needs in his bid to become speaker. “I’m not discussing the particulars of the meeting, but I will say that I feel I’m in a better position than before,” Robideaux tells The Independent this morning. He becomes the 57th Republican in the 105-member House of Representatives.
Robideaux noted in his announcement that his voting record has always been conservative.
“During my political career, I have prided myself on being able to work with everyone, no matter their party affiliation, and to forge coalitions and consensus to pass legislation beneficial to our state and our citizens," he said. "This will not change. I simply believe I can do the most good by aligning myself with the party.”
After meeting with Robideaux, Jindal issued the following statement: “We met with Joel today and we’re happy to welcome him to the Republican Party. Joel has always been a friend and we look forward to continuing to work with him on conservative reforms that will grow Louisiana’s economy and make state government more efficient and more effective for Louisianians.”
Elected to the House in a special election in 2004, Robideaux served on the House Civil Law and Procedure, Natural Resources and Retirement committees during his first term. In 2008, he was appointed chairman of the House Retirement Committee and serves on the powerful Ways and Means Committee, Joint Legislative Committee on Capital Outlay and Legislative Budgetary Control Council. He was elected Speaker Pro Tempore in 2010.
Robideaux represents House District 45, which encompasses part of Lafayette Parish. So far, he has no opposition in his re-election bid this fall.
Also vying to replace House Speaker Jim Tucker, R-Terrytown, in the next term are Democratic Reps. Jim Fannin of Jonesboro and Jeff Arnold of New Orleans, along with Republican Reps. Chuck Kleckley of Lake Charles, Erich Ponti of Baton Rouge and Hunter Greene of Baton Rouge.
Read more about Robideaux’s campaign to become the first speaker to hail from Acadiana in five decades in this April 13 cover story, “Independent’s Day?”
MAY 24 Blogger Robert Mann posts this entry about the Baton Rouge Chamber's recent report on Louisiana's higher education system. It's critical to economic development, and yet our system is facing a "funding crisis" with no way to resolve it, the report says. The Chamber says control of tuition and fees must be returned to the higher ed governing boards.
MAY 24 Here's a NBC33 story about Tyrann Mathieu. He has signed with the Arizona Cardinals, inking a $3 million, four-year deal. He gets a signing bonus of $265K, but gets another, larger bonus if he doesn't get cut from the team for doing drugs. The deal reportedly includes mandatory tests and meetings for the player.
MAY 24 Jarvis DeBerry posts here about the redonkulus rhetoric that would have us believe NOLA is a safe city with a murder problem. Maybe the city's crime stats don't compare with its murder stats because you can't manipulate a murder, he says: a dead body's a dead body. It just doesn't make sense, he says, and his readers agree: a poll asks if they believe the city is safe, and more than 90 percent say no.
MAY 24 Jindal administration officials announced Thursday that the privatization of public health care is going to cost a lot more than they budgeted for, the Advocate reports here. "I'm so surprised," said no one. Anywhere. The cost they're projecting now is more than $1 billion - a lot more than the $626 million budgeted for it. And, it's more than it cost the state to operate those hospitals. So why are we doing this again?
MAY 24 Blogger CB Forgotston ridicules the recent PR campaign by the state GOP in the wake of a legislative auditor's request to both major parties. The GOP (apparently unaware that the Dems got the same request) started yammering about being targeted because it had "killed" a tax increase. CB finds that laughable, but it's also pretty funny that the GOP was comparing this episode to the IRS scandal (Because the President has so much to do with our state auditor. Right?).
MAY 24 Politico details some recent fund-raising efforts by Sen. David Vitter, which have raised the question of his future political plans. This time, it is a $5,000 per head "bayou weekend" that includes "Cajun cooking" and an all-caps "alligator hunt," the story reports. Funds raised go to a super PAC that can spend money to support Vitter in federal or state races, the story points out.
MAY 24 The pink building on Royal in the quarter was sold at a sheriff's sale Thursday, this Picayune story reports. An injunction that would have halted the sale wasn't enforced because the family failed to post a $150,000 bond, the story reports. So the owner of the mortgages on the building bought it, for nearly $7 million. Now the feuding family will have to negotiate with that company to get a lease on the building that has housed their business for close to 60 years.
MAY 23 This post in Louisiana Voice tells us about a bill by a Winnsboro lege that would require all public high school students to take at least one Course Choice online class in order to graduate. (What?) Blogger Tom Aswell says it's a monument to "waste and corruption," especially in light of the problems he's exposed with the program in recent weeks. Idaho had a similar program, but voters removed it by a 2-1 margin, Aswell says.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.
Philip deMahy Sr., a once respected New Iberia ad exec, was sentenced May 2 to spend the next two years (he faced up to 100 years) in a state penitentiary after state and federal investigators found dozens of images depicting children engaged in lewd sexual acts on his personal computer.