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 23 Here's a story in the Picayune about some statistics that must come as a blow to folks who believe that any private school can do a better job of educating kids than any public school: Danielle Dreilinger reports that only 30 percent of the voucher kids are passing. That's less than half of the state wide average, she says. It's an interesting statistic because most of the schools (if not all) taking voucher kids have never had their students' standardized test scores released to the public before.
MAY 23 Stephen Sabludowsky blogs on Bayou Buzz about auditor requests here. Recently the state GOP started crowing about a request from the Legislative Auditor, claiming they were being targeted because of their anti-tax stance. (Uh, your what?) Denial and hyperbole aside, the state Democratic party blew holes in that theory with an email announcing they'd received the same request, Sabludowsky writes here.
MAY 23 Jim Brown blogs about the senate race in this post. He says that, given Bobby Jindal's "lack of traction" on the national stage, it might make more sense for the governor to consider running against Mary Landrieu for the senate seat. Since Tim Teeple left the Cassidy team, it makes sense he might land on a Jindal for Senate team, Brown opines.
MAY 23 In this Louisiana Voice post, blogger Tom Aswell writes of rumors that his nemesis, state Superintendent of Education John White, may be soon departing Louisiana for a federal post. It's hard to believe, given his performance, Aswell says, but stranger things have happened. An anti-White BESE member says that, if true, White is quitting before he can be fired.
MAY 23 In this post on American Zombie, blogger Jason Berry writes about the Mother's Day shooting. Mayor Landrieu said that "this is not who we are," but the fact is, this is New Orleans, Berry writes. The violence infused in the city is the result of a culture created by "sins of omission or sins of commission," Berry writes. It's not a problem that can be solved by legislating, policing, praying or publicizing, he says: Someone's got to understand what's happening first.
MAY 23 This post in the Westside Journal tells us what Port Allen Mayor Deedy has been up to lately: vetoing ordinances, apparently. This story is most interesting, however, when it delves into a petition that has been circulating around the city lately. It accuses the former mayor of a lot of nasty things; the former mayor says it is full of lies and "broken syntax" which may be a larger offense in his eyes.
MAY 23 This editorial posted in The Advocate is a bit confusing. The writing is poor - definitely not up to the usual editorial writing standard there - and the point is hard to grasp. Apparently, the writer is saying that privatization of state efforts is OK, as long as there is oversight and transparency, but Jindal's not good at that, and the legislature shouldn't over-react. Okey Dokey. Can't they get one of them Pulitzer-winning people to write an editorial?
MAY 23 This post on The Lens gives you links to a new Google Earth tool that allows you to see any spot on earth transform over the past 30 years. Bob Marshall, who covers the coast for the paper, says that in the case of Louisiana's coastline, it's possibly something you don't want to see, because it's not a pretty picture. There are several clips here, showing critical areas erode away. For Marshall, it was vindication for all those times he was met with eye-rolling when he talked about erosion.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
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.