The last election held for the 3rd Congressional District back in 2004 was among the hottest in the state, complete with campaign attacks against family members and old arrest records being resurrected. Based on the jabs already being unleashed by the Louisiana Democratic Party, history could repeat itself this year.
Democratic Congressman Charlie Melancon will once again face Republican state Sen. Craig Romero of New Iberia, and the state Democratic Party is coming out swinging. Within weeks of Romero's announcement, Louisiana Democrats issued a press release focusing on Romero's fundraising, criticizing him for meeting Vice President Dick Cheney in Alexandria rather than joining lawmakers on a bus tour of hurricane-impacted areas to open the ongoing special session. ' Jeremy Alford
VITTER GOES OP-ED
On the heels of White House hurricane recovery coordinator Donald Powell's disappointing comments in a Feb. 2 op-ed in The Washington Post, Republican Sen. David Vitter fired back with his own op-ed in the Post on Feb. 12. Vitter, usually one of President Bush's biggest supporters, used some of his strongest language to date in criticizing the administration. "Like most in Louisiana, I've been very disappointed by the Bush administration's recent statements about our hurricane recovery," Vitter wrote. "National and Louisiana leaders seem to be talking past each other rather than finding and building on common ground."
"[The president] has to understand that this is not as simple as saying that you can't build in a flood plain (the White House is in a flood plain) or that you can't build below sea level (the country would have to sacrifice a vitally important energy hub and port system)," Vitter also wrote. "Most of all, he has to understand that the great majority of New Orleans' catastrophic flooding occurred because of breaches in levees that were not overtopped by water but that failed from below because of gross design mistakes made by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers."
Vitter called for bold reforms in New Orleans public schools and the Charity hospital system, and urged state leaders and local leaders to make tough decisions on rebuilding and present a definitive recovery plan. "As difficult a path as this is, I truly believe the people will accept it ' in Louisiana and across the nation," Vitter wrote. "The real question is, will the Louisiana and national politicians?" ' Scott Jordan
THE $12 MILLION CARROT
As lawmakers continue to debate a single levee district for southeast Louisiana, there's a one-sentence mandate from the federal government hanging over their heads. Republican Congressman Bobby Jindal inserted the language into an appropriations bill, basically holding back $12 million from the state for hurricane protection research until a "single state or quasi-state entity" is created to oversee operations.
Terry Ryder, Gov. Kathleen Blanco's executive counsel, told lawmakers the levee consolidation should satisfy the federal mandate, but he was unable to totally discount another entity formed in November ' the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, which is meant to serve as a hub for coastal restoration, hurricane protection and flood control. While the language is up for debate, Jindal's one-sentence mandate is the golden carrot being dangled over the heads of lawmakers this session. ' JA
ANOTHER ONE FOR SOS
State Rep. Carla Blanchard Dartez says she is "seriously exploring" the possibilities of becoming a candidate in the upcoming election for secretary of state. The post became open last year after longtime Secretary Fox McKeithen died over the summer due to complications from a fall. Since then, potential candidates have been lining up and Dartez, a Morgan City Democrat, is among them.
"I really know I can do a good job, and I know Fox would want me to be there," she says. Dartez also says two of McKeithen's "close friends in Tennessee" have volunteered to help her raise money, declining to elaborate further.
Other possible candidates for the job include state Sen. Jay Dardenne, a Baton Rouge Republican; former state GOP Chair Mike Francis, state Sen. Sharon Weston Broome, a Baton Rouge Democrate; and Public Service Commissioner Dale Sittig of Eunice. ' JA
SIGNS FOR LEVEE BOARD APPOINTMENTS
Levee board members in Louisiana are generally recommended by lawmakers, appointed by the governor and ratified by the state Senate. But what it takes to actually get recommended in the first place varies, according to Rep. Danny Martiny, a Metairie Republican. "I've put up my share of people who put up [campaign] signs for me," he confessed during a committee meeting last week. After the laughter died down, Martiny admitted it probably wasn't a shining example of good government, but that's the way it went down. "I'm not saying I'm one of the good guys," he added. ' JA
The Louisiana Supreme Court has punted on its first chance to decide whether a new state constitutional provision declaring gun possession a fundamental right could void a long list of criminal statutes that regulate firearms.
New Orleans' offense, which ranks sixth in the NFL, isn't helping many of its skill players pile up Pro Bowl-type stats. Rather, the approach of coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees has enabled a wide range of play-makers to emerge periodically with high-production outings.
An ordinance phasing out a rebate businesses receive for collecting and remitting sales taxes is tabled, but it doesn’t solve the vexing issue of government revenue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday, December 12, 2013:
As part of a national undertaking known by industry insiders as the “Butterfly Project,” a rebranded version of The Daily Advertiser is set to launch with Sunday’s edition of the Gannett-owned paper.
Louisiana moved up a slot to 48th in the ranking of healthy states — once again, thank God for Mississippi! — so all this frettin’ about Gov. Bobby Jindal’s refusal to expand Medicaid per Obamacare ... fuggidaboutit! We don’t need Medicaid no more!
The Denham Springs woman who placed Christmas lights in the shape of a butter finger on her roof in a display of anger directed at neighbors has doubled the trouble for the 2013 holiday season.
The 30-second commercial, to run around the state, is the Democratic senator's first TV spot in her bid for re-election to a fourth term.
It's a number that has edged up but falls far short of the thousands who are eligible for subsidized coverage.
A group of mostly higher education leaders will make recommendations to state lawmakers about how to tweak the policies governing tuition rates charged at the state's public colleges.
That would be Congressman John Fleming talking about Sen. David Vitter.
The alleged mastermind behind the bribery scheme that went on for four years under DA Mike Harson’s nose isn’t just schizophrenic, bipolar and recovering from mini strokes; he now says he has cancer.
Louisiana's higher education leaders are trying to work out a financing deal to keep the state's public colleges from running low on state cash to operate their campuses.
With their latest triumph, the Saints left little doubt about how tough they are to beat in the Superdome. Unfortunately, two of their remaining three games are on the road.
For the first time in at least five years, retired teachers, state workers and school system employees could see an increase in their pension checks.
Lawmakers and Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration shared a collective sigh of relief with the news that Louisiana's tax amnesty program brought in the $200 million that they used to help balance this year's budget.
Drew Brees often makes the extraordinary look routine, particularly during night games in the Superdome.
The teams were extended invitations Sunday for the New Year's Day matchup played at Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
If all 44 projects are approved, about $300 million would remain in the fund set up as a down payment to help the Gulf.
Last week, the Saints gave up 429 yards to Seattle, second most in a game this season.
Since Anthony Jennings and Brooks Haack were not expected to contribute until next year at the earliest, it seemed like a sneak peek at hidden Christmas gifts.
Louisiana National Guard personnel seeking benefits for same-sex spouses will have an easier time filing the requests, despite a state refusal to let its workers process the paperwork.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera sees one potential flaw with his team's stellar defensive play so far this season. "Apparently we like to bite on the double moves," Rivera said.
Computer hackers may have gained access to the personal information of thousands of Louisiana residents who use debit cards issued by JPMorgan Chase for three state agencies, authorities said Wednesday.
Jim Purcell, who has been in the job since February 2011, notified the Board of Regents about his decision at its monthly meeting.