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
In a statement, Michael Ranatza, executive director of the association, said Landrieu's "senior status" and her continued support for the sheriffs throughout her career were deciding factors.
The position puts him at odds with GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal, but could bolster support from the business community as the senator raises money for the 2015 governor's race.
On the cusp of a new school year, with the fallout from The IND’s special report, “What’s the Matter at Fatima,” still settling, the administration at Our Lady of Fatima is reaching out to the school “family” to offer reassurances about the academic and spiritual health of the institution.
The Hayride — Louisiana’s one-stop shop for far-right perspectives — has come to the defense of state Rep. Lenar Whitney following her embarrassing, early-exit interview last week with Cook Political Report analyst David Wasserman.
The Catholic Diocese of Lafayette says a 1992 investigation cleared the Rev. Gilbert Dutel of pedophilia allegations, yet when asked to produce those records, church officials came up empty-handed.
The former president and longtime board member of the Council on the Development of French in Louisiana has taken a Texas lawmaker to task over his use of the slur “coonass” during a legislative hearing.
Hundreds of new laws take effect Friday, with the start of August. A look at some of the changes on the books:
Marques Colston let out a laugh and shrugged his shoulders when the subject of his NFL longevity arose.
The state is accepting public comments on a plan that would invest $1 million in a new Homeowner Rehabilitation Program for low- to moderate-income residents whose homes were damaged after Hurricane Isaac.
A Senate Bill passed Thursday now awaits the president’s signature authorizing long-awaited reforms of the Veterans Affairs Administration, including new clinics for Lafayette and Lake Charles.
Behind the scenes a growing number of parents are saying, ‘We want our school back!’
Is sending a 16-year-old boy to prison with men for up to 99 years really the way to address juvenile crime?
How Lafayette’s family businesses have survived despite the odds
Lafayette is ready to embark on a master plan for growth, but will old habits impede our progress?
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The recently concluded World Cup is awash in analogies.
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Gaza truce unravels; Cantor exits early; immigration bill fails and more national and international news for Friday, August 1, 2014.
The City-Parish Council on Tuesday will be asked to sign off on an agreement between UL Lafayette and Lafayette Consolidated Government that would expand mass transit opportunities for UL students by adding five additional buses to its shuttle run between Cajun Field and campus.
Louisiana's high school seniors are making increased strides on Advanced Placement exams.
The Alabama game is sold out but tickets for all other homes games can be purchased online at www.LSUtix.net.
Among the one-percenters nationally, Louisiana's fattest cat is a relative pauper.
The Republican governor sent a letter Thursday to the president, saying placement of the children in Louisiana could have "potential negative ramifications."
Many laws are minor, though some impact health care options, change educational programs and reach into people's everyday activities.