Wednesday April 18, 2012

C'est Bon

The coalition of independent civic groups working to improve public education in Lafayette Parish has increased its membership with the addition of three new member organizations — the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Pugh Family Foundation and the Upper Lafayette Economic Development Foundation — joining the Lafayette Parish Public Education Stakeholders Council. The additions bring the number of member organizations in LaPESC to 13 or, collectively, more than 6,000 stakeholders. That’s strength in numbers. LaPESC members have played a critical role in bringing in a qualified superintendent, Dr. Pat Cooper, and they’ve also served on Cooper’s 10 task forces that crafted his proposed six-year district turnaround plan. The level of commitment to improving educational outcomes in Lafayette, especially for our most at-risk students, is at an all-time high.


Pas Bon

If the last week is any indication, it’s going to be a very muddy late summer and early fall. Although he hasn’t formally announced yet, it’s clear U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia, will go after Lafayette Republican Rep. Charles Boustany’s seat in what promises to be an ugly campaign. This week a war of words between the two percolated up to the national level when Beltway website Politico published a story Sunday evening covering the feud between the pair after each took credit for inserting language concerning port dredging in this year’s budget resolution. Landry earlier fired off a press release taking credit. Boustany’s office shot back with an email of its own essentially calling Landry a liar. Landry takes a harsher tone in the article than does Boustany, telling Politico, “[Boustany] doesn’t understand hard work. To run on his record, that means he runs on zero. So think about this: This is a four-term, Mr. Powerful, sits-on-Ways-and-Means guy who’s out here picking on some lowly little freshman. Come on, man. He can’t be that worried.”



When Vincent Pierre, now a state representative for Lafayette, announced last summer his intention to challenge incumbent Rep. Rickey Hardy in the October 2011 election — an election he won in a November runoff — he signalled he would run a campaign focusing on improving the educational and economic fortunes of his relatively impoverished district. “In District 44 we have failing schools. We have schools that have been challenged,” Pierre told this newspaper at the time, adding that “District 44 is the front yard of Lafayette as I normally tell everyone, and I am very interested in trying to develop that area so we can gain employment and companies to build here.” In his first session representing the north side of Lafayette, Pierre hasn’t exactly been making magic warlock art. His sole contribution to this year’s legislation: a bill changing the word “search” to “background check” and deleting the word “and” in an existing state law authorizing the Louisiana Department of Insurance to examine the criminal history of individuals who work in the insurance industry.

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