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Jindal goes “on duty” for Iowa candidate

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Gov. Bobby Jindal jumped onto the GOP tweeting bandwagon Monday in support of Iowa Army National Guard member Joni Ernst’s U.S. Senate bid.

Jindal is a little late to the game. Texas Gov. Rick Perry and N.J. Gov. Chris Christie showed their support for Ernst during trips to Iowa last week.

The idea behind the Twitter campaign is to go on election duty for Ernst – who is a Republican – while she fulfills her military service in Wisconsin. She can’t actively campaign while on military duty.

The Twitter campaign also likely appeals to White House hopefuls, who want their names to resonate with Iowa voters.

Among those “on duty” for Ernst:

 

 

Jindal praised at conservative event in Denver

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was lauded for apparently “transform(ing) the state government of Louisiana from an embarrassment to what’s been called the best in the nation”  at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver over the weekend.

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File photo: Gov. Jindal

Bob Beauprez, the GOP nominee for Colorado governor, was tasked with introducing Jindal before he gave a speech at the event.

“Bobby Jindal emphasized ethics and transparency and transformed the state government of Louisiana from an embarrassment to what’s been called the best in the nation,” The Denver Post quoted Beauprez as saying in the introduction. “He emphasized jobs and the economy and he set an all-time record for employment in the state of Louisiana and a top ranking for a business-friendly climate — a role that I think I might want to follow at some point.”

The Post reports that Jindal, a possible contender for the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nomination, went on to give “one of the best speeches of the three-day summit,” which ended Sunday with a straw poll in which Jindal came in fourth — behind Ben Carson, Sen. Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin.

Reports from Jindal’s speech indicate that he spent much of his time taking aim at President Barack Obama, a familiar theme for the term-limited governor.

“If you listen to this president’s policies, if you listen to his rhetoric, you hear a president trying to divide us by class, by geography, by gender, by race,” The Washington Times quoted Jindal as saying. “You hear a president talking to us about how government needs to get bigger and more intrusive and more powerful.”

Rep. Edwards takes his governor’s campaign to Press Club

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State Rep. John Bel Edwards, left, spoke to the Press Club of Baton Rouge Monday about his run for governor.

State Rep. John Bel Edwards went on the attack Monday. His target: Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Edwards, D-Amite, is running for governor in 2015. Jindal is barred by term limits from seeking a consecutive, third term.

Still, Edwards framed his campaign as a chance to undo some of Jindal’s policies, saying the governor has set up his successor for a financial disaster.

“He’s just trying to keep the balls in the air long enough to exit the stage,” Edwards said during an appearance at the Press Club of Baton Rouge.

Edwards is unhappy that the governor:

- Rejected an expansion of the Medicaid program, which provides health insurance to those who otherwise would not have it. Jindal rejected allowing an additional 250,000 people onto the Medicaid rolls, saying the expansion would be too costly to the state in the long run. Edwards said the expansion would help the working poor and create additional jobs for nurses, doctors and custodians.

- Eased the strain on the state budget by lowering health insurance premiums for state workers. The reduction decreased state agencies’ share of the cost for employee benefits but also failed to cover expenses, resulting in a drain on financial reserves. Edwards predicted that state workers eventually will receive fewer health benefits as the state struggles to contain costs.

Jindal wasn’t the only one on the receiving end of Edwards’ criticism. He also took a pointed swipe at U.S. Sen. David Vitter. Vitter, R-La., also is running for governor.

Edwards said Vitter as governor would be like Jindal on steroids. He said Vitter would amplify the platform of selling state assets and privatizing state duties.

“We need a proven leader from the middle. You can’t govern from the far left or the far right because you’re not going to continue to have a consensus,” Edwards said.

 

Whitney releases video response to border crisis

State Rep. Lenar Whitney, a Republican who is seeking the Baton Rouge-based 6th Congressional District seat, continues to speak out on the border crisis.

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Click for video on YouTube

Today, Whitney is releasing a 2 minute, 41 second video, again, slamming President Barack Obama’s response to the ongoing immigration issue and flood of immigrant children attempting to cross the border from Central America. Last week, Whitney asked supporters to sign a petition decrying the border situation.

In today’s video, Whitney says Obama is “too busy drinking beer and shooting pool” to deal with the crisis.

“The Rule of Law is being ignored, by politicians seeking to gain political advantage from a new wave of undocumented immigrants. This insanity must stop. Immediately. We need to secure the border!” Whitney says in the video.

She urges Congress to appropriate money for a border fence and compares the Texas/Mexico border to the South Korea/North Korea border.

Media have reported that tens of thousands of Central American youths — unaccompanied minors – have been caught crossing the U.S. border since October. (Read more about the situation here and here.)

Whitney is one of eight Republican candidates running in the Nov. 4 election to replace U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, a Republican who is running for the U.S. Senate. She gained some attention previously for controversial remarks on climate change.

Whitney isn’t the only Louisiana legislator eyeing the ongoing situation at the border. State Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Denham Springs, released a survey on Facebook today, questioning whether a special legislative session should be called.

Additionally, Louisiana U.S. Sen. David Vitter, a Republican who is running for governor in 2015, and Cassidy (who is challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu) have sponsored legislation to address the influx of Central American children attempting to cross the border.

Here’s the full transcript of the video Whitney’s campaign released today:

A crisis is taking place on the southern American border. More than 50,000 immigrant children have been detained since October. And President Obama refuses to address the problem. He’s too busy drinking beer and shooting pool. Illegal Immigration is getting out of hand in America. The Rule of Law is being ignored, by politicians seeking to gain political advantage from a new wave of undocumented immigrants. This insanity must stop. Immediately. We need to secure the border!

And I mean an absolute. shut. down. If we can secure the border between South Korea & North Korea, why can’t we do the same between Mexico and Texas? We have the most powerful military in the history of mankind! It’s called the Department of Defense for a reason. Let us DEFEND our homeland! And if necessary, congress should appropriate funds to build a fence.

Fences work. Isn’t there one around the White House? Furthermore, we cannot give Amnesty to the 11 million illegal immigrants who are already here. Those individuals have broken the law and we can’t ignore that fact simply out of convenience. Immigrants flock to America for two reasons: They want jobs. Or they want our entitlements: Medicaid, welfare and food stamps. So first, we need to make it virtually impossible to receive any of these free services without proof of citizenship.  If you want welfare, you’re gonna need to show us your birth certificate. We need you to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are an American citizen. Second, we must crackdown on employers who hire illegal aliens. We need to send a message loud and clear: if you hire a non-citizen, you will go to jail. We need mandatory minimums. And a Justice Department who has the will to make an example of violators.

If illegal aliens can’t find work, or can’t get free stuff, what will happen? They will go home. This is a problem that can no longer be ignored. America must act. And act immediately….Because a nation that ignores the rule of law can only descend into chaos. As John Adams said, “Liberty once lost, is lost forever” I sincerely hope our generation will be the ones to reverse course. The future of America is at stake. 

Hodges posts survey

State Rep. Valarie Hodges wants to hear from Louisiana residents about “the current crisis of illegal border crossings into Texas.”

Hodges, R-Denham Springs, has a survey on her Facebook page – facebook.com/RepresentativeValarieHodgesDistrict64.

Among the questions: whether a special legislative session should be called to address the “crisis of a large number of people crossing the border into the United States illegally, and their impact on Louisiana?”

“I’m asking Louisiana citizens from across the state to give me their direct thoughts on illegal immigration and what Louisiana ought to be prepared to do,” Hodges said in a news release.

She said she is concerned about reports from Texas that federal officials are secretly transporting and housing detainees captured while trying to cross the border from Mexico.

Some have been identified as “members of violent gangs, possibly infiltrating the United States disguised as refugees,” said Hodges, a member of the House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice. Others, she said,  have been determined to carry dangerous, contagious disease.

“At the very least, we need to know if the federal government is planning to transport detainees to Louisiana, and we need to plan ahead how to respond to that,” Hodges said.

Hollis backs Cassidy

U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy  picked up the Senate endorsement Monday of state Rep. Paul Hollis who bowed out of the race.

Cassidy, of Baton Rouge, and Hollis, of Covington, are both Republicans.

Cassidy is challenging veteran Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu in November balloting.

“We can trust Dr. Bill Cassidy to represent our conservative Louisiana values in the United States Senate,” Hollis said in a prepared statement.

Hollis urged Republicans to “join forces and end Mary Landrieu’s liberal reign in Washington.”

The Louisiana Republican Party has endorsed Cassidy and urged solidarity in efforts to oust Landrieu.

Hollis exited the race but retired U.S. Air Force Col. Rob Maness, a Republican,  continues to run an active campaign.

Refunds for 2012 flood-insurance rate hikes to start Oct. 1

Homeowners will start receiving refunds Oct. 1 of their past flood-insurance premium payments if they paid higher rates under a 2012 law that subsequently were  rolled back by legislation passed earlier this year, the office of U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., said Friday.

In 2012, Congress sought to put the debt-riddled federal flood insurance program on firmer financial ground by passing a law that resulted in sharply increased insurance premiums for some property owners. The resulting outcry prompted Congress to alter the 2012 law in a measure passed this spring that capped annual rate increases, reversed some increases imposed by the 2012 law and eliminated rate increases triggered by property sales.

 

 

Jindal and Edwards attract national attention

The confluence of Bobby Jindal’s drive for the presidency and the reemergence of Edwin Edwards as a candidate, this time for Congress, has once again thrust Louisiana into the path of visiting journalists.

Earlier this week, Time magazine described Jindal, who is known for the speed of his unaccented speech, has having a “thick Cajun drawl.”

Most local reporters now tape Jindal because he speaks so quickly, and is prone to veering off on tangents in mid-sentence.

The New York Magazine, on the other hand, more accurately described Edwards as having a Cajun accent and is prone to funny and insightful quips: “Sociopathy?” he said. “If I’m deluded, I’m deluded. That’s me. I’m comfortable with it.”

Get prepared for more Louisiana through the eyes the rest of the country.

Edwards will have CNN crew follow him around this weekend.

Jindal spends most weekends – and many days – campaigning in other states. He’s giving the opening speech Friday at Western Conservative Summit, in Denver.

Legislators spurn cost-cutting, thinner asphalt idea

The idea of using thinner asphalt on state roads fell flat with legislators Friday.
State Rep. Jim Fannin, R-Jonesboro, warned the Jindal administration against the idea during a meeting of the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget. “It’s easy to make a recommendation like that, but it certainly doesn’t make sense to do something like that,” he said.
The Jindal administration hired Alvarez and Marsal, a New York-based global management firm, earlier this year to find savings across state government. The firm produced ideas for saving $2.7 billion over five years.
Legislators received a thick book of the recommendations toward the end of this year’s legislative session. During the first two weeks of the current state fiscal year, the cost-cutting ideas produced $740,000 in savings after state officials adjusted insurance policies on ferries, barges and buildings. Alvarez felt the state was overinsuring property.
Another idea is to follow Texas’ lead and use 1-inch overlays of asphalt. Currently, Louisiana primarily uses 2-inch overlays. Texas saved $9 million a year by switching to 1-inch overlays.
Both rural and urban legislators questioned the wisdom Friday of using a thinner asphalt.
“I had that concern as well about the asphalt,” said state Rep. Patricia Smith, echoing Fannin.
Deputy Commissioner of Administration Ruth Johnson said the idea still is being investigated.
“Certainly they wouldn’t use that on all state roads. There have to be certain conditions that are met for where that’s appropriate. I believe the percentage of roads that would even be considered for that is around 5 percent,” Johnson said.

Legislator launches judgeship campaign

 

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State Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Bossier City, plans to run for judge.

Thompson made the announcement Friday morning. He is seeking the district court judgeship for Division B in the 26th Judicial District. The judgeship serves Bossier and Webster parishes.

The office’s current judge, Ford Stinson, is retiring.

“After careful thought and consultation with my family, I have decided to declare my candidacy for district court judge. Public service is very important to me and I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and encouragement to continue to serve our community as judge,” Thompson said.