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Mary Landrieu looks to seniors in tight race

Facing a tight re-election bid, Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is ramping up efforts to court seniors, hoping older voters will help push her over the edge to win a fourth term. Landrieu on Tuesday made several stops across the state to tout an endorsement from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, a Washington-based… Continue reading →

Secretary of State Tom Schedler eyes voter turnout

Louisiana election turnout could be low for Nov. 4 statewide balloting based on historical data, Secretary of State Tom Schedler said Tuesday. Schedler said past history in recent federal elections indicates a potential 45 to 50 percent voter participation rate. “I hope I’m wrong,” said Schedler. “This election should draw 70 percent because of the magnitude… Continue reading →

U.S. Senate campaigns in Louisiana relying on social media to deliver messages

While the leading candidates in Louisiana’s U.S. Senate race debated on a stage in Shreveport and on TVs throughout the state last week, their Twitter feeds battled it out online. “Senator Landrieu is clearly desperate. My bill in the state Senate was voluntary and market-based, unlike #Obamacare,” Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy’s campaign blasted out about… Continue reading →

Magazine notes Jindal comments on Ebola

Bobby Jindal

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s incursion in the world of Ebola politics brought him some ink in the latest edition of The New Yorker magazine. The article, by Michael Specter, is titled “The Fear Equation” and Jindal is the example used for fueling public fears. “Actually, all it takes to discombobulate a… Continue reading →

Government workers down 30K over 6 years

As Bobby Jindal prepared for his 2008 inauguration as governor, state government workers numbered about 93,500. Today, that workforce hovers at 62,000 employees — fewer than it’s been in more than two decades. Spending on payroll has decreased by about $1 billion annually. At the Louisiana State Employees Retirement System, retirees now exceed the number… Continue reading →

Treasurer says Jindal ‘Obamacared’ Group Benefits

Advocate staff photo by Travis Spradling -- The Louisiana State Capitol

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration has “Obamacared” Group Benefits, the state’s health insurance program, according to state Treasurer John Kennedy. The Obama administration is taking $700 billion from Medicare to fund the federal health care revamp formally known as the Affordable Care Act, Kennedy said. “That was wrong,” Kennedy said. “Now… Continue reading →

Bobby Jindal: Increase defense spending

Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks at the 2014 Values Voter Summit in Washington, Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Gov. Bobby Jindal says the federal government should ramp up defense spending and protect the defense budget from the threat of sequestration. Jindal, a Republican who is weighing a run for president in 2016, unveiled his national defense policy plan Monday in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., that was highly critical of… Continue reading →

800 turn out for Common Core forum

Advocate File Photo -- This is Mound A, also called the Bird Mound, as seen from the tram tour of Poverty Point State Historic Site on Saturday, July 7, 2012.

State Rep. Brett Geymann, R-Lake Charles, said 800 people turned out for a gathering on Common Core on Sept. 29 in Moss Bluff. “Just real people with real concerns,” Geymann said in a text message about the gathering’s attendees. Geymann is one of the Legislature’s top critics of the new academic standards in reading, writing and… Continue reading →

Landrieu, Cassidy tout endorsements

AP file photosCassidy    Landrieu

After Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy didn’t attend its candidate forum Tuesday night, the nonprofit Alliance for Good Government has thrown its support behind incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, a New Orleans Democrat. “Taking positions and interacting directly with voters should be a responsibility of all people seeking office in this country, which is why I’m looking… Continue reading →

Mary Landrieu and Rob Maness debate in Kenner

Rob Maness, Mary Landrieu

Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and Republican challenger Rob Maness squared off on issues related to wetlands, energy policy and busting through the partisan gridlock in Washington, D.C., in front of a packed crowd at Kenner City Hall on Tuesday night, but the leading GOP candidate, Bill Cassidy, wasn’t in attendance. State Rep. Paul Hollis, R-Covington, said… Continue reading →

Documents shed light on LSU hospital changes

The newly rewritten deals for the private groups that would administer most of the state’s charity hospitals eliminate the funding guarantees that bothered federal authorities, but would allow for an early out, if things go awry, according to documents released by LSU on Tuesday. The private partner’s obligation to continue providing “core” and “key” services at the… Continue reading →

Outside groups aim to register Louisiana voters ahead of deadline

Louisianians have about a week left to register to vote in the November election, and with a heated U.S. Senate race having gained national attention, several third-party groups are working to get more people on the state’s voter rolls. Outside voter registration efforts locally have included in-person voter drives, as well as official-looking prefilled registration forms… Continue reading →

Landry’s views loud and clear on teacher evaluations

Advocate staff photo by Travis Spradling -- The Louisiana State Capitol

While teacher unions usually lead the way in criticizing Louisiana’s new methods for evaluating public school teachers, they had to take a back seat last week. Mickey Landry, executive director of the Choice Foundation in New Orleans, was succinct in his view of what should be done about the current job evaluation methods. “I think we… Continue reading →

Cassidy speaks on dyslexia

Advocate staff photo by Travis Spradling -- The Louisiana State Capitol

​ Amid an under-the-klieg-lights campaign for the U.S. Senate, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., took some time Thursday to address an issue that for him is far more personal than political: dyslexia. In an informational hearing before the U.S. House Science Committee, Cassidy spoke about his experience as a father when he and his wife, Laura, learned a few years… Continue reading →

Bobby Jindal touts national energy policy plan in Washington D.C.

Associated Press file photo J. Scott Applewhite -- La. Gov. Bobby Jindal

Gov. Bobby Jindal says America is hurting its economy through efforts that curb domestic energy production. In back-to-back events in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Jindal touted a new national energy policy that focuses on increasing domestic and cheaper energy, which he says will stimulate jobs and the economy. The policy paper, released through Jindal’s America Next… Continue reading →

U.S. Sen. David Vitter target of campaign finance complaint

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Sen. David Vitter speaks at the weekly Baton Rouge Press Club luncheon recently concerning policies he's working on in the U.S. Senate and his candidacy for Governor.

A Democrat-leaning group filed a complaint accusing U.S. Sen. David Vitter of violating a state campaign finance law. The American Democracy Legal Fund accused Republican Vitter and his Senate campaign of impropriety in contributing $100,000 to a group supporting his 2015 governor’s race bid. The complaint was filed Friday with the Louisiana Board of Ethics, which… Continue reading →

Treasurer: Discipline a factor in graduation

Suzy Sonnier, Sec. Department of Children & Family Services

State Treasurer John Kennedy, who serves as a substitute teacher about three times per year, said one reason that nearly one in four students in Louisiana public high schools fails to graduate in four years is lack of discipline. “Too often there are one or two kids in every class who constantly interrupt and disrupt the learning… Continue reading →

Tenure law appeal goes before Supreme Court

Judge Mike Caldwell

The Jindal administration’s appeal of a lower court decision that his signature 2012 teacher tenure law is unconstitutional goes before the Louisiana Supreme Court on Friday. Oral arguments in the case will be streamed online via the Supreme Court’s website. Go to and click the “Oral Arguments” link on the right side of the… Continue reading →

U.S. Senate debate set

Mary Landrieu; Bill Cassidy; Rob Maness

The three major candidates in the upcoming U.S. Senate race will participate in a televised forum Oct. 14, event organizers announced Monday. It is the first announced forum featuring all three major candidates — Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and two Republican challengers, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy and retired U.S. Air Force Col. Rob Maness — in… Continue reading →

2 Louisiana benefits office staffers added to roster

Thomas Groves

The Jindal administration has two new six-figure salary employees, hired to help with state Office of Group Benefits changes. Thomas Groves has been hired as an assistant commissioner at $220,000 a year and Elise Cazes as a $106,512-a-year group benefits administrator. Group Benefits will be part of Groves’ duties. He’ll also lead risk management, technology services,… Continue reading →

State GOP postpones endorsement debate

With important federal fall elections approaching, the state Republican Party on Saturday sidestepped the controversial issue of candidate endorsements and refused to consider a “party unity” resolution. The party executive committee’s June endorsement of U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy’s bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu irked some supporters of retired U.S. Air Force Col. Rob… Continue reading →

Capitol Buzz: Beebe lashes out at White

Advocate staff photo by Travis Spradling -- The Louisiana State Capitol

During a lengthy meeting last week of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, one member lashed out at state Superintendent of Education John White. “I am sure you can read,” BESE member Lottie Beebe said to White, eliciting groans from the audience. White, who graduated from the University of Virginia and earned a graduate degree at New… Continue reading →

Roemer ‘not in love with politics’

Chas Roemer, 44, is no stranger to politics. “I’ve been around politics all my life, literally all my life,” he said. He has been on the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education for seven years and president for the past two. His grandfather Charles served as commissioner of administration. His father, Buddy, spent… Continue reading →

Jindal politicking in Iowa

Advocate staff file photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- La. Gov. Bobby Jindal

Gov. Bobby Jindal is in Iowa for several political events and will return to Baton Rouge on Sunday, according to his administration. Jindal, who has been considered a potential contender for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, was in Fort Worth, Texas, Thursday night to speak to writers at the “RedState Gathering.” He flew to… Continue reading →

Jindal visits border

Advocate staff file photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- La. Gov. Bobby Jindal

Gov. Bobby Jindal and other Louisiana leaders traveled to the Texas-Mexico border on Monday to get a closer look at the nation’s immigration crisis. “In at least three locations, we saw where people were trying to make their way into Texas in an unimpeded manner,” State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson said after an afternoon boat ride… Continue reading →

Jindal, Holden to attend AgCenter opening

Photo provided -- Sam Irwin

Gov. Bobby Jindal and Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden are scheduled to attend the dedication of a new $14 million LSU AgCenter building that the Louisiana Legislature funded through direct allocation. The ceremony marking the opening of the two-story, 49,000-square-foot Animal and Food Sciences Laboratories Building will be at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to an AgCenter news… Continue reading →

Funding sought to preserve invention

Leonard Julien invented a mechanical way to plant sugar cane, developing technology still in use today.

Leonard Julien tickled the ivories at night, teaching himself how to play the piano. By day, Julien farmed sugar cane, lamenting the slowness of planting the stalks by hand. Julien — a Modeste farmer who died in 1994 — liked music and he liked to tinker. He figured out an easier, simpler way to plant sugar… Continue reading →

Jindal: Details needed on immigrant children in La.

Advocate staff file photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- La. Gov. Bobby Jindal

Gov. Bobby Jindal demanded further details from the White House Thursday about 1,071 unaccompanied immigrant children living with sponsors in Louisiana. Jindal wants to know where the children are living, the timeline for determining their ultimate status and whether the federal government plans to kick in dollars for their education and health care. He also wants to know… Continue reading →

Strain whittles down ag department debt

Advocate staff photo by MICHELLE MILLHOLLONState Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain said Monday that agriculture remains Louisiana's largest industry.

State Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain inherited a $98 million debt load from his predecessor when he took office in 2008. Over the course of two terms, he’s whittled the debt down to $34 million. “My whole goal has been to get this agency out of debt. I’ve been at it seven years,” Strain said Monday… Continue reading →

State eyeing tax service fraud

State officials contend Maletica V. Ferguson opened The Best Tax Service in Baton Rouge and offered patrons a deal that couldn’t be beat: She guaranteed they would receive a tax refund. How did she do it? By reporting business losses. The problem? Some of her clients didn’t own businesses. Ferguson is just… Continue reading →

Jindal takes possible digs at Christie

State Rep. Joe Harrison

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent remarks to are being seen as an apparent dig at potential rivals for the GOP’s 2016 presidential nomination. Jindal, who has been steadily positioning himself for a possible presidential run, told Time he’s sticking to policy because he doesn’t believe big elections should be “about personalities or just about slogans.”… Continue reading →

State Rep. Hollis exits Senate race

Rep. Paul B. Hollis

State Rep. Paul Hollis, R-Covington, announced Monday that he is dropping out of the U.S. Senate race. In a statement issued by his campaign, Hollis said: “After prayer and thoughtful consideration, I have decided to withdraw from the U.S. Senate race in Louisiana. I am thankful for the outpouring of support from voters throughout the state… Continue reading →