Politics Column for Sunday, June 16, 2013

Crist to keynote Democratic dinner

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist will deliver the keynote address at Louisiana’s 2013 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on Aug. 17.

The 7 p.m. event will be at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside.

Louisiana Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Peterson, D-New Orleans, said the event marks the first time Crist has keynoted a high-profile Democratic event outside of Florida.

“We are thrilled that he chose Louisiana to make his debut,” Peterson said.

Crist, a former Republican, became an independent in 2010 but lost his bid for the U. S. Senate.

He became a Democrat in December 2012.

In 2012, Crist endorsed President Barack Obama and spoke at the Democratic National Convention, where he told the delegates: “I didn’t leave the Republican Party; it left me. Then again, my friend Jeb Bush recently noted, Reagan himself would have been too moderate, too reasonable for today’s GOP.”

Commission speaks on equal pay bill

Louisiana legislators approved the Louisiana Equal Pay for Women Act during the just-ended session, but it’s limited in application — strictly to state government agencies.

The bill sitting on Gov. Bobby Jindal’s desk drew the attention of the state Civil Service Commission and its director last week.

State Civil Service director Shannon Templet said the government personnel agency is cognizant of its constitutional commitment to administer a merit system that is “free from political and other forms of discrimination.”

The commission “appreciates the Louisiana state legislators commitment to ensuring these principles are upheld,” Templet said.

“Louisiana state government has operated under a merit system for over 40 years. Because of the principles of the merit system, state government employees have always had equal pay among men and women,” Templet said.

Schedlers welcome new granddaughter

Secretary of State Tom Schedler and his wife, Stephanie, welcomed their third grandchild, Avery Grace Schurr, into the world at 5:20 a.m. Friday.

“Avery Grace came earlier than expected and impatiently shot into the world, but he couldn’t be prouder leading into Father’s Day weekend,” Schedler’s press secretary Meg Casper reported.

Avery Grace weighed 7 pounds, 5 ounces. Mother Michelle Schedler Schurr and baby are doing fine.

DOTD secretary to race in Huey P 5K

Sherri LeBas, secretary of the state Department of Transportation and Development, planned to be among the runners and walkers for a rare, 5-kilometer race across the newly expanded Huey P. Long Bridge in New Orleans.

The bridge was widened from two narrow lanes to three lanes with shoulders in each direction.

LeBas’ father was also set to take part in the event, which is called the Great Huey P. Long Bridge Run.

Lopintos mark twins’ 3rd birthdays

After struggling to become parents, state Rep. Joseph Lopinto and his wife, Lauren, are eager to mark their twins’ childhood milestones.

The couple just booked a December trip to Walt Disney World that will coincide with the twins’ third birthday.

Lopinto, R-Metairie, said the trip will revolve around their children, Joey and Lily.

“We’re going to be stuck on the Dumbo ride and It’s a Small World,” he said, joking.

Poverty Point draws worldwide attention

Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne will be in northeast Louisiana this week drawing attention to Poverty Point and providing an update on its nomination as a World Heritage site.

The media day at Poverty Point State Historic Site will follow a Wednesday fundraiser put on by the Advocates of Poverty Point.

The golf tournament at Black Bear Golf Course — a part of the Poverty Point state park — to raise funds for promotion of the historic mounds.

The approximately 3,500-year-old earthworks, near Delhi, is the only site nominated by the U.S. secretary of the interior to be a UNESCO World Heritage site this year.

“We didn’t get any state money for World Heritage (promotion) activities,” said state Sen. Francis Thompson, D-Delhi, an event organizer. So, the golf tournament idea jelled. “Black Bear is the No. 1 public course in Louisiana. It’s right there at the mounds.

“What better way to bring attention to it than a golf tournament in the middle of the summer.”

Golfers will be participating in “Rounds for the Mounds.”

Leger to speak
at BR Press Club

State Rep. Walt Leger III, D-New Orleans, will be the guest speaker Monday at the Press Club of Baton Rouge.

Leger will discuss the 2013 regular legislative session, which ended June 6.

The meeting takes place at De La Ronde Hall, 320 Third St.

Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. and costs $12 for members and $15 for nonmembers.

Hospital care on Press Club docket

The future of charity hospital care in Acadiana will be the focus of Monday’s Acadiana Press Club’s June Newsmaker Forum.

University Hospital and Clinics CEO Jared Stark, Lafayette General Medical Center President and CEO David Callecod and LGMC’s Assistant Vice President of Network Development Paul Molbert will discuss the takeover of the former University Medical Center.

The change is effective June 24.

The lunch forum will be held in the Ardoin Building Cafeteria at South Louisiana Community College in Lafayette. Only members of the working media and Acadiana Press Club members may ask questions during the forum.

For information, email info@acadianapressclub.org.

Democrats to host roundtable talk

East Baton Rouge Democrats are sponsoring a Legislative Roundtable at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Laborers Local Union Hall, 1233 Government St.

The roundtable will feature state Sen. Sharon Broome and state Reps. Regina Barrow, Ted James and Patricia Smith, all of Baton Rouge.

The legislators will update attendees on the toughest challenges and victories of the 2013 legislative session.

Corps of Engineers to give update

A representative from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will provide Pelican State Pachyderm Club updates Tuesday on 2013 projects and preparations for the hurricane season

The starts at 6:15 p.m. at the Five Happiness restaurant, 3605 S. Carrollton Ave., in New Orleans.

The cost is $25 per member and $35 for others.

RSVP at miltonatebara@aol.com.

Weinstein to speak at GOP roundtable

Rabbi Barry Weinstein will be the featured speaker at Thursday’s meeting of the Ascension GOP Roundtable.

The roundtable, sponsored by Ascension Republican Women, is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at Kamal’s Kafe, 13091 Airline Highway, in Gonzales.

Weinstein works in the arena of interfaith relationships and will share his knowledge relevant to Jewish sovereignty and activities in Israel.

Cost for the buffet-style lunch is $15.

The roundtable is open to the public and guests are welcome. Reservations are requested. Phone (225) 644-5728 or email arwrus@aol.com.

For information, visit the website at www.lfrw.org/

State leaders to talk to GOP Women Club

Republican State Sens. Dan Claitor, of Baton Rouge, and Elbert Guillory, of Opelousas, along with Rob Maness, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, are scheduled to address the Capital City Republican Women.

The meeting begin at 6 p.m. Thursday at BREC Independence, 7505 Independence Blvd., in Baton Rouge.

Compiled by the Capitol news bureau. Contact email address is cnb@theadvocate.com.