Politics Column for Feb. 17, 2013

Agricultural official reports race funds

State Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain already has raised $350,000 for a future election bid, according to a report he filed with campaign finance offices late Friday.

Strain zeroed out his prior election account as he started raising money for the next election cycle.

Strain reported having $235,400 in cash on hand at the end of last year after spending $116,180.

Strain has said he’s contemplating a governor’s race bid in 2015. But under the heading “office sought” on the candidate report Strain put Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry.

Hines intends to expand network

Former Senate President Don Hines hopes to extend his rural hospital telemedicine network further south.

Through volunteers and donations, Hines — a Bunkie physician — plans on installing telemedicine equipment in a non-denominational mission in Guatemala. Then via the Internet, physicians at the medical center in New Orleans will examine the children and recommend treatment.

The telemedicine project is in support of Louisianians Mike and Dottie Clark’s mission-education center in Guatemala, Hines said. The Clarks minister to some 450 children, educate them, adopt them so they cannot be returned to the hostile environment from which they came.

The Georgia Partnership for Telehealth will donate the $35,000 telemedicine equipment, Hines said. He said he is trying to raise $30,000 for transmission fees, travel to install equipment, train personnel there and maintenance requirements.

For further info on the mission go to www.casaontherock.org. Tax deductible donations may be sent to Guatemala Telemedicine Project, P.O. Box 262, Bunkie,La. 71322 Further info on this project, contact Dr Hines at www.drdonhines@aol.com

Sec. Greenstein named to panel

Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein has been named to the recently created National Commission on Long-Term Care.

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., made the appointment.

The 15-member commission is to study how to effectively reform long-term care supports and services and then submit recommendations to Congress.

The commission will have six months to work once all its members are named.

Statement deadline near for elections

The deadline for candidates in the April 6 elections to submit their candidacy statements to The Advocate is Friday at 5 p.m. The statements will be published as space permits.

Candidates in the New Orleans area can contact New Orleans Bureau Chief Sara Pagones at spagnones@theadvocate.com. Those in Acadiana can contact Acadiana Bureau Chief Richard Burgess at rburgess@theadvocate.com.

Candidates in East Baton Rouge and the suburban parishes can contact Metro Editor Vicki Ferstel at vferstel@theadvocate.com.

Thompson to speak at BR Press Club

State Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Bossier City, will speak at Monday’s Baton Rouge Press Club meeting about his new statewide campaign defending gun ownership rights in Louisiana.

Called “Defend Louisiana,” the initiative is a response to federal efforts to put new limits on guns. Thompson also is co-sponsor of legislation, to be considered in the upcoming regular session, that proposes to ban state enforcement of any new federal restrictions on semi-automatic firearms.

Press Club meets at De La Ronde Hall, 320 Third St. in downtown Baton Rouge. Lunch, which is served at 11:30 a.m., is $12 for members and $15 for nonmembers.

The public is invited, but only members of the Press Club and the news media are allowed to ask questions.

Forums probe new public school rules

The Louisiana Association of Educators is holding a series of public meetings across the state to discuss recent changes to public school policies.

These forums will consist of open discussions between a panel of local education stakeholders – teachers, parents, school administrations, community leaders, and legislative members – with participants focusing on issues impacting the public schools.

On Monday, the meeting is scheduled for McKinley Alumni Center, 1520 Thomas H. Delpit Drive, in Baton Rouge.

On Thursday, the meeting will be held at STEM Magnet Academy, 805 Teurlings Drive, in Lafayette.

On Tuesday and Wednesday the LAE meetings are scheduled to be held in Pineville and Shreveport.

On Feb. 27 the meeting is slated for Chalmette Elementary School, 75 E. Chalmette Circle, in St. Bernard Parish.

The programs begin at 6 p.m.

For more information on this event, please contact LAE Communications Director Ashley Davies at (225) 343-9243 ext. 119 or via email at ashley.davies@lae.org.

GOP women sets forum for Dist. 65

The Republican Women of Central is hosting Monday a forum for candidates running for the Louisiana House District 65.

Scott Wilson and Barry Ivey, both Republicans living in Central, will appear at Sammy’s Grill, 14800 Wax Road, Central, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Seating is limited to 70 on a first come, first served basis. Cost for meeting including dinner with choice of 4 entrees and beverage is $20 for public and $15 for RWC/LFRW members.

Pachyderm club sets Tuesday meeting

Pelican State Pachyderm Club is holding its meeting on Tuesday at the DoubleTree Hotel, 2150 Veterans Boulevard, Kenner

Doors open at 6:15 p.m. and the meeting begins at 7 p.m.

Candidates for upcoming elections will be introduced and the program will about the work of the Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana.

Cost is $25 for members and $35 for guests.

RSVP to miltonatebara@aol.com

Session to examine community violence

State Sen. Sharon Broome and Republican U.S. Rep. William Cassidy are hosting a symposium Wednesday to explore “Roots of Violence in Our Community: Current Approaches and Local Solutions for Public Safety and Mental Health Services.”

“With the recent tragedies, mental health issues are at the forefront of our community concerns,” said Broome. “This community conversation will address some of the challenges patients and their families face as it relates to access to care and obtaining mental wellness.”

The 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. session will be held at the Capital Area Human Services District, 4615 Government St. in Baton Rouge.

Broome, D-Baton Rouge, and Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, will be joined by a panel of mental health professionals, law enforcement officials and other community leaders.

Dem. panel to hold Medicaid seminar

The East Baton Rouge Democratic Executive Committee will host a Wednesday forum to discuss Gov. Bobby Jindal’s decision to reject Medicaid expansion for Louisiana.

The forum will be held form 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Leo Butler Center, 950 E. Washington St., Baton Rouge.

Panelists will include Dr. Fred Cerise, former chief of the LSU Health System and former state health secretary; David Hood, former state health chief; Moriba Karamoko, executive director of the LA Consumer Healthcare Coalition; and Jan Moller, director of the La Budget Project. Moderator will be Melissa Flournoy of Louisiana Progress.

District 79 forum features candidates

The Republican Women of Jefferson Parish are holding a forum Thursday for GOP candidates running for the District 79 seat of the Louisiana House of Representatives.

Candidates Allison Bent Bowler, Jack Rizzuto, Julie Stokes and Paul Villalobos are scheduled to appear.

The lunch program begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Chateau Estates Country Club, 3600 Chateau Blvd., Kenner.

The cost is $30.

For more information call (504) 466 4483 or email jschwaryaj@yahoo.com

Roundtable meeting to discuss vet issues

U.S. Army veteran Lawrence Salone, founder of the Post Trauma Institute of Louisiana, will be the featured speaker at Thursday’s meeting of the Ascension GOP Roundtable.

The meeting, sponsored by Ascension Republican Women, begins at 11:30 a.m. at Kamal’s Kafe, 13091 Airline Hwy. in Gonzales.

The Institute, which is veteran owned and operated, focuses on the needs and challenges that Louisiana soldiers face when returning home from war. Salone, who served as a brigade officer with the 256th Brigade Combat Team in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom III.

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 e-mail: ARWrUS@aol.com.

Panel discussion examines tax reform

“Louisiana Tax Reform” is the first in the Perspective series of public forums by a new civic organization called Leaders With Vision.

The panel discussion is planned for Thursday, beginning at 11:45 a.m. in the Audubon Room at Drusilla Restaurant, 3482 Drusilla Lane, Baton Rouge.

Panelists are scheduled to include state Reps. John Bel Edwards, of Amite and head of the House Democratic caucus, and Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee; Jim Richardson, an LSU economist; and Jan Moller, director of the Louisiana Budget Project.

Cost of the lunch is $20.00 for members and $25.00 for non members.

Contact Leaders With Vision web site at www.LWVision.org or email LWVision@LWVision.org.

PSC official sets meet in Franklinton

Louisiana Public Service Commission Chairman Eric Skrmetta has scheduled a town hall meeting Thursday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Washington Parish Courthouse, Parish Council Chambers, 900 Washington St., Franklinton.

He will hear concerns about any issues related to utility companies operating in the area.

For more information call Skrmetta’s offices in (985) 624-4660; (504) 846-6930; or (800) 228-9368; www.ericskrmetta.com or on his Facebook page.

‘Diversity’ focus
of address, seminar

Ronnie Slone, of The Slone Group, and Sarah Holliday, vice president of the Louisiana Federation of Republican Women are scheduled Thursday to address the Capital City Republican Women.

The theme of the event is “Embracing Black History Month: Making Diversity a Priority.

The event will be held at BREC’s Independence Recreation Center, 7500 Independence Blvd., Baton Rouge, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

RSVP to hollico1@aol.com.

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