Politics Column for April 14, 2013

Jindal reaffirms support for TOPS

At a news conference in Geismar on Thursday to promote an increase in the state’s high school graduation rate, Gov. Bobby Jindal shot down speculation about possible caps on TOPS.

Jindal said he will oppose legislation attempting to rein in the cost of the state’s merit-based college scholarship program.

His stance prompted applause from Dutchtown High School students and others.

“You can clap for TOPS,” the governor said.

Bowden guest
at prayer breakfast

Renowned college football coach Bobby Bowden, now retired, was the guest speaker last week at the 49th annual governor’s prayer breakfast.

Bowden, 83, shared his advice for aspiring college athletes seeking success with a packed room at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Baton Rouge.

“Priority No. 1 is God. Before you do anything, ask God, ‘Is this OK?’ ” he said. “If it ain’t, don’t do it.”

He said other priorities, by order, are family, other people and education.

“Somewhere down there is football. Don’t make football your God,” Bowden said.

Armes lobbies
for Fort Polk

State Rep. James Armes, D-Leesville, said he missed the first week for the Legislature’s 2013 session to visit Washington, D.C., and lobby against planned troop reductions at Fort Polk in Vernon Parish.

Armes said in a news release that he visited with Pentagon officials and members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation.

“I know I was gone the first week of the session but this is the number one priority in my district and this is a top priority for the entire state,” Armes stated, adding that Fort Polk has the second-largest payroll in Louisiana.

Armes said he also took advantage of the trip to meet with a federal forest service official to plead for an expanded season for hunting deer with dogs in the Kisatchie National Forest.

Peterson holds
rare press event

State Sen. Karen Peterson, D-New Orleans, who is also chairwoman of the Louisiana Democratic Party, is known for being difficult to reach by state government reporters.

Last week, Peterson and a few Democratic colleagues held a conference call, which prompted an inquiry beforehand by an unidentified organizer to see who would be taking part.

However, a bid to ask a question of Peterson during the session initially failed.

She made a few comments, and then got off the line.

Peterson later returned to the conference call to field questions from reporters.

Kostelka: Let voters select state ed chief

State Sen. Bob Kostelka, R-Monroe, wants to let voters decide whether to elect the state Superintendent of Education.

Kostelka noted that the current officeholder, John White, is paid $275,000 per year.

“I couldn’t handle his laundry bill,” Kostelka quipped.

Under current rules, the superintendent is named by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Pierre elected head of Acadiana delegation

State Rep. Vincent Pierre, D-Lafayette, has been elected chairman of the Acadiana Legislative Delegation. Others elected to officer positions were state Sen. Jonathan “J.P.” Perry, R-Kaplan, vice chairman and state Rep. Mickey Guillory, D-Eunice, secretary-treasurer. Pierre appointed six delegation members to service on the executive committee: state Reps. Ledricka Thierry, D-Opelousas; Terry Landry, D-Lafayette; Michael Danahay, D-Sulphur; Johnny Berthelot, R-Gonzales; Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette, and state Sen. Fred Mills, R-St. Martinville.

Filmmakers to address Press Club

Filmmakers Cleve Bailey and Phil Smith will speak Monday at the Baton Rouge Press Club about their documentary “The Inclusion Illusion…One Baton Rouge,” which will debut at the upcoming Louisiana International Film Festival.

They will discuss cultural diversity and equal opportunity in the city.

The Press Club will meet 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 during the question-and-answer portion of the program.

Acadiana Press Club forum to discuss fest

Chris Allain, INNOV8 co-chair and CEO of Vidox; Gerd Wuestemann, INNOV8 co-chair and executive director of Acadiana Center for the Arts; and Pete Prados, INNOV8 Awards chairman and chief idea officer of InventureWorks, are scheduled to speak Monday at the Acadiana Press Club’s Newsmaker Forum.

The three will discuss the upcoming festival and highlight some of the projects that make Lafayette a positive environment for entrepreneurship and innovation. INNOV8, a project of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, is an eight-day festival of innovation and creativity hosted by the community of Lafayette from April 19-26.

The lunch forum is open to the public and takes place in the Ardoin Building at South Louisiana Community College, 1101 Bertrand Drive, Lafayette. Lunch costs $10 for members and $15 for nonmembers.

Only members of the working media and Acadiana Press Club members may ask questions during the forum.

Republican caucus unveils website

The Louisiana House Republican Caucus has launched a new online community at www.lahousegop.com.

The website allows the 58 caucus members to communicate with constituents, civic and business leaders, the media, and each other.

The new website provides tools for interaction with House members through forums, chats, event postings, member blogs and other features.

Pachyderm Club to hold crawfish boil

The Pelican State Pachyderm Club’s is holding its 5th annual Crawfish Boil on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. with no business planned, just visiting with friends.

Crawfish, corn, potatoes and nonalcoholic beverages are for $25 for members and $35 for nonmembers.

The event takes place at Jaegers Seafood, 901 South Clearview Parkway, near the Huey Long Bridge and Elmwood Business Park.

Send RSVPs to MiltonAtebara@aol.com.

Former governors
to be part of panel

Four former Louisiana governors are scheduled to appear Wednesday for a panel discussing the “The Evolution of State and Local Government: A discussion about the last 40 years.”

The LSU Public Administration Institute and the Public Administration Institute Student Association is hosting PAISA Day in The Rotunda of the Business Education Complex on the LSU Baton Rouge campus.

Panelists are Kathleen Blanco, Edwin Edwards, Mike Foster and Buddy Roemer.

Jim Engster, host of “The Jim Engster Show,” will serve as moderator for the panel, according to PAI Director Jim Richardson. The panel will begin at 1 p.m.

Richardson added that one of the highlights will be the awarding of PAI’s MPA Alumnus of the Year Award to Patrick Goldsmith. Goldsmith serves as the director of the House Fiscal Division for the Louisiana House of Representatives.

For more information, visit www.business.lsu.edu/pai or call (225) 578-6743.

Ascension GOP Roundtable to meet

Lionel Rainey III, founder of LR 3 Consulting, will be the featured speaker at Thursday’s meeting of the Ascension GOP Roundtable.

The Roundtable, sponsored by Ascension Republican Women, meets at 11:30 a.m. at Brew-Bacher’s Grill, 909 E. Ascension St., Gonzales.

Rainey will address the group on the U.S. Department of Justice’s suit against the state of Louisiana and some Louisiana state agencies and officials involving voter registration of recipients of state benefits. There will be a brief appearance on video by Secretary of State Tom Schedler.

The cost for the meal is $14. The Roundtable is open to the public and guests are welcome.

Reservations are requested. Phone (225) 644-5728 or email: ARWrUS@aol.com.

Leaders with Vision to discuss healthcare

Leaders With Vision’s Prospective luncheon Thursday will focus on Healthcare, “Reflections on Reforms: For Better or Worse?”

Scheduled speakers include David Hood, former Secretary of the state Department of Health and Hospitals; Calder Lunch, policy director at the state Department of Health and Hospitals; and Dionne Viator, executive vice president of Baton Rouge General Medical Center.

Doors open at 11 a.m. Lunch will be served at 11:45 a.m. The program begins at noon in the Ballroom at Drusilla Restaurant, 3482 Drusilla Lane, Baton Rouge.

Cost of the lunch is $22 for members and $27 for nonmembers.

Tickets may be purchased online at www.LeadersWith Vision.org.

Councilmembers to address GOP group

East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor Pro-Tem Chandler Loupe and East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Councilman Buddy Amoroso are scheduled Thursday to speak Capital City Republican Women at 6 p.m.

The monthly meeting will be held at BREC Independence, next to tennis court.

For additional information, email hollico1@aol.com.

Juvenile justice
topic of luncheon

Together Baton Rouge is hosting a luncheon Friday at 12 p.m. at Mt. Zion First Baptist Church, 356 East Blvd., in downtown Baton Rouge.

Tiffany Simpson, executive director of the Children’s Cabinet, representing the Office of the Governor; and Lyn Hassenboehler, president of the Louisiana Association of Families in Need of Service will discuss juvenile justice and sentencing reform legislation being proposed during the current legislative session.

Lunch will be provided for $5, and the event will end by 1:10 p.m.

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