Politics Column for Sunday August 25, 2013

Schedler offers voting message on the road

It’s hard to miss Secretary of State Tom Schedler on the road these days.

The spare tire attached to the back of Schedler’s jeep now sports a cover urging other drivers to vote. The cover shows Louisiana’s boot as the centerpiece of the state seal. The boot is dressed as the American flag.

As secretary of state, Schedler oversees elections.

Schedler said he’s gotten some honks from other motorists. He said he was glad to make good use of his spare tire.

Poll: Miles eclipses Jindal in popularity

A recent poll concluded that LSU coach Les Miles, the reality show “Duck Dynasty” and even University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban are more popular in Louisiana than Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Public Policy Polling, a North Carolina firm with Democratic ties, polled 721 Louisiana voters — including an “oversample” of 274 who usually vote Republican — between Aug. 16-19. Participants indicated that 45 percent were Democrats, 36 percent were Republican and 18 percent were another party or independent.

According to the survey, 72 percent do not want Jindal to run for president in 2016.

The firm also asked voters whether George W. Bush or Barack Obama was more responsible for the poor response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Twenty-nine percent blamed Obama while 28 percent felt Bush was responsible.

Bush was president when the storm hit. Obama was serving his first term as a U.S. senator representing the state of Illinois. The Louisiana Republican Party later accused the polling firm of designing a question that would trash Bush.

“And that was transparently obvious to the respondents. Anybody could see what they were trying to do,” the party said.

Seafood panel head elects to resign post

The executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board resigned last week.

Ewell Smith’s departure comes on the heels of Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne assuming oversight of the board. The board’s profile grew after it received money from BP to market the state’s seafood following the oil rig explosion.

Dardenne said he did not seek Smith’s resignation.

“I made it clear that I wanted to give staff the chance to succeed,” he said. “Ewell chose to resign.”

Dardenne directed the board’s chairman, chef John Folse, to quickly fill the vacancy.

Griffin, Alexander talk LSU fundraising

LSU Foundation President Lee Griffin said he’s had productive about meetings about fundraising with LSU’s new System President and Baton Rouge Chancellor F. King Alexander. Private fundraising is often the difference between higher education’s haves and have nots. Griffin said Alexander not only has experience with fundraising at his different stops, but has also shown a willingness to be heavily involved.

Griffin said Alexander is “focused on getting students acclimated to the need to give back.”

Griffin added that while, the foundation doesn’t publicly disclose their annual fundraising goals, it’s possible those goals might be adjusted upward with the arrival of Alexander.

Legislators cited by Chamber Southwest La.

The Chamber Southwest Louisiana named state Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, as Legis-Gator of the Year, and state Rep. Paul Hollis, R-Mandeville, received the ‘Up and Coming Legislator Award’ from at an event in Lake Charles last week.

The annual Legis-Gator Awards honors some state and federal legislators for their service to the business community and for their work to advance economic development.

State Rep. Mike Danahy, D-Sulphur, received the Chairman’s Award. Republican state Sens. Dan “Blade” Morrish, of Jennings, and Ronnie Johns, of Lake Charles received the Government Affairs Award.

Voter registration drive will run through Friday

Louisiana is holding its annual Voter Registration Week from Monday through Friday. Secretary of State Tom Schedler encourages residents 17 years old or older who are not registered to vote to take advantage of this opportunity.

Registrars of voters throughout the state will host events during the week. In addition, registrars and their staff members will educate residents about the elections process in general including information on this fall’s elections.

The deadline to register to vote for the Oct. 19 open primary election is Wednesday, Sept. 18.

Thompson, Angelle named to state panels

Gov. Bobby Jindal tapped two elected officials to two boards last week.

State Sen. Francis Thompson, D-Delhi, was named to the Board of Control for Southern Regional Education. The panel organizes government and education leaders in its member states to work toward advancing education and improving the social and economic life of the southeast region of the United States.

Thompson was an Assistant Professor in the College of Education at the University of Louisiana at Monroe from 1976 to 2000.

Jindal also announced Scott Angelle, R-Breaux Bridge, was appointed to the Coastal Port Advisory Authority. The panel researches and studies economic development opportunities for the state’s maritime and energy industries relative to coastal and deep draft ports.

Angelle is a member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission, former secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and served as interim Lieutenant Governor.

Nicholls to interview 6 semifinalist candidates

Nicholls State University Presidential Search Committee is publicly interviewing the six semifinalists Monday through Thursday for the president’s position at the university.

On Thursday, the search committee will deliberate and decide who to recommend to be interviewed by the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System on Sept. 10.

The public interviews and search committee meeting will take place in the Student Union Ballroom on Nicholls’ campus.

Scalise to address Press Club of BR

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, from Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District, will be speaking to the Press Club of Baton Rouge on Monday.

Scalise, R-Jefferson, will discuss flood insurance, immigration, the Affordable Health Care Act and government funding.

Press Club meets on Mondays at De La Ronde Hall, which is located at 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.

Dardenne to give tourism event speech

Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne is scheduled to deliver the keynote address 8 a.m. Tuesday at the 2013 Lt. Governor’s Tourism Summit hosted by Louisiana Travel Promotion Association.

He plans to discuss the condition of tourism in Louisiana, tourism activities and the budget outlook.

The event is at Crowne Plaza, 4728 Constitution Ave., Baton Rouge.

Vitter slated to appear at EBR chamber meet

U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La, is scheduled Tuesday to address the Chamber of Commerce of East Baton Rouge.

Vitter plans to speak on current issues and will answer questions.

The Chamber of Commerce of East Baton Rouge is an affiliate of the U. S. Chamber of Commerce.

The meeting is open to small business owners, members and others. The event begins at 11:30 a.m. and lunch at 12 noon at Café Américain, 7521 Jefferson Highway, Baton Rouge.

Lunch is $15 and payable at the door.

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