SD16: Claitor, unopposed, turns focus on education

State Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, said government should make reasoned policies that effectively tackle specific problems rather than sweeping responses to general problems.

Few can effectively deny that higher education, for instance, needs to become more efficiently organized, he said. But dealing with the same program at different colleges requires more thought than just eliminating the duplication, Claitor said.

Some curricula, such as nursing, has a lot of demand and prepares students for work in a growing field where there are far more positions available than there are qualified people to fill them, he said.

“So, you have to ask yourself, is the best solution an across- the-board cut?” Claitor said.

Or, after looking at demand and capacity, can a case be made having different colleges teach the same courses in a particular curriculum benefits students, businesses and the state as a whole, he asked.

Many of the issues addressed every day by the state Legislature are massive in scope and the decisions made by legislators on any one of the innumerable details usually have a direct impact on people the lawmakers see on a daily basis.

So, legislators must study these abstract issues and become facile with how the details interplay, Claitor said.

“The amount of time required to be reasonably competent is tremendous,” he said.

Claitor’s 16th District was redrawn earlier this year to pick up part of the LSU campus and the neighborhoods east of Highland Road southeast to Ascension Parish, from Goodwood to Santa Maria. It’s the area where most of LSU’s faculty, administrators, staff and students live.

“LSU is the largest economic engine in my district, if not the region,” Claitor said, adding his top priority is to preserve higher education institutions and not let LSU slip from the top tier rankings it has been receiving from ratings organizations, such U.S. News and World Report.

“We have a couple more rough years fiscally,” Claitor said.

A graduate of Lee High School, Claitor grew up in the district and his family operated a bookstore there.

Claitor won an April 2009 special election to replace Bill Cassidy, who had won election to Congress. Claitor polled almost twice as many votes as challenger Lee Domingue, a Baton Rouge businessman who was strongly endorsed by Gov. Bobby Jindal and Baton Rouge Business Report Publisher Rolfe McCollister.

Claitor won re-election when nobody filed to oppose him in the Oct. 22 election.

Claitor is the only senator who works on both financial committees as a full member of the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee, which handles tax policies, and as interim member of the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees state government spending for the upper chamber.

DAN CLAITOR

Republican,Baton Rouge.

50, lawyer, real estate and legal publishing businesses.

EDUCATION: B.S., LSU; J.D., Loyola University College of Law, New Orleans.

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: State senator.

WHERE TO VOTE

Ward/Precinct and location

East Baton Rouge Parish

1-7 Dufrocq Elementary

1-8 St. Joseph’s Academy

1-9 Sharp Road Park Recreation Center

1-12 Kenilworth Science and Technology School

1-33 Lobdell Ave. Fire Station

1-34 Goodwood Elementary

1-35 Westdale Middle

1-40 Catholic High

1-41 Trinity Episcopal School

1-42 Southdowns Elementary

1-43 Highland Elementary

1-44 LSU Laboratory School

1-47 Kenilworth Science and Technology School

1-48 Baton Rouge Center for Visual and Performing Arts

1-49 LaSalle Elementary

1-52 Broadmoor Elementary

1-53 Broadmoor High

1-56 Glasgow Middle

1-66 New Life Church of Baton Rouge

1-69 Highland Elementary

1-72 Cedarcreat-Southmoor Elementary

1-74 Tara High

1-75 Magnolia Woods Elementary

1-80 Drusilla Lane Park Recreation Center

1-89 Episcopal High

1-90 Episcopal High

1-99 Parkview Elementary

1-103 Parklawn Park Recreation Center

1-105 LaSalle Elementary

3-4 Mayfair Middle

3-7 BREC Cedar Ridge Recreation Center

3-10 Lutheran Church of Our Savoir

3-11 Fire Station

3-13 Jefferson Terrace Elementary

3-17 Westminster Elementary

3-18 Mayfair Middle

3-19 Highland Road Park Recreation Center

3-27 Court Plaza Building

3-29 Westminster Elementary

3-31 Westminster Elementary

3-35 Bluebonnet Regional Library

3-36 Bluebonnet Regional Library

3-39 Jefferson Terrace Elementary

3-40 Highland Road Park Recreation Center

3-41 Jones Creek Library

3-48 ITI Technical College

3-49 Mayfair Middle

3-51 Drusilla Lane Park Recreation Center

3-52 Perkins Road Recreation Center