Although some of the expenses were paid from Gov. Bobby Jindal’s campaign funds, the taxpayers paid about $57,000 for security and incidentals, including a $300-a-night hotel room in Tokyo, during an economic development trip to Asia.
The governor’s critics say the trip has not produced any economic development breakthroughs, implying the visit to companies in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea was useless.
We could not disagree more.
If Jindal can be faulted, it is that he has not made enough of these trips.
He visited with companies that have major investments in the state already, and at the very least, it does the state good for its chief executive to pay a courtesy call; the governor also met with the president of the Republic of China, or Taiwan, Ma Ying-jeou.
The trip also was to meet with prospects, and we hope those meetings went well, although for competitive reasons, the state’s economic development department is not talking about them.
Taking with him his wife and economic development officials, and a security detail, the trip is not as cheap as the governor’s more frequent runs to New Hampshire, Iowa and other states important to the 2016 presidential race. International travel, even $300 for a hotel room in one of the world’s priciest cities, is something we believe should be part of a governor’s salesmanship of our state.
If the governor has a higher national profile than many other chief executives, it might make visits with prospects, or even courtesy calls on major employers’ headquarters, that much more effective.