Strain whittles down ag department debt

Advocate staff photo by MICHELLE MILLHOLLONState Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain said Monday that agriculture remains Louisiana's largest industry.

State Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain inherited a $98 million debt load from his predecessor when he took office in 2008. Over the course of two terms, he’s whittled the debt down to $34 million. “My whole goal has been to get this agency out of debt. I’ve been at it seven years,” Strain said Monday … Continue reading →

LSU employees to receive pay bumps

For the second year in a row, employees at LSU’s flagship campus are getting pay raises. LSU’s president and chancellor, F. King Alexander, announced the news Friday afternoon. The campus — which includes the law school and agricultural center — plans to give 3 percent merit pay raises. The pay boosts follow last … Continue reading →

Rep. Edwards: Jindal created a fiscal mess for next governor

Advocate staff photo by MICHELLE MILLHOLLON -- State Rep. John Bel Edwards, who is running for governor, said Monday that he is the moderate candidate.

State Rep. John Bel Edwards on Monday accused Gov. Bobby Jindal of creating calamity for Louisiana’s next governor through bad budgeting and poor political decisions. “He’s just trying to keep balls in the air long enough to exit the stage,” Edwards said during an appearance at the Press Club of Baton Rouge. Edwards, D-Amite, is … Continue reading →

State eyeing tax service fraud

State officials contend Maletica V. Ferguson opened The Best Tax Service in Baton Rouge and offered patrons a deal that couldn’t be beat: She guaranteed they would receive a tax refund. How did she do it? By reporting business losses. The problem? Some of her clients didn’t own businesses. Ferguson is just … Continue reading →

Jindal takes possible digs at Christie

Advocate staff photo by Travis Spradling -- The Louisiana State Capitol

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent remarks to are being seen as an apparent dig at potential rivals for the GOP’s 2016 presidential nomination. Jindal, who has been steadily positioning himself for a possible presidential run, told Time he’s sticking to policy because he doesn’t believe big elections should be “about personalities or just about slogans.” … Continue reading →

Jindal’s help sought to reunite family

Photo Provided by CLAUDIA HERNANDEZ -- Claudia and Robert Hernandez with their family.They have five children: Ariani, Yanelle, Roberto, Christian and Angelo. The children live with Claudia Hernandez in Texas. Roberto Hernandez lives across the river in Mexico.

In a Mexican city rocked by a cartel turf war, Roberto Hernandez sells fried chicken wings and logs on to the Internet at night to sing karaoke with his teenage daughter. Hernandez committed a crime years ago in Louisiana that put him behind bars for 45 days and exiled him from the U.S. He’s built a … Continue reading →

Edwin Edwards: I’m not running for redemption

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Gov. Edwin Edwards and his campaign manager Ari Karupkin, right, chat in Edward's campaign office Tuesday.

It isn’t every 86-year-old congressional candidate who keeps a Pack ’n Play in a spare room at his campaign office for his 11-month-old son’s naps. But then every congressional candidate isn’t former Gov. Edwin Edwards. A trifle hard of hearing but still sharp as a tack, Edwards is spending his golden years on the campaign trail. … Continue reading →

Capitol Buzz: Lawmakers urge calm cooperation for Core

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--American political commentator and media personality James Carville is all smiles as New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu wins reelection for a second term at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans, La. Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014.

More than three dozen state House and Senate members signed a statement urging “calm and a spirit of cooperation” in the debate over Common Core. “The extreme rhetoric and negative tone that has come to dominate the debate over Common Core is counterproductive to a successful resolution of the issue in the best interest of Louisiana students,” … Continue reading →

Vitter: Governor’s office isn’t a stepping stone

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Sen. David Vitter speaks at the weekly Baton Rouge Press Club luncheon Monday concerning policies he's working on in the U.S. Senate and his candidacy for Governor.

From Common Core to Medicaid expansion, U.S. Sen. David Vitter tackled political hot-button topics Monday in his first wide-ranging remarks since announcing his run for governor. Vitter, R-La., spoke largely in broad strokes. He thinks the TOPS program is a runaway spending train, but he offered no specifics on how to slow it down. He’s looking carefully … Continue reading →

Gregory Roberts: Senate has its own intrigues

Gregory Roberts

The U.S. House drew most of the attention in Congress this past week, with the stunning defeat of Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a Virginia primary Tuesday, setting off a scramble for the resulting openings in the Republican leadership. But the Senate quietly went about its business, too, and in a way that illustrates how legislating … Continue reading →

Jindal makes reality TV debut on A&E's 'Duck Dynasty'

For a guy who renamed himself after a “Brady Bunch” character, perhaps the oddest thing about Gov. Bobby Jindal’s blockbuster TV debut is that it took him 43 years. Jindal has checked off some pretty big boxes on his bucket list in less than five decades. He’s a Rhodes scholar. He’s a governor. He delivered his … Continue reading →