A fourth state representative who aligned himself with Gov. Bobby Jindal’s education revamp has become the subject of a recall effort.
Two St. Bernard Parish teachers on Monday filed a recall petition against state Rep. Ray Garofalo, R-Meraux.
Previous efforts have been launched against House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, of Lake Charles, and state Reps. Greg Cromer and Kevin Pearson, both of Slidell. All three are Republicans.
Jindal also is a subject of a recall petition organized by teachers opposed to his education overhaul.
Also Monday, the chairs of the Cromer and Pearson recall drives notified the Secretary of State’s Office that they were stepping down. The letters gave no explanation why, but the recall efforts would continue.
Jay Newcomb, a math teacher and a Slidell City Councilman, was chairman of the Cromer recall efforts. Margaret Campo, a teacher who lives in nearby Pearl River, chaired the effort against Pearson.
The vice chairmen will step in to lead the recall efforts.
With the recall activity, the Louisiana Republican Party complained that 10 days after filing public records requests with recall organizers it has yet to get access to the name, address and signature of each person that has so far signed the petitions. State law requires the access “upon the signature of the first elector,” said Jason Doré, a state party executive director.
The petition organizers contend the state party’s demand amounts to “intimidation” aimed at scaring people away from signing.
Party leaders also said the leaders of the Jindal and Kleckley recalls have yet to file campaign finance reports required by law reflecting contributions and expenditures when they hit $200. Party chairman Roger Villere said the recall efforts likely are backed by “liberal teacher unions” and that’s probably why the recalls won’t file finance reports.
Teachers Peggy Schwarz, of Braithwaite, and Brenda Boleware, of Violet, filed the Garofalo recall petition with the Secretary of State’s office.
The filing started a six-month time clock in which they have to gather the signatures of about one-third of the voters in Garofalo’s district to prompt a recall election. One-third is about 9,000 registered voters.
Garofalo received 7,153 votes or 53 percent of 13,415 voting in the November 2011 runoff to represent the 103rd House District. The 46 precincts of Garofalo’s district are mostly in St. Bernard Parish with small numbers in both Orleans and Plaquemines parishes. About 75 percent of the roughly 27,000 registered voters are white, according to the Louisiana House.
Garofalo on Monday called the recall petition a retaliation from a special interest group. “The overwhelming majority of people in my district were in favor of reforming the education system,” Garofalo said.
“We are not a special interest. We are interested in the children of Louisiana,” said Schwarz, a national board certified teacher with 19 years in the classroom. Garofalo is not doing the job constituents wanted him to do, she said.
“He represents the governor’s opinion and agenda and he’s ignored all the phone calls, mail and emails he’s been bombarded with,” Schwarz said.
Schwarz referred to legislation that uses more public school dollars to send more students to private and parochial schools and changes teacher tenure laws.
A news release issued by the Recall Bobby Jindal Campaign Committee stated the teachers were encouraged by fellow educators, family and friends to take action in response to Garofalo’s “non-response to the concerns” of his constituency.
“Garofalo is on the record saying that he would support the governor’s agenda 100 percent regardless of the wishes of his constituents,” Boleware said in the release. Boleware could not be reached for comment.
Garofalo said he wants someone to show him where he said he was with Jindal 100 percent. “The mere fact that I voted against House Bill 1 (the budget) is a strong indication that that is not the case,” he said.