dines with Romney
State Rep. Gordon Dove was among the several dozen who shared a steak lunch Monday with Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney in Baton Rouge.
Admission price to the luncheon was $50,000.
Dove, R-Houma, said his wife, Mona, made the necessary campaign contribution and took him along as her guest.
“We each had a steak. So divided in two, that’s $25,000. Our steak wasn’t quite as expensive as everyone else’s,” he joked.
Dove said Romney made no mention of who is under consideration to join him on the Republican ticket.
He said his guess is that Gov. Bobby Jindal; U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio; and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., are on the short list.
Under the Louisiana Constitution, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne is technically the governor when Gov. Bobby Jindal is out of state.
But up until recently, Dardenne never knew when Jindal was gone.
Jindal’s office apparently corrected the oversight after The Advocate published an article in which the governor’s press office didn’t address the question why Dardenne wasn’t getting the traditional “courtesy” notice.
Dardenne said his office got an email from the office of Jindal’s executive counsel Liz Murrill on July 13 advising that the governor would be out of state the next day. That was the weekend Jindal skipped the Republican Governors Association meeting in favor of attending the Nebraska Republican Convention.
On Tuesday, there was another email advising Jindal would again be out of state on Wednesday and returning that evening. Jindal was politicking in Ohio for Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney.
“Maybe a breakthrough has occurred,” Dardenne said.
Foster keeping busy
beyond age of 82
Former Republican Gov. Mike Foster had his 82nd birthday recently.
“I don’t ever get bored,” Foster said.
Foster said he’s a registered executive branch lobbyist. He said he’s mainly dealing with government agencies.
“If I think I can be of help to somebody, I will,” he said.
State retirement system earns praise
The Louisiana State Employees Retirement System shared some good news last week on the heels of a legislative session in which it was the target of Jindal administration criticism.
The retirement system for many state government workers has been recognized in the national financial publications Pensions & Investments, and FundFire, as being among the top 10 state pension plans in the U.S., system officials reported.
Information for the ranking was based on an analysis of 10-year annualized investment returns by Cliffwater LLC.
“Though the market experienced two significant corrections, including the Great Recession, during this decade, LASERS earned a 6.7 percent annualized return for the 10-year period ended June 30, 2011. Returns among the other top 10 systems ranged from 7.1 percent to 6.5 percent,” according to the report.
budget reform bloc
“Fiscal hawks” who clashed with Gov. Bobby Jindal on the best way to balance the state budget during the waning weeks of the legislative session are carrying their fight beyond the legislative session.
State Rep. Brett Geymann, R-Lake Charles, said he is launching a budget reform coalition to build legislative majorities.
The fiscal hawks, dominated by Republicans, fought to purge one-time, or nonrecurring, money that Jindal wanted to use to balance the $25.6 billion state operating budget for the fiscal year that began in July. In the end, the GOP governor prevailed.
Geymann said legislators need more time to study the issues in depth and hoped this group would provide some of the preparation necessary to be successful in future legislative sessions.
“Our ultimate goal is to come up with solutions,” he said. “We’re not necessarily saying we want to cut, cut, cut. We’re also going to do some prioritizing.”
Geymann said the group is open to anyone interested in fiscal reform regardless of party.
seen as point of pride
State Democratic Party chairman Karen Peterson, of New Orleans, said she, like President Barack Obama, has grown comfortable with calling the federal health care revamp “Obamacare.”
“If I could have an act like that named after me — call it Petersoncare — so proudly Obamacare,” Peterson told the Press Club of Baton Rouge last week.
Critics of the overhaul have used Obamacare to disparage the Affordable Care Act, which expands Medicaid coverage and imposes financial penalties on those who fail to purchase health insurance. The law also stops insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions.
for Motor Vehicles
A former State Police deputy commander will succeed Nick Gautreaux as commissioner in the Office of Motor Vehicles.
Stephen Campbell, who spent more than a decade with State Police, will take the job on Aug. 6, officials said.
Gautreaux said Monday that he was quitting his post.
Gautreaux, a former state senator, said he plans to build a career in corporate development and governmental work.
State Police Col. Mike Edmonson said Gautreaux’s resignation announcement came amid discussions about his administrative approach.
Edmonson said he did not seek Gautreaux’s resignation.
State Police said in a news release that Campbell had experience in transportation licensing and regulation, and is familiar with the Commercial Drivers’ License program.
State GOP leader seeks petition copies
State Republican Party executive director Jason Doré attracted the wrath of a leader in recall efforts against Gov. Bobby Jindal and House Speaker Chuck Kleckley.
Doré said he probably would pursue copies of signed petitions even if recall organizers’ efforts fall short, saying he didn’t want the signatures sitting around and being used in any future effort.
He said Jindal has now been a target of five recalls.
“What in the world is the man thinking?” recall organizer Brenda Romero said in an email response to the published comments. “Apparently he doesn’t know what info is on a recall petition, things like DATES of SIGNING and DATES of WITNESSING, among other important and crystal clear info. Poor man.”
directed to LSU center
LSU’s National Center for Biomedical Research and Training has received $20.4 million in federal funding to train emergency personnel how to respond to weapons of mass destruction.
NCBRT Director Thomas Tucker said none of the training takes place at LSU. The organization lends its expertise, as needed, and ships equipment and supplies to other states for training, Tucker said.
“I am proud that Louisiana is helping lead the way in preparing our country against terrorist attacks,” U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., the chairwoman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, said in a statement.
Finance officer’s work
in disaster praised
Jill Boudreaux, Undersecretary at the Department of Public Safety & Corrections, was recently selected as the Government Finance Officer of the Year by the Association of Government Accountants.
She was cited for her role as financial liaison during the Deepwater Horizon oil leak incident.
Her Office of Management and Finance for Public Safety Services handles the administrative duties for the department that includes the State Police, Office of the Fire Marshal and Office of Gaming Control, among others.
Lunch focuses on national forest’s value
Jim Caldwell, staff officer for public affairs, recreation and heritage for the Kisatchie National Forest, will be the speaker for Monday’s noon meeting of the Press Club of Baton Rouge.
Caldwell will discuss the national forest’s past, present and future, including its economic impact on the state.
The Press Club meets at De La Ronde Hall downtown at 320 Third St. 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 members of the news media are allowed to ask questions.
to hear from surgeon
Louisiana Board of Regents member Albert Sam II will deliver the commencement address at Southern University’s summer 2012 graduation ceremony set for 10:30 a.m. Friday at the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
The New Orleans native was recently named chief of vascular surgery and associate professor at the Tulane University Heart and Vascular Institute.
Jindal recall benefit
The Louisiana Political Action Committee is putting on a “Retire Bobby Jindal Party” to raise money for efforts aimed at recalling the governor.
The fundraiser will be Friday at the Alexandria Best Western Conference Center.
Featured speaker for the 7 p.m. event will be Tom Aswell of the Louisiana Voice blog and author of Louisiana Rocks, a history of rock ’n’ roll in the state.
More information may be obtained by calling the committee at (318) 793-5985.
to submit statements
The deadline for candidates in the Nov. 6 election to submit statements of candidacy to The Advocate is 5 p.m. Aug. 24 — one week after the close of qualifying.
That ballot features the presidential race, but there are a number of state and local races, including congressional races, the 5th and 6th district seats on the Louisiana Supreme Court, a number of seats on the state Courts of Appeal and the District 2 seat on the Public Service Commission.
In East Baton Rouge, there are races for mayor-president, Metro Council and City Court.
In Ascension Parish, there are municipal races in Gonzales and Donaldsonville as well as a race for Ascension Parish Court judge.
Other municipal races include those in Walker, Livingston, French Settlement, Port Vincent, Port Allen, Brusly, Addis, Clinton, New Iberia, Delcambre, Loreauville, Amite City, Roseland and Tangipahoa.
The list of propositions and constitutional amendments on that ballot is not yet available on the Secretary of State’s website.
The runoff election is scheduled Dec. 8.
For information on submitting statements of candidacy to The Advocate, contact Metro Editor Vicki Ferstel at
Compiled by Capitol news bureau. Contact email is email@example.com.