Politics Column for Jan. 6, 2013

Ex-governor wants to meet with Jindal

Former Gov. Buddy Roemer told a Baton Rouge radio station Friday that it might be time for the former governors to call again on Gov. Bobby Jindal.

In 2009, Roemer and three of the five living former governors paid Jindal a visit to protest deep budget cuts to higher education. Only former Gov. Edwin Edwards, who was in prison at the time, missed the visit.

With higher education continuing to struggle, Roemer told radio talk show host Jim Engster on Friday that another visit is in order, this time with Edwards present. Former Gov. David Treen since has died.

“That time will come sometime this year,” Roemer predicted.

Leger starts new year with marriage

State Rep. Walt Leger III, D-New Orleans, celebrated the new year as a married man.

Leger married Danielle Doiron in December at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in New Orleans.

The couple met at a legislative dinner. Doiron is a researcher for the state Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee.

Leger said he and Doiron honeymooned in Maui.

DHH notice
warns of layoffs

A general notice of a pending layoff went out just before the New Year at the state Department of Health and Hospitals.

“Positions occupied by employees affected by the proposed layoffs are located statewide within all offices of the Department,” according to the notice from DHH Undersecretary Jerry Phillips.

The layoff would be effective no later than June 30.

Phillips said the notice is required to comply with Civil Service rules.

“Right now there is no layoff being scheduled,” he said.

The notice is there just in case it is needed, Phillips said.

It’s the third year DHH has published such a notice, which also spells out the responsibilities of employees affected in a layoff.

State graduation rate at 71 percent

Louisiana finished ahead of just five states in its public high school graduation rate, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

The state’s rate is 71 percent, which is higher than Alaska, Georgia, Nevada, New Mexico and Oregon.

Iowa leads the nation, at 88 percent.

The lowest state is Nevada at 62 percent. The figure is 59 percent in the District of Columbia.

No figures were listed for Idaho, Kentucky and Oklahoma.

Louisiana’s high school graduation figure entered the political arena in 2009 when the Legislature passed a law that said it should be 80 percent by 2014.

The figures are 81 percent for Arkansas, 86 percent for Texas and 75 percent for Mississippi.

Youth art display at Governor’s Mansion

The artwork of several south Louisiana children will be on display at the Governor’s Mansion this month.

First lady Supriya Jindal began the tradition in 2008 as a way to showcase the talent of Louisiana’s young artists.

The featured artists include Tuan Nguyen, Chancelor Farman and Patrick Thompson of Archbishop Shaw High School in Marrero; Alissa Nguyen and Dalannie George of Merrydale Elementary in Baton Rouge; Jakendrick Watkins and Keishaun Ranel of Iberville Elementary in Plaquemine; Uriel Baldesco and Abbey Chase of Little Oak Middle in Slidell; and Brant Tagalo and Alicia Briones of Central Middle School in Gonzales.

BR Dems named
to top 500 list

Trey Ourso and Michael Beychok, of the Baton Rouge-based Democratic consulting firm of Ourso Beychok Inc., were named by Campaigns & Elections Magazine to its list of the top 500 Influencers in the United States. The two men are partners in the firm, which specializes in direct mail, message development and campaign management.

Ourso, a direct mail expert, was recognized for his work in Kansas, where he has consulted with the House Democratic Caucus, among others, for the past two election cycles. During the 2012 elections, the House Caucus won 13 of the 14 races that were targeted by the group.

Beychok made the list in Louisiana.

La. Hayride rescheduled

Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne rescheduled a celebration of the Louisiana Hayride.

Instead of holding a concert, film screening and panel discussion Jan. 19, the event will be held Feb. 23 in Shreveport. No reason was given for the rescheduling.

The Hayride, which was broadcast over radio and television, helped launch the careers of numerous musicians, including Elvis Presley. Hank Williams and Jimmie Davis also performed there.

“We hope folks will embrace the new date and come to the historic Shreveport Municipal Auditorium to experience an authentic salute to north Louisiana’s music,” Dardenne said in a statement.

Adam Knapp on tap at BR Press Club

Adam Knapp, president and CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, will be the speaker for Monday’s meeting of the Baton Rouge Press Club.

Knapp will discuss progress with the Creative Capital Agenda, the 2011-15 strategic plan for national and global competitiveness.

The Press Club meets at De La Ronde Hall, 320 Third St., in downtown Baton Rouge.

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 the news media are allowed to ask questions.

Compiled by the Capitol news bureau. Contact email address is cnb@theadvocate.com.