Politics Column for Jan. 13, 2013

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ARTHUR D. LAUCK /
Senate President John Alario, R- Westwego

Governor fills two staff positions

Gov. Bobby Jindal made two permanent staff hires last week.

Sean Lansing will be the governor’s press secretary. Shannon Bates, who has been working as the governor’s spokeswoman, will be deputy press secretary.

Each will make $65,000 a year, Bates said.

Lansing’s résumé includes stints as communications director at Wisconsin’s John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy, press secretary for Eric Hovde’s U. S. Senate campaign, and communications director for Wisconsin’s Assembly Majority Leader.

Trina, Edwin prep for reality show

In an interview with Louisiana Radio Network last week, Trina Scott Edwards said her upcoming reality show will focus on the quirky, normal life she shares with former Gov. Edwin Edwards.

“We are normal. Our life is not parties and functions,” she said.

The show, called “The Governor’s Wife,” premieres Feb. 27 on A&E.

Edwards and Trina Grimes Scott married in 2011 after meeting while Edwards served time in a federal prison for his role in a bribery and extortion scheme to rig riverboat casino licenses. They have a blended family of six children, including Trina Edwards’ teenage sons, and hope to welcome a baby of their own.

In the interview, Trina Edwards declined to confirm whether she is expecting a baby. She said their efforts to conceive a child are part of the show’s story line.

Greene revisits his La. income tax bill

State Rep. Hunter Greene, R-Baton Rouge, tried to persuade the Legislature in 2011 to get rid of the state’s personal income tax.

The effort failed.

Two years later, Gov. Bobby Jindal is resurrecting the idea.

“I know where they can find a good draft of the bill,” Greene quipped Thursday.

Alario offers quip
of losing tax work

Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego, joked Thursday that the Jindal administration is trying to put a dent in his business as a tax preparer.

The Jindal administration recently announced plans to eliminate the state’s personal and corporate income taxes.

Alario said he will stay busy preparing federal returns. “Until the feds change their mind, I guess we’ll still be doing it,” he said.

Kennedy moves on to higher education

State Treasurer John Kennedy is hitting the classroom again.

Kennedy has been substitute teaching on occasion in public schools.

Now he’s in a higher education setting. He shared on Facebook: “I’ll be teaching a course at the LSU law school this semester, starting next Wednesday. State constitutional law.”

Kennedy aide Jason Redmond said his boss has been teaching a class most every year since 2003.

State jobs lost at fiscal midpoint: 1,116

Halfway through the state fiscal year, 1,116 state employees have lost their jobs, according to the latest state Civil Service report submitted to legislators.

The number represents one-third of the job layoffs that have occurred since Gov. Bobby Jindal took office in 2008. The total job layoffs reported by Civil Service is 3,316.

Most of the recent layoffs are related to the privatization of state facilities for the developmentally disabled and the closure of two prisons.

State government has about 74,000 employees.

Black Caucus names Jackson to lead group

State Rep. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe, last week was elected chairperson of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus for 2013-2014.

She takes over from state Rep. Patricia Smith, D-Baton Rouge, on Feb. 1 as the head of the 32-member group of state representatives and senators.

State Reps. Ed Price, D-Gonzales, and Wesley Bishop, D-New Orleans, were selected as vice chairperson and first vice chairperson, respectively. State Reps. Ledricka Thierry, D-Opelousas, was tapped as treasurer, and Vincent Pierre, D-Lafayette, was elected parliamentarian. State Sen. Troy Brown, D-Napoleonville, was picked as Senate Whip.

BR political firm cited in periodical

The Baton Rouge-based The Political Firm of Jason Hebert and Scott Hobbs was selected as one of the top five Republican Influencers in Louisiana by Campaigns and Elections Magazine.

Together, Hobbs and Hebert have amassed a 13-2 win-loss record in statewide and federal campaigns since 2004, across seven states. Their most notable current and past clients include: Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne, Commissioner of Agriculture Mike Strain and Secretary of State Tom Schedler.

Faculty senate head to address Press Club

Kevin Cope, president of the LSU Faculty Senate, will address the Baton Rouge Press Club on Monday.

Cope will discuss faculty concerns about the budget cutbacks during the past few years and the consolidation of the offices of president and chancellor at LSU.

The Press Club meets at De La Ronde Hall, which is located at 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 during the question-and-answer portion of the program.

Kenner group to host talk by Defrancesch

Councilwoman Marie Defrancesch, of District 4 in Kenner, is addressing the Pelican State Pachyderm Club Tuesday at 7 p.m.

The event takes place at the DoubleTree Hotel, 2150 Veterans Blvd., Kenner.

The cost is $25 for members and $35 for nonmembers.

Reservations are available by emailing miltonatebara@aol.com.

SU supervisors elect Gant vice chairman

The Southern University Board of Supervisors elected Rev. Joe Gant, of Shreveport, Friday as vice chairman of the 16-member governing board of the Southern University System.

The board previously elected Bridget Dinvaut, of Reserve, as chairwoman.

The board also welcomed new members Michael Small, of Slidell; Leon Tarver II, of Baton Rouge; and Raymond Fondel Jr., of Lake Charles.

Reappointed to the board were Gant and Antonio “Tony” Clayton, of Port Allen.

McKay to address GOP roundtable

Scott McKay, publisher of the Internet political newspaper, The Hayride, will be the featured speaker at Thursday’s meeting of the Ascension GOP Roundtable.

The meeting, sponsored by Ascension Republican Women, will begin at 11:30 a.m. at Kamal’s Kafe, 13091 Airline Highway in Gonzales.

The cost for the buffet-style lunch is $15. The Roundtable is open to the public and guests are welcome.

For more information, visit the website at www.lfrw.org/AscensionRW.

Steckel leaving DHH for job in N. Carolina

Carol Steckel will be leaving the state Department of Health and Hospitals Jan. 18 to accept a job with North Carolina’s Medicaid program.

Steckel was hired as chief of DHH’s Center for Health Care Innovation and Technology in November 2010 at a salary of $148,500 a year. She had been Alabama’s top Medicaid official since 2003.

Her new job will be director of the Division of Medical Assistance at North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services.

Wendy Vitter to give talk at GOP group

Wendy Vitter is scheduled to speak at the installation luncheon of the Republican Women Jefferson Parish on Thursday at 11:30 a.m.

The lunch will be held at Andrea’s Restaurant, 3100 19th St., Metairie.

The cost is $30. Register by calling Carol Ryan at (504) 885-0950 or email Janet Schwary at jschwaryaj@yahoo.com for reservations.

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