Politics Column for Feb. 10, 2013

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TRAVIS SPRADLING /

Edwards’ reality show pushed back

The premiere of former Gov. Edwin Edwards’ reality show is being pushed back to the summer.

First scheduled for February and then March, “The Governor’s Wife” now will debut on A&E at a date to be announced.

“Perfection takes time,” Edwards’ wife, Trina, posted on Facebook on Friday.

The show will focus on Edwards, his wife and their blended family of six children.

Group promoting tax overhaul

While the details of the tax overhaul package are being worked out between legislators and the Governor’s office, “Believe in Louisiana,” will be spending some time and resources “sharing with people the value in eliminating the income tax,” Timmy Teepell wrote in an email Friday. Teepell is Gov. Bobby Jindal’s chief political adviser and is a partner with OnMessage Inc., the political consulting group based in suburban Washington, D.C.

“Believe in Louisiana” is a Baton Rouge-based tax-exempt, organized under Section 527 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, and in the past has reported raising more than $1 million to promote Jindal’s agenda.

Teepell said the group would advertise on television and through digital mediums in support of the governor’s plan to abolish state individual income tax and corporate income and franchise taxes.

Survey polls
state voters

Forty-eight percent of voters responding to a new Voter-Consumer Research survey disapprove of the job Gov. Bobby Jindal is doing, while 46 percent approved of his job performance.

Meanwhile, nearly half — 47 percent — of those surveyed, said the state is on the wrong track; 37 percent believe it’s on the right track and 9 percent have mixed opinions.

The Louisiana State Medical Society commissioned the telephone survey of 600 voters. The poll was conducted Jan. 13-17 by the Washington, D.C., based firm. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

The questions were included in a poll that surveyed voters on health care issues, including whether Louisiana should participate in the federal Medicaid expansion.

Of those responding, 51 percent said the state should participate, while 43 percent said it should not. And 52 percent believed that by not participating in the program, “Louisiana taxpayers would be leaving millions of federal dollars on the table that would be available for health services.”

Dardenne named
a GOP to watch

Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne has made Governing magazine’s list of state Republican officials to watch in 2013 around the United States.

Dardenne’s in the company of such officials as Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, Florida Commissioner of Education Tony Bennett, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, and Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds among others.

The article notes Dardenne’s career as a state senator, secretary of state and now lieutenant governor and being a Senate floorleader under GOP Gov. Mike Foster when the Senate was controlled by Democrats.

“He has evolved into an occasionally acerbic critic of GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal, who he is expected to succeed. Dardenne is also known as an energetic booster of the state’s culture, as well as a prolific raconteur who ... finished first once and won two honorable mentions in the ‘vile pun’ category of the Bulwer Lytton Contest, a tongue-in-cheek competition to choose the worst opening line in a novel,” the magazine wrote.

Speaker’s staff welcomes Dodd

House Speaker Chuck Kleckley’s staff has a new addition.

Kleckley hired former Senate staffer Kim Dodd as executive assistant to the speaker at a $110,000 annual salary.

Dodd had worked in the governor’s Division of Administration.

“Her main role will be to provide professional support for the management and coordination of the various activities of the House of Representatives,” Kleckley said in a statement.

“Her duties include managing legislative issues and initiatives; providing research and analysis; helping to coordinate policy and operational issues; and gathering necessary information from various state agencies for legislative purposes.”

Johnson returning to Jindal administration

A former cabinet secretary is returning to the Jindal administration.

Ruth Johnson retired last year as secretary of the state Department of Children and Family Services. More than six months later, she is back, this time as the state’s chief information officer.

Johnson will replace Ed Driesse, who is retiring.

Michael DiResto, spokesman for the Division of Administration, said Johnson will make $150,000 a year, less than Driesse’s annual salary of $167,000.

Commission re-elects chairs

The state Civil Service Commission re-elected Mandeville lawyer David Duplantier as its chairman and Alexandria lawyer John McLure as vice chairman.

The seven member commission oversees state employment policies and practices, including a new performance evaluation system. Six members are appointed by the governor from lists of nominees submitted by private college presidents. The seventh member is an elected state employee representative.

Lawyer appointed
to Mineral Board

Gov. Bobby Jindal has appointed Prairieville lawyer Louis Lambert to the Louisiana State Mineral Board.

Lambert, a new appointee, is a former state senator and Public Service Commission member.

Jindal reappointed four other Mineral Board members: Emile Cordaro of Shreveport, a government affairs manager for Southwestern Electric Power Co.; Robert “Michael” Morton of Broussard, president of LandCoast; Thomas Sanders of Lake Charles, an attorney; and W. Paul Segura Jr. of Lafayette, president and CEO of Segura Development.

The 11-member Mineral Board has the authority to lease state property for the development and production of minerals, oil and gas.

Little named to board of directors

Former state Rep. Sam Little, of Bastrop, got a new stint on the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. board of directors, courtesy of Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Little is a retired farmer. He was nominated for reappointment by the largest insurer in the state, Farm Bureau.

Myers named counsel for association

Brad Myers, a partner in the Baton Rouge-based Kean Miller law firm, was named general counsel for the Louisiana Municipal Association.

Prior to joining Kean Miller, Myers was as a law clerk to Judge Michael E. Ponder of the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge. He also served as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern and Western Districts of Louisiana.

Jindal to keynote
at Mo. conference

Gov. Bobby Jindal is making a second straight appearance as the keynote speaker for a Missouri Republican conference.

The Missouri Republican Party says Jindal is to speak Saturday at a banquet for its annual Lincoln Days conference in St. Louis. Jindal also was a keynote speaker during the Missouri Lincoln Days event last year in Kansas City.

Press Club off
for Mardi Gras

The Baton Rouge Press Club will not meet Monday because of the Mardi Gras holiday. The Press Club will meet again Feb. 18.

City to discuss energy plan

At the direction of the New Orleans City Council, Entergy New Orleans will host a public meeting from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday to review the company’s proposed Integrated Resource Plan.

The City Council is seeking feedback prior to decisions about energy planning for New Orleans.

The meeting will be held at UNO Lindy Boggs International Conference Center, 2045 Lakeshore Drive, in New Orleans.

To RSVP, call (504) 670-3614 or email to dmercad@entergy.com.

The Alliance for Affordable Energy is available to answer questions. Call Forest Bradley-Wright at (504) 208-9761 or email forest@all4energy.org.

Compiled by The Advocate’s Capitol news bureau. Contact email address is cnb@theadvocate.com.