Jindal, Holden to attend AgCenter opening

Gov. Bobby Jindal and Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden are scheduled to attend the dedication of a new $14 million LSU AgCenter building that the Louisiana Legislature funded through direct allocation.

The ceremony marking the opening of the two-story, 49,000-square-foot Animal and Food Sciences Laboratories Building will be at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to an AgCenter news release.

Construction on the building began in 2012.

Ex-staffer gives Strain book recommendation

State Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain got a question from a familiar face last week at the Press Club of Baton Rouge weekly meeting.

Strain’s former press secretary, Sam Irwin, asked the commissioner if he has read “Louisiana Crawfish: A Succulent History of the Cajun Crustacean.” Irwin wrote the book.

“I will, but you’re going to have to sign it,” Strain said.

Poll ranks candidates for 6th District seat

Paul Dietzel II says he has poll numbers that show he is the leading Republican candidate for the Baton Rouge-based 6th congressional district.

Former Gov. Edwin W. Edwards, who is running as a Democrat, came in first, polling 35 percent of 576 respondents on Saturday who answered the question: “If the election for the 6th Congressional District were held today, which candidates would you support?”

Dietzel came in second with 13 percent, according to the survey by JMC Analytics and Polling, of Baton Rouge, commissioned by Dietzel’s campaign.

“With qualifying approximately three weeks, the candidate field has stabilized, although the percentage of undecided voters remains relatively high,” the poll’s narrative stated. Candidates seeking to run for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy need to sign up officially between Aug. 20-22. The open primary is Nov. 4.

In addition to Edwards and Dietzel, the poll identified state Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, as the third most viable candidate in the field with support of 9 percent in the poll.

Republican Garret Graves, a former aide to Gov. Bobby Jindal, is the fundraising leader in the race, by far, but showed up in Dietzel’s poll with 3 percent of the support.

The automated poll chose a sample of “minimally likely” voters in the 6th District. Seventy-eight percent of the poll respondents were white, 41 percent were Democrats, and 47 percent are from southeastern neighborhoods of East Baton Rouge Parish, many of which overlap with Claitor’s state senatorial district. The margin of error was 4.1 percent of poll.

Hotline takes tips on misuse of public funds

Louisiana Legislative Auditor Daryl G. Purpera opened a toll-free hotline to report suspicions of misuse of public funds.

Information provided to the hotline may result in an investigation, audit or other review by LLA staff. Information can be provided anonymously, but giving name and telephone number will allow auditors to follow up if other questions arise.

To contact the LLA Hotline:

Call, toll free: (844) 50 FRAUD (503-7283)

Fax: (844) 40 FRAUD (403-7283)

Visit online: ReportFraud.La

Mail: LLA Hotline, P.O. Box 94397, Baton Rouge, LA 70804.

Vitter vows immigration fix if elected governor

U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., is turning the immigration controversy into a fundraising push.

Vitter asked supporters Wednesday to make a financial contribution to his gubernatorial campaign if they stand with him on defending Louisiana against illegal immigration.

“I have a bill in Congress that will fix the border crisis now by creating mandatory detention of illegal immigrants who are trying to sneak into the U.S., and expediting deportation. And as governor, I will use all of our state’s power to block them from coming to Louisiana in the future,” he wrote in an email.

Vitter is running for governor next year against Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and state Rep. John Bel Edwards, D-Amite.

Education leader Lewis leaving state post

Eric Lewis, state director of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, is leaving the post to join the Fellowship Program at Building Excellent Schools.

BAEO has played key roles in high-profile public school debates in recent years.

Both Lewis and the group were allies of Gov. Bobby Jindal during the successful 2012 push to expand vouchers statewide.

However, the group parted company with the governor last month when it assisted in the filing of a lawsuit by parents and teachers to ensure that Common Core tests proceed on schedule.

Jindal is trying to shelve the exams and Common Core.

LSU scholarship honors political reporter legacy

A scholarship has been set up at the Manship School of Mass Communication at LSU in memory of political reporter John Maginnis.

Maginnis died earlier this year after suffering health problems. He was 66.

As a political writer, Maginnis wrote books, published a newsletter and authored a syndicated opinion column.

Maginnis’ business partner, Jeremy Alford, announced the scholarship along with directions on how to contribute. Checks should be made payable to LSU Foundation and mailed to LSU Foundation, 3838 West Lakeshore Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70808. In the notation line, write “John J. Maginnis Scholarship.”

To qualify, a recipient must be financially needy and write a 725-word essay about the state’s political system.

Roemer to speak on Common Core, testing

Chas Roemer, president of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, is the featured speaker at the Press Club of Baton Rouge on Monday.

Roemer will speak about BESE’s differences with Gov. Bobby Jindal’s office over Common Core standards and student testing.

Press Club meets on Mondays in the Iberville Room at the Belle of Baton Rouge Hotel, 102 France St. Parking is free in the garage off Mayflower Street. 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 media are allowed to ask questions during the question-and-answer portion of the program.

Sen. Vitter hosting town hall meeting

U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., is holding a town hall meeting Tuesday in Napoleonville.

He meets at 1 p.m. at Napoleonville Community Center, 4770 La. 1.

Forum to host GOP mayoral candidates

Tom Sullivan, Livingston Parish Clerk of Court, will discuss the upcoming election, and a forum of the Republican Denham Springs mayoral candidates will be held at a meeting of the Livingston Parish Republican Women.

The monthly meeting will be held at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at Big Mike’s, 123 Aspen Square, just north of Interstate 12 off of Range Avenue, in Denham Springs.

There is a charge for lunch. Reservations are recommended and may be made by contacting Terri Day at (225) 931-9206 or email terriday@eatel.net.

Compiled by The Advocate Capitol news bureau. Send submissions to mballard@theadvocate.com