The Tuesday Tracker, Sponsored by Harris, DeVille & Associates

The Tuesday Tracker,Sponsored By Harris, DeVille & Associates

January 29, 2019 - Issue No. 173

By Jeremy Alford (jja@lapolitics.com)

& Mitch Rabalais (mitch@lapolitics.com)


ROLL CALL

Where things are suite at WMG…Can you say Gov. John Alario… Change comes to Louisiana’s congressional delegation… Russell Long & Betty Ford’s infamous dance… Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy have been spotted…Franklin Foil staffs up in SD16 & talks ITEP… The RGA swings at JBE


THE COUNTDOWN

3 days until Washington Mardi Gras; 25 days until the special elections in HD12, HD47, HD18, HD 26, HD 27, HD 62 and HD 17; 69 days until the start of the regular session; 189 days until qualifying opens; 256 days until the primary elections; 291 days until the runoff elections; 349 days left in the term…


The Suite Life

We're hope you're looking forward to our annual Beltway-only print edition of LaPolitics Weekly. Long-timers know it's our lone print product of the year, shoved lovingly under doors at the same Hilton hosting Washington Mardi Gras. Look for it when you wake up Friday morning, or go grab an extra copy in the lobby area.

Courson Nickel and the Louisiana Police Jury Association will once again be underwriting the distribution process, and we've partnered with LSU and the Manship School Statehouse Bureau for a feature story that will appear in the Beltway-only print edition of LW. (Subscribers will receive it back home as well.)

If reading stuff isn't your thing, and you're only into networking, then the congressional suites are must-stops over the next few days in DC. And we've collected the rundown for you! Happy Mardi Gras!

(PRO TIP: One of our favorite suites, hosted by government agencies, is once again returning. Want to visit the only spot in DC with both boudin and live Cajun music? Visit the Bienvenue a Lafayette suite. The "Paint the Town" suite is open both Friday and Saturday in the Morgan Room.)

CASS PAC with special guests U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy and Family 

Suite: The Holmead Suite in the Heights on Lobby Level; Friday, Feb. 1: 4:30-6:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2: 4-6:30 p.m.; Second Line to Salute the King and Queen starting on Terrace level at 5 p.m.

Pelican PAC with special guests U.S. Sen. John and Mrs. Becky Kennedy 

Suite: 3100, Third Floor; Friday, Feb. 1: 4:30–6:30 p.m. King Cake Party; Saturday, Feb. 2: 4:30–6:30 p.m.; Oyster Party & Champagne Toast; Toast at 5:30 p.m. 

Eye of the Tiger PAC with special guest Majority Whip Steve Scalise 

Suite: The Van Ness, First Floor; Friday, Feb. 1: 4– 5 p.m. King Cake Party; Saturday, Feb. 2: 3-4:30 p.m.; Royalty Toast in honor of the 2019 Princesses 

Who Dat PAC with special guest Assistant Majority Whip Cedric Richmond 

Suite: 1101, First Floor; Friday, Feb. 1: 2:30-5:30 p.m.

"ACEPAC" with special guest Congressman Ralph Abraham 

Suite: The Shaw Room, First Floor; Friday, Feb. 1: 3:30-5:30 p.m.; Sat, Feb. 2: 3-5 p.m., Champagne Toast to Princesses - 4 p.m. 

Pass a good time at the “Graves Swampy Speakeasy” with special guest Congressman Garret Graves 

Suite: The Piscataway Room in the Heights at the Lobby Level; Thursday, Jan. 31: 3–6 p.m.; Friday, Feb. 1: 3-6 p.m.; Saturday, Feb 2: 12-4:00 p.m.; (Admission Password: “Red Snapper”) 

Redemption PAC with special guest Congressman Clay Higgins 

Suite: 4100, Fourth Floor; Thursday, Jan 31: 4:30-6 p.m., Welcome Reception; Friday, Feb 1: 4:30-6 p.m.; Dinner Dance Reception, Champagne Toast to Princesses at 5:30 p.m.

“Mike Johnson for Louisiana” with special guest Congressman Mike Johnson 

Suite: The Jay Room in the Heights at the Lobby Level; Friday, Feb 1: After Dinner – 12 a.m. — A Salute to the 4th Congressional Princesses featuring the Storyville Stompers; Saturday, Feb 2: 4-6 p.m. 

A Taste of Louisiana with Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain 

Suite: The Woodley, First Floor; Friday, Feb 1: 2:30–5 p.m.; Saturday, Feb 2: 2:30–5 p.m. 

Bienvenue a Lafayette 

Suite: Morgan Room in the Heights at the Lobby Level; Friday, Feb 1: 2–6 p.m.; Saturday, Feb 2: 2–6 p.m. 

Ochsner Health Systems 

Suite: Kalorama Room in the Heights at the Lobby Level; Friday, Feb 1: 2–5 p.m.; Saturday, Feb 2: 2–5 p.m.

Ray Brandt Automotive Group with honored guest King Ray Brandt 

Suite: Oaklawn Room in the Heights; Thursday, Jan 31: 10 a.m.–12 p.m. & 2:30 –4:30 p.m.; Friday, Feb 1: 3–5 p.m.; Saturday, Feb 2: 3–5 p.m.

Acadian Companies with honored guest Queen Alexandra Reese Pharr 

Suite: The Northwest Room in the Heights at the Lobby Level; Thursday, Jan 31: 4:30–6:30 p.m.; Friday, Feb 1: 3-6:30 p.m. 

A message from Harris, DeVille & Associates 

STS Responds to State’s Hep A Outbreak 

In response to Louisiana’s recent hepatitis A outbreak, HDA client Solutions Through Science (STS) provided posters to each of the nine Sanitarian Directors of the Louisiana Department of Health. The posters offer specific directions for clean-up and disinfection after a hepatitis A vomiting or diarrhea incident. It also specifies guidelines for routine surface disinfection against hepatitis A. 

The posters were developed by a public health partnership that included the American Chemistry Council, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Environmental Health Association, the New Jersey Somerset County Department of Health, the City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department, the Lincoln-Lancaster County (North Dakota) Health Department, the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services and the Water Quality & Health Council. 

The posters may be downloaded at https://waterandhealth.org/resources/posters.  

Solutions Through Science is a partnership of the chlorine and vinyl producers and users in Louisiana. Established in 2000, STS acts as a single voice for its member companies which provide reliable and durable products that are used in our daily lives, such as disinfectants, crop protection products, pharmaceuticals, building and construction materials, healthcare items, toys and much more. Learn more at STS: http://www.stsla.org/


WMG History: Long dances with Mrs. Ford 

Late U.S. Sen. Russell Long has long been considered the godfather of Washington Mardi Gras. It was the Kingfish’s son who brought the event to the Washington Hilton and he helped create the Mystic Krewe of Louisianans. During his stint as captain, Long instituted a rule that levied a $50 fine on any member that took his mask off during the ball. The Bayou State’s senior senator, however, ran into a problem in 1975 when President Gerald Ford and his wife Betty attended the ball. 

Time magazine captured the moment: When Long approached Honored Guest Betty Ford to claim a dance, a Secret Service man barred his way, saying, ‘You can’t dance with Mrs. Ford until we know who you are.’ Russell identified himself but Mrs. Ford’s protector persisted, ‘You have to take off your mask.’ So Long dropped his mask and $50 for a dance with Betty.  


Governor John A. Alario Jr

Under Article IV, section 19 of the Louisiana Constitution, when the governor is temporarily absent from the state, he cedes power to the lieutenant governor until he returns. But in the case of this week, both Gov. John Bel Edwards and Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser are traveling to Washington Mardi Gras. 

Article IV, section 14 already thought of that, thankfully. After the lieutenant governor, the line of succession goes down to the secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer, Senate president and House speaker.

Based on our preliminary reporting, that may make Senate President John Alario the acting governor at some point this week. “I’ll hold things down until they get back,” Alario said with a laugh. “Westwego can be the capital of Louisiana for a few days.” 

Alario also jokingly added, “I don’t plan on calling any special sessions.” 

What says Team Edwards? They offered a one-sentence statement.

“As the Washington Hilton becomes the 65th Parish during Washington Mardi Gras, the governor intends to govern from Louisiana’s northern most parish during that time,” said Christina Stephens, Edwards’ deputy chief of staff. 


The Foil Q&A

LaPolitics: Both you and Sen. (Bodi) White announced this week that you are filing a bill to return the powers over ITEP to the state rather than local officials. Why the early announcement? 

Rep. Franklin Foil: Sen White and I felt like we needed to act quickly to give businesses notice that we intend to take action before any more damage is done.

LaPolitics: Was the Exxon matter with the East Baton Rouge School Board solely what drew you to file the bill or were there other concerns? 

Foil: I have had some concerns about the changes to the ITEP program.  However, after the School Board made its decision to deny Exxon's request for the exemption, I felt that we needed to take immediate action.

LaPolitics: Have you had conversations with other members about the bill yet? 

Foil: Yes. I have already spoken with Rep. (Paula) Davis and Rep. (Valerie) Hodges who are both concerned about what has happened with the ITEP program, and they want to help with our efforts.

LaPolitics: Have you spoken to either Gov. Edwards or his staff about the bill? 

Foil: I have not spoken with the Governor yet, but I intend to consult with both him and his staff before filing a bill.

LaPolitics: What type of feedback on the bill have you been getting from business and industry? 

Foil: Industry has been very appreciative and supportive of our efforts.


JJA: Same Delegation, Different Feel 

What a difference a year makes. 

Then again, you knew that already. There’s a reason, after all, why writers and others use that adage, which just so happens to fit rather snugly when applied to Louisiana’s current congressional delegation. Just use your own brain to travel back in time and give it some thought.

Our federal politicos of February 2018, for example, aren’t our federal politicos of February 2019. Twelve months ago, Congressman Clay Higgins of Acadiana was cast aside by some reporters as a fringe rep and labeled as a sideshow by pundits lacking nuance. 

U.S. Sen. John Kennedy was roughly six weeks away from proposing a bill to prohibit airlines from storing dogs in overhead bins, but already a darling of the Beltway press corps. Reporters never knew what Kennedy was going to say, which was why they kept asking him to say stuff. 

By February 2018, only five months had passed since GOP Congressman Steve Scalise of Jefferson Parish made his triumphant return to the House. He did so while balancing recovery and rehabilitation, and — more importantly, politically — while serving as the majority whip, the third most powerful post in the House.

Congressman Cedric Richmond of New Orleans was a Big Dog, too, but as chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. Like Scalise, he was preparing to travel to House districts across the country for the 2018 elections, only for Democrats, not Republicans.

Looking north, Congressman Mike Johnson of Shreveport was wrapping up a seemingly quiet first term in office, albeit peppered with high-profile and well-covered appeals for civility. For his part, Congressman Ralph Abraham created buzz during February 2018 for his growing stature on the agriculture committee. He likewise generated rumors about a potential but unconfirmed run for governor.

Now let’s review the standings of those same Louisiana politicos, only this go around in the light of February 2019. 

Known best locally as a former cop who spoke tough during Crimestopper television spots, Higgins is now a member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which is sort of notable. The panel focuses on government accountability and House Democrats are expected to use it as a launching pad to lean on the White House and President Donald Trump. 

The position could translate into a bump in national media coverage for Higgins, much like the one Kennedy is still enjoying after announcing he wouldn’t run for governor. Who will be a part of that content is Abraham, who had a seat at the negotiating table on the Farm Bill this past fall.

Sidestepping his own rumors about a gubernatorial bid, Scalise published a book and was relegated to the position of minority whip when Republicans lost the House. Richmond, meanwhile, handed over the chairmanship of the Black Caucus to Congresswoman Karen Bass of California and he in turn became assistant to the majority whip. (That’s a quite a reversal of fortunes.) 

As for Johnson, he has stepped onto a path that was first traveled by Scalise. Johnson is now chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a conservative force in the lower chamber that was previously held by Scalise before he used it to become majority whip, a designation that ended last term.

Then there’s U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy and Congressman Garret Graves, both of Baton Rouge. They’ve been consistent in their policy efforts, with Cassidy continuing to engage on health care issues and Grave’s role in water-and transportation-related matters appears to be growing.

With a couple of exceptions, Louisiana’s congressional delegation is in a much different place than it was just a year ago. The faces and personalities are the same, to be certain, but political influence has shifted around a bit. But this was not done by the hands of voters in the Bayou State. No, national politics have served as the culprit.

Let's recap:

Thanks in part to a choice committee assignment, Higgins is in a position to bolster his national media profile, much like Kennedy did as a freshman.

Scalise and Richmond, to some extent, are swapping roles on the Hill, from the majority leadership to the minority team and from the minority to majority ranks, respectively.

Johnson is following the route that made Scalise a force to be reckoned with last term, but it will certainly be his own journey.

Abraham, should he qualify for governor, will soon be focused more on Louisiana-based issues, rather than federal agriculture policy. 

Louisiana voters are used to hearing about the loss of sway in our congressional delegation, not the readjusting of power. But that’s what we’re faced with at this time, and it may leave as lasting of an impact.


Spotted…

  • U.S. Sen. John Kennedy was seen visiting with William Barr, President Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general. After the meeting, Kennedy announced his support for Barr’s confirmation. 
  • Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins was seen visiting with U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy in his Capitol Hill office. 
  • Mayor Perkins was also seen chatting with U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, a rumored 2020 presidential candidate. 

Staffing Up…

  • Tim Temple, candidate for insurance commissioner, has brought on Scott Wilfong and former Sen. Dan Richey as his consultants. 
  • Rep. Franklin Foil has hired consultant Lionel Rainey III to handle his bid in SD16. 

Political Chatter…

  • The Republican Governors Association is taking their first wade into the 2019 electoral waters, hitting Gov. John Bel Edwards on taxes.
  • Edwards told reporters that he is joining the Who Dat Nation in boycotting the Super Bowl. 
  • Congressman Ralph Abraham has officially changed his campaign Twitter handle from @abraham_ralph to @DocAbraham. 
  • The Washington Post reports that Minority Whip Steve Scalise and his congressional roommates will be welcoming a new member to their house soon. 
  • Greater New Orleans CEO Michael Hecht will be speaking to the National Press Club on Thursday. 
  • LABI President Stephen Waguespack will be speaking to the Baton Rouge Press Club at their weekly luncheon next Monday. 
  • Baton Rouge’s annual Gridiron Show is set for the weekend of March 22-23. For the first time ever, tickets can be purchased online through their new website.
  • After months of speculation, St Tammany Parish President Pat Brister has announced her intentions to seek a third term this fall. Covington Mayor Mike Cooper has already entered the contest as a challenger. 

The War Chest War 

  • Gov. John Bel Edwards’ re-election campaign will be having a WMG fundraiser Thursday evening at the Ruth’s Chris on Connecticut Ave.
  • Attorney General Jeff Landry will be having his own WMG fundraiser at the Trump Hotel Wednesday evening. According to the invitation, Vice President Mike Pence will be an honored guest. 
  • Rep. Reid Falconer’s Senate campaign has scheduled their first fundraiser of 2019 for Feb. 25. 

News Shaping Our Politics 

  • Gambit: “Jefferson Parish politics is never dull, and the October primary for parish president promises to be an intra-parish war. Things are heating up already after at-large Councilmember Cynthia Lee Sheng confirmed she is running.” 
  • The News-Star: “A new poll shows Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards with a significant lead over GOP opponents Congressman Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone, though few of those surveyed are yet familiar with the governor's challengers.” 
  • The Advocate: “The man who was elected mayor of the small Louisiana town of Ball has lost another round in his effort to move into the office, stymied by recent passage of a constitutional restriction on felons in elected jobs.” 
  • The AP: “Frustrated Louisiana patients waiting for medical marijuana to appear in regional pharmacies received updates Monday on the lengthy regulatory and testing process, but few timelines for when they’ll gain access to medicinal-grade pot to treat chronic conditions.”

What you missed in the Weekly

JBE, Eddie Rispone and Doc are staffed up & ready 

Robert Travis Scott talks about PAR’s agenda for the regular session 

Tim Temple is in the race for insurance commissioner 

— Congressman Clay Higgins lands on the House Oversight Committee 

— The Watchlist: Rep. Steve Carter is in the race for SD16

Kyle and Lynnel Ruckert are making BOLD moves 

— Part Two of our “Where Dat?” series 

— Jefferson Parish Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng leads off our Field Notes! 

— U.S. Sen. John Kennedy is talking about marijuana, money, Robert Mueller and Marvin from Pulp Fiction in our They Said It! feature

Get on the inside today with a subscription to LaPolitics Weekly! 

A message from Harris, DeVille & Associates

Sasol is building Louisiana careers 

As HDA client Sasol progresses through the commissioning phase of its world-scale petrochemical complex in Louisiana, the company is also working in its community to help build a better Southwest Louisiana for its neighbors.

"Sasol’s commitment as a corporate citizen to the annual business pitch competition and Business Incubator enables us to reach a wider audience and increase our service capacity.”

Adrian Wallace

Executive Director, SEED Center Business Incubator

Adrian Wallace serves as the Executive Director of the SEED Center Business Incubator. The SEED Center endeavors to continue to build and enhance its programming and resources to build a sustainable and creative entrepreneurial culture in Southwest Louisiana. The purpose of the Sasol-sponsored business pitch competition is to raise awareness about the Business Incubator, SEED Center and the many resources it offers to entrepreneurs.

Hear Adrian's story.

Learn more about Sasol’s efforts to build community, careers and local business at www.SasolNorthAmerica.com/WeAreBuilding.

#HBD Trackers 

— Tuesday, Jan. 29: Kelli Drago Bottger, Meg Casper Sunstrom, Chad Rogers and Les Landon

— Wednesday, Jan. 30: Republican Study Committee Chair Mike Johnson, Denise Thevenot, Matt Holliday and Sonny Cranch

— Thursday, Jan. 31: Congressman Garret Graves, Jody Montelaro, Ron Sapia, Dane Strother and Danny Heitman 

— Friday, Feb. 1: Dirk Thibodeaux, Ethan Melancon, Lisa Roland Faust, David Broussard, Jason Creighton and Sidney Cates

— Saturday, Feb. 2: Chas Roemer, Remy Voisin Starns, Danny Wilson and Charmaine Caccioppi

— Sunday, Feb. 3: Jefferson Parish Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng, LCA President Greg Bowser and Sam Karlin


Pitter Patter

Megan Miller, Minority Whip Steve Scalise’s chief of staff, gave birth to Caroline Frances Miller back on Jan. 12. According to all reports, Caroline is a happy and healthy 8lb 4oz baby girl meaning 20 inches. Our congratulations to Megan and her husband Joel

Birthdays, anniversaries, birth announcements, you name it. We want to know about your special day. Send those dates to news@LaPolitics.com

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Got a hot tip? Send it to news@LaPolitics.com!


Copyright © 2019

Jeremy Alford/Louisiana Political Review

All rights reserved.

Tuesday Tracker

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