The Tuesday Tracker, Sponsored by Harris, DeVille & Associates

The Tuesday Tracker

Sponsored By Harris, DeVille & Associates

By JEREMY ALFORD & MITCH RABALAIS

February 26, 2019   |   Issue No. 177   |   JJA@LaPolitics .com   |   @LaPoliticsNow   |   www.LaPolitics.com 


“IT’S CARNIVAL TIME AND EVERYBODY IS HAVING FUN!” 

As longtime readers already know, it is time for LaPolitics’ annual Mardi Gras break. That means that there will be no Fat Tuesday edition of the Tracker, as we will be chasing chickens in Oberlin, catching beads in Covington and celebrating in Shreveport. We will be back with another edition of The Tuesday Tracker in your inboxes on March 12. Happy Mardi Gras!


ROLL CALL

How politicos are spending their Mardi Gras… Andrew Bautsch talks 2019… Why Huey Long hated Fat Tuesday… John Bel Edwards and Francis Thompson have been spotted… Steve Carter offers up a bill on the Homestead Exemption… LaToya Cantrell and Danny Martiny are also putting items on the agenda… Marie Centanni gives us an interesting did you know… 


THE COUNTDOWN

32 days until the special election runoffs in HD17, HD18 and HD62… 41 days until the start of the regular session… 161 days until qualifying opens… 228 days until the primary elections… 263 days until the runoff elections… 321 days left in the term…


Carnival in Capitoland

LaFleur is chasing chickens, Claitor is riding clydesdales and Wags is on the slopes

Since Mardi Gras Day is only a week away and most politicos will be fleeing the confines of Capitoland for celebrations elsewhere, we decided to ask around and see how various folks will be passing a good time on Fat Tuesday…

"I'll spend some time home in Amite this weekend. I know everyone is looking forward to Mardi Gras, but Donna and I are most excited about Lundi Gras. This year it falls on our 30th wedding anniversary." 

Gov. John Bel Edwards

“Chasing chickens, of course! What else to people do for Mardi Gras?” 

Senate Finance Chair Eric LaFleur

“God willing and the bayou don’t rise from rain, I’ll be on my float throwing footballs and handing out real glass beads to crowds of revelers of the Krewe of Houmas as we roll in our 74th year!”  

Sen. Norby Chabert

“Enjoying Mardi Gras in downtown New Orleans!” 

Sen. Troy Carter

“Friday I’ll be with the Bud Clydesdales on the uptown route with none other than krewe d’état! Tuesday - I expect to be working at my law practice. I’m sure there’s a maverick joke in there somewhere.” 

Sen. Dan Claitor 

“On Fat Tuesday I will be returning to my office in Alexandria after spending Mardi Gras weekend in NOLA with friends from out of town. It’s their first Mardi Gras and I want make sure they will want to come back!” 

House Majority Leader Lance Harris

“Morehouse Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet. Can’t think of a nicer group of people to be with.” 

Rep. Jay Morris

“Will probably go to some parades in Lafayette. All the parades in my district were this past weekend.” 

Rep. Julie Emerson

“My wife Joan and I will be in Baton Rouge with my Daughter Rayne for a 3D ultrasound of my first grandchild, Avie Jean, who is due in May.” 

Civil Law Chair Ray Garofalo

“I’ll most likely spend my day chasing my 3 year old on his bike.” 

Consultant Lionel Rainey III

“The family and I are celebrating Mardi Gras on the slopes in Colorado this year.” 

LABI President Stephen Waguespack 

“Weather permitting I intend to conduct a redfish census in the Biloxi marsh.” 

Beer League Executive Director John Williams

“Trying to organize new krewe to lead a press row parade.”

USA Today’s Greg Hilburn


A message from Harris, DeVille & Associates  

HDA Client the Louisiana Ammonia Producers distribute Raising Radishes with Amazing Ammonia kits to area schools

The Louisiana Ammonia Producers and its member companies, CF Industries, Nutrien and Tampa Port Services, LLC, have once again produced and distributed the Raising Radishes with Amazing Ammonia Campaign for second grade classes in Ascension and St. James parishes.  After more than 20 successful years of educating school children about the importance of ammonia fertilizers to crops around the world, LAP updated the lesson to bring it into the 21st Century.  

The lesson plan was initially modified early in the program to highlight LEAP skills.  As teaching methods and academic standards continue to change, the lesson plans should reflect these changes to maintain the campaign’s popularity and to meet the expectations of teachers and students alike.  With the assistance of the Louisiana Resource Center for Educators (LRCE), who created the original lesson plan, LAP has updated the lesson plan and associated materials and enhanced illustrations to bring it up-to-date with today’s academic standards.  

Overall, the fertilizer school kits have been a tremendous success each year, and LAP believes this new, improved lesson will continue to provide the educational value to second graders in the region that it has for the past 20 years.


The LaGOP Q&A

With Andrew Bautsch

LaPolitics: Last week, we saw the state party file a request for documents related to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ business summit. Why did the LaGOP take this action and what do you believe the documents will show? 

Louisiana Republican Party Executive Director Andrew Bautsch: We believe that the governor basically paid for a campaign pep rally with taxpayer dollars, and the documents we’ve requested should shed light on this matter.

LaPolitics: What are the biggest issues that the party is tracking heading into the regular session? 

Bautsch: “That’s a tough question because there are quite a few issues! The really important things that everyone should be focusing on are the state’s economy, business climate, and whether we are better off than we were when Gov. Edwards took office (over three years ago). The plain fact is that our state government is in desperate need of reform and this governor is not reform-minded in the least.” 

LaPolitics: What legislative races will the party be closely following this fall? 

Bautsch: “We will be following all the races, but there are a number of races that we will contest with a plan to flip the seats to Republican.” 

LaPolitics: I know you can’t reveal too much, but can you give us a preview of some new things we will see from the party closer to election season? 

Bautsch: “Well, I think everyone will be surprised by the breadth and extent of what the LAGOP is doing. We are rebuilding our grassroots infrastructure throughout the state by working with our activists, parish executive committees and elected officials. We are helping to recruit new candidates while working in conjunction with other Republican and conservative organizations to train and support our candidates, elected officials and campaigns to get out the vote.”  

LaPolitics: How will you be spending your Mardi Gras? 

Bautsch: “I’ll be watching parades with friends and family until Sunday, when I ride in Bacchus.” 


Your Political History:

Why Huey Hated Mardi Gras 

Huey P. Long made changes to many of the Bayou State’s cherished traditions during his reign over Louisiana. After all, the Kingfish was the one who tore the Governor’s Mansion and rewrote the LSU fight song because the pervious version did not suit his tastes. 

While Long’s fingerprints can be found all over the state even today, the exclusive world of Mardi Gras in New Orleans was one area where his efforts to impose were unsuccessful. For years, the legend was that the Kingfish had even wanted to abolish the Mardi Gras holiday entirely…talk about an abuse of power. 

While there is no record of Long ever publicly pushing to eradicate Carnival, there is a story of petty insults and invitations that stuck in the craw of Louisiana’s most infamous politician. 

According to historian Richard D. White in his book Kingfish, while there was no set tradition, governors prior to Long had been typically invited to the Crescent City’s Mardi Gras balls as an honored guest. Then-Gov. John Parker had even ruled as King of Comus in 1924. 

However, no krewes extended an invitation to Long to attend their festivities when he took office in 1928. Part of the reason was that the new governor had angered most of New Orleans’ movers and shakers in the campaign the previous fall, railing against the city to win over rural voters. To add insult to injury, Long’s House Speaker, John Fournet, had only appointed two Crescent City lawmakers to the New Orleans City Affairs Committee and gave the other 13 seats to members from rural districts. 

According to James Gill in Lords of Misrule, the Kingfish, taking his lack of invitations as a snub from the city, took to attacking the New Orleans Carnival traditions. “He responded in public speeches by saying that the city leadership’s obsession with the frivolities of Mardi Gras were responsible for a decline in the fortunes of its maritime trade and had handed a golden opportunity to the go-getters of Houston,” Gill wrote. 

While Long was ultimately unable to secure any invitations to balls or parades that year, he did venture down to the Roosevelt Hotel for Fat Tuesday, holding court in the lobby with a Ramos Gin Fizz in hand, still going on and on about how ridiculous the whole holiday was. 


Spotted… 

—Presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris stopped in New Orleans Friday for the Power Rising Summit. During her time in the Big Easy, Harris was seen visiting with Mayor LaToya Cantrell and other Bayou State politicos. 

—Gov. John Bel Edwards and his daughter, Sarah Ellen, were seen at the White House Sunday evening participating the state dinner honoring all 50 governors. 

—U.S. Sen. John Kennedy was seen visiting with Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter Larry Gatlin at Louis Armstrong International Airport. 

Kennedy was also seen chatting with Sen. Francis Thompson at an event in Monroe last week.

—Rep. Malinda White was seen visiting with LDH Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee during an event at Our Lady of the Angels hospital in Bogalusa. 

—Rep. Ted James was seen enjoying a laugh and conversation with consultant Lionel Rainey III in Alario Hall. 

—Rep. Gary Carter was seen enjoying a king cake donut during the presentation of the governor’s budget. No word on if he offered to share with Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne or Revenue Secretary Kim Robinson


I’m Just a Bill…

With just over two months remaining until the start of the regular session, lawmakers are already filling bills. Since members are limited to only five instruments this fiscal session, everybody will be carefully considering what legislation they are choosing to introduce. Here are some of the bills filed within the last week: 

—SB9 by Sen. Karen Carter Peterson: “Removes future employees of the Regional Transit Authority from the system and state civil service.” 

—SB16 by Sen. Gerald Long: “Provides relative to investment of lump-sum benefits.” 

—HB12 by Rep. Steve Carter: “Provides for local option for the homestead exemption.” 


Political Chatter 

—Consultants Trey Ourso and Bradley Beychock cleaned up at the Reed Awards, winning prizes for the Best Direct Mail Piece, Best Mail Piece for US Senate (Democratic), and Best Statewide Mail Piece. 

—New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell has released the details of her request for an increase in the city’s infrastructure funding and tax revenue. 

—Louisiana Farm Bureau Executive Director Jim Monroe announced his retirement after 47 years with the organization. 

—Sen. Danny Martiny said that he will offer a bill to reconsider legalizing sports betting, dedicating the proceeds to specific state funds. 

—In a speech before the Baton Rouge Press Club, Education Superintendent John White said that he supports Gov. John Bel Edwards’ plan for a teacher pay raise. 

—At last week’s National Governor’s Association meeting, First Lady Donna Edwards participated in a panel discussion on child welfare and foster care with Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky. 

—The website for Congressman Ralph Abraham’s gubernatorial campaign has a new look. Team Abraham has also revealed a new campaign logo as well. 

Abraham has endorsed Tammi Fabre in the special election in HD18.

—President Donald Trump has resubmitted the nomination of Bill Brown Jr. for the post of U.S. Marshal in Louisiana’s Middle District. 

Tyler Bridges takes a look at last week’s inductees into the Political Hall of Fame. 

@MattCHouston: “Weed killer in your wine and beer? That's what a new U.S. PIRG study found. Any comment, @SenJohnKennedy? #LaLege” 

—The Legislative Auditor is out with a fresh batch of reports, including numbers for the City of Bunkie and the sheriffs’ departments in Concordia, Union, Madison, Claiborne, Lincoln and Bienville parishes. 

—The Governor’s Mansion Foundation is looking for donors to continue to keep helping to fund their preservation and restoration work. 

—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.


The War Chest War

—Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser will be having a fundraiser on March 26 at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington. According to the invitation, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, Minority Whip Steve Scalise, Republican Study Committee Chair Mike Johnson, Congressman Clay Higgins, Congressman Ralph Abraham and Congressman Garret Graves are among the event’s hosts. 

—Ascension Parish Sheriff Bobby Webre will be having a “Raise the Steaks” fundraiser - a steak dinner - on March 21 at the Gonzales Civic Center. 


News Shaping Our Politics

The News-Star: “Teachers, TOPS and colleges would be among the people and programs who would get raises or funding increases in Gov. John Bel Edwards' proposed budget for next year, though it relies on money that hasn't yet been recognized and can't yet be spent.” 

The Times-Pic: “Louisiana Education Superintendent John White criticized Gov. John Bel Edwards Monday (Feb. 25) for not including funding for early childhood education in the budget proposal for next fiscal year.” 

The AP: “Lobbyists can spend a tiny bit more wining and dining Louisiana state lawmakers and other public officials, beginning July 1.” 


Beltway Beat 

With Congress returning to Capitol Hill after a week-long recess, members are getting back into moving legislation through both chambers as focus shifts to the foreign policy front with both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence holding international summits this week. 

—U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy made some headlines Monday afternoon, voicing some concerns with President Trump’s emergency declaration over border security. While Cassidy says he supports prioritizing the border barrier, he is worried about the precedent the action will set. Cassidy had also caught some attention earlier in the week for a joke he made on Facebook about eating a raccoon. 

—U.S. Sen. John Kennedy’s measure to increase inspections on foreign seafood was approved by Congress as part of an appropriations package. 

—House Minority Whip Steve Scalise is still pushing to get passage of the anti-abortion Born Again Survivors Act, however, his efforts were dealt a blow Monday when the Senate blocked a version of the bill authored by U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska. 

—Republican Study Committee Chair Mike Johnson talked about the GOP’s 2020 strategy to retake control of the House with USA Today. 

—Congressman Ralph Abraham has re-introduced his legislation to provide relief to soybean farmers who have been effected by tariffs. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has voiced his support for the measure. 

—Congressman Garret Graves appeared on the House floor Tuesday afternoon, voicing his opposition to a bill that would divert nearly $9 billion in revenue away from the Louisiana coast to fund conservation projects in other states. Graves is also participating in forum this week on lowering the cost of prescription drugs and meeting with HUD officials to discuss the duplication of benefits issue.  


Did You Know… 

—Of the Bayou State’s 105 House districts, only one - HD28 - lines up perfectly with the boundaries of a parish (Avoylles). Democratic Caucus Chair Robert Johnson, the seat’s current occupant, is the House’s only member to represent just one parish in its entirety.  

(Fact comes to us from LABI’s Marie Centanni) 


What You Missed in the Weekly 

—Will nudging lead to pushing and shoving in the governor’s race? 

—Rumors, op-eds and a lot of grumpy elephants 

—What is behind Sen. Francis Thompson’s massive war chest 

—Congressman Garret Graves digs water policy on Capitol Hill 

—A look back at a Texas mudslide with three Looziana consultants 

—We’re talking about a Democrat vs. Democrat matchup in Inside the Rails

—Digital ads in the gubernatorial race lead off our Field Notes! 

—U.S. Sen. John Kennedy talks about crazy being on vacation and Gov. John Bel Edwards kills the fiscal cliff in our They Said It! feature 

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


A message from Harris, DeVille & Associates  

HDA Client Sasol featured in OFII Thrive Report for Community Impact 

The Organization for Foreign Investment recognized Sasol’s workforce initiatives in its 2019 Thrive Report. The OFII comprises numerous international companies with interests across America, and promotes its members’ contributions to their communities.

Sasol was honored for its work to help underemployed and unemployed South Louisianans get qualified and find work with industry through its Southwest Louisiana Workforce Resource Guide and Scholarship Program, which launched in 2015.

The Workforce Resource Guide is a step-by-step guide to choosing a career path, acquiring training, certifications and basic life skills, preparing a resume and ultimately securing a job in support of area industry.

The program connects local residents with job training and social service resources, one-on-one mentorship and career counseling services. Following the successful launch of the resource guide, Sasol and its community partners expanded the program to provide financial assistance to cover tuition, transportation, childcare and other costs associated with educational advancement.

Sasol has invested over $740,000 in the guide and associated support services.

The scholarship program has helped more than 170 recipients graduate from technical programs. Furthermore, more than 200 people have participated in Sasol-sponsored Workforce Readiness Seminars, which provide information on topics including career planning, resume preparation and communication. 

Those interested in attending seminars, applying for a scholarship or becoming a mentor can learn more on the Foundation for SWLA website.

Learn more about Sasol’s Corporate Social Investment.

View the full OFII Thrive report including Sasol’s spotlight.


#HBD Trackers! 

— Tuesday, Feb. 26: Jeb Bruneau, Paul Pratt, John Gallagher, Eric Foglesong and Dawn Ward

—Wednesday, Feb. 27: Larry Murray and Roy Burns

—Thursday, Feb. 28: Alan Miller

—Friday, March 1: Former U.S. Sen. John Breaux, Millard Mule, Michael Mule, Cindy Bishop, Rick Cantu and John Gavin Harp

—Saturday, March 2: Former Rep. Henry Burns and Fred Mulhearn

—Sunday, March 3: Dhu Thompson

—Monday, March 4: Former Rep. Wayne Waddell, Russell Mosely, James Ryder and Jay Chevalier


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Copyright © 2019

Jeremy Alford/Louisiana Political Review

All rights reserved.

Tuesday Tracker

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