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August 21, 2018 — Issue No. 155

By Jeremy Alford (JJA@LaPolitics.com), Sarah Gamard (Sarah@LaPolitics.com)

& Mitch Rabalais (Mitch@LaPolitics.com)

YOU’VE BEEN GRADED

LABI releases 20th scorecard

Much more than fiscal cliff was reviewed

Marketing campaign linked to con-con push

It’s that time of year again — when kids are back in school, the Tigers are on the field and legislators get their report cards.

Well, it’s actually a scorecard — The Scorecard — and it’s making its 20th appearance in Capitoland thanks to the team over at the Louisiana Association of Business of Industry... Some lawmakers may not offer thanks, though, after seeing their scores.

Twenty-seven bills from this year’s Session-Palooza were used by LABI to calculate the 2019 scores and cumulative averages of our representatives and senators. (Out of more than 2,500 bills and resolutions that were filled during four legislative sessions.)

Prez Stephen Waguespack said some observers may find the prioritization of bills “surprising,” but only because the shadow of the fiscal cliff can still be seen. “We were promoting a broader pro-growth agenda,” he said, “and remain focused on long-term solution to our problems rather than short-term Band-Aids.”

After publishing 19 scorecards spanning just part of LABI’s long history, the team behind the business lobby approached this 20th edition determined to make it different. Money and technology were apparently two key elements, as both are being leveraged.

The performances posted by lawmakers in The Scorecard will be shared with voters, on the district level, through a digital campaign that launches today. (Check out this video.)

In conjunction with the The Scorecard rollout, there’s also an added emphasis on policy outreach by LABI, particularly for structural reforms. The issue of another constitutional convention is likewise in the talking points and related messaging could become more noticeable in the coming months.

For now, the scores take centerstage. It was a season of tough and sticky votes. Louisiana Checkbook, pension costs, Medicaid spending, ride-sharing and insurance rates are just a sampling of the issues LABI worked on in 2018, which Waguespack described as a “year filled with contention and frustration.”

So who had perfect scores?

— Pulling from the 39-member Senate and the 105-member House, LABI identified 24 “most valuable players” who had 100 percent “pro-business” voting records this year.

Who were they?

— The Senate MVPs include Conrad Appel, Jack Donahue, Sharon Hewitt, Beth Mizell, Barrow Peacock, Mike Walsworth and Bodi White.

— The House MVPs are Mark Abraham, Beryl Amedée, Thomas Carmody, Pat Connick, Phillip DeVillier, Rick Edmonds, Julie Emerson, Raymond Garofalo, Dodie Horton, Nancy Landry, Tanner Magee, Jack McFarland, Blake Miguez, Scott Simon, John Stefanski, Kirk Talbot and Polly Thomas.

What about the lowest score in the Senate?

— That was a 10 percent showing by Sen. Karen Carter Peterson.

What about the lowest score in the House? And the “all-star” and “honorable mention” recipients?

— Want those answers? Read The Scorecard.


A Message From Harris, DeVille & Associates

Louisiana’s Chemical Industry Provides Opportunities

The chemical industry, one of the largest employers in Louisiana, provides thousands of high-paying, quality jobs for citizens across the state. Lizz Taylor, a plant operator and HDA client BASF in Geismar, has seen first-hand how the industry can help provide for workers and their families.

As a single mother of four, Lizz mentors to students and her children on the opportunities that are possible in the industry. Check out the video here to hear her story.


ALFORD’S OPINION COLUMN

Dismissing Congressional Clout Concerns

Not too long ago, at least in reporter years, I was utilizing the space in this weekly column with some regularity to write about the loss of influence and clout in Louisiana's congressional delegation. In doing so, I was probably repeating rather than reporting from Baton Rouge's echo chamber. Cooler heads knew there was an uncomplicated explanation, supported by recent history, that I had largely ignored — and that was the cyclical nature of political trends.

As I reflected on this theme over the weekend, it occurred to me that the storyline was a staple for political opinion writers in the Bayou State from 2003 to 2014. Former U.S. Sen. John Breaux exited elected life first, followed by Congressman Billy Tauzin, which prompted worry about the lack of locals in key leadership and committee positions. 

The defeat of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu years later, in concert with turnover in the House, provoked similar outcries. Looking further back, similar predictions peppered the late 1990s, when longtime U.S. Sen. J. Bennett Johnston retired. Then there was Congressman Bob Livingston, the speaker-to-be who resigned after encountering the kind of sex scandal that future politicians would eventually learn to manage and live through. 

With the right kind of ears, you can still hear the wailing of uncertainty…

Who could possibly step up to replace the resources and connections that Johnston and Livingston possessed? 

Who will ever have the pull, presence or pork of giants like Breaux and Tauzin? 

The answers to these questions are as uncomplicated as they were years ago. Your current congressional delegation, the one up for re-election this fall in Louisiana, has filled those voids while exceeding expectations.

Most notably, Congressman Steve Scalise of Jefferson Parish, as majority whip, holds the third highest gig in the House. Congressman Cedric Richmond of Orleans Parish is also chairman of the Black Caucus. Those distinctions alone are enough to warrant placements in history books and thanks from Louisiana citizens who care about political stroke.

But the pair could even see a role reversal of sorts next term, depending on the outcome of this fall’s congressional races around the country. If Democrats reclaim the House, Richmond could be a potential dark-horse candidate for House speaker. POLITICO reported recently that Richmond is among the top five Black Caucus members being unofficially considered as an alternative to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Now, if Republicans can get their act together and maintain a majority next term, then it’s Scalise who should be promoted to the rank of speaker. At least that was the suggestion from a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll of GOP voters that was released last week. The survey made waves in Potomacland, where conservative congressmen are sorta, kinda decided on who should replace Speaker Paul Ryan, depending on the timing of the internal election, the results from the midterm elections and a variety of other factors that point to indecision and hesitation.

According to the poll, 9 percent of the Republican voters surveyed preferred Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who at times seems to have the establishment blessing. Scalise, who has been supportive of McCarthy and respectful of the Hill’s pecking order, doubled that figure for an 18 percent showing in the poll. Several of Scalise’s allies have said that the whip would consider running if McCarthy could not garner enough support in preliminary vote counts.

Elsewhere in your delegation, Congressman Mike Johnson of Bossier Parish is reminding some of a younger Scalise by running for the chairmanship of the House Republican Study Committee. Scalise held the same title at one time and used it to assist other members of Congress in their re-election efforts, which he in turn leveraged for a more traditional leadership job. 

In the upper chamber, junior Sen. John Kennedy has become a media darling on the Judiciary Committee, and he’s the envy of his colleagues with a seat on the budget-writing Appropriations Committee. Senior Sen. Bill Cassidy, as a physician, continues to feel the national spotlight on health care issues, but his posts on the energy and finance committees have paid dividends in Louisiana.

As for the lower chamber, Congressman Ralph Abraham, who represents portions of northeast and central Louisiana, is the chairman of an oversight subcommittee on science, space and technology. He's also a notable voice on the agriculture committee and landed a seat this year at the farm bill’s final negotiating table. Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves, meanwhile, has a distinct policy niche on water-related issues, which is as invaluable to Louisiana as his assignments to the natural resources and transportation committees. In fact, Graves is the only federal official from the Bayou State with a seat on a transportation-related panel. Aside from his quasi-celebrity profile, Acadiana Congressman Clay Higgins also gives the state a voice on matters related to homeland security and veterans' affairs.

So has Louisiana suffered a loss of clout? Did we ever recover from the exits of Johnston, Livingston, Breaux, Tauzin, Landrieu and all of the other bayou-to-Beltway names of yesteryear?

There’s no doubt that their talents could be useful. But I think we’ll be fine. (For now.)


RABALAIS’ POLITICAL HISTORY

When Time Is On Your Side

Uncle Harry’s 32-year streak & the longevity of statewide elected service

Before term limits started sending politicians home, some folks viewed elected office in Louisiana as a lifetime ticket to security. That was particularly true at the turn of the century, as in 1900, not 2000. If you did a good job, the voters — your people — would keep you in the luxurious lap of governance.

That’s not the case with the Bayou State’s big elected jobs these days. Governors can only serve two consecutive terms, thanks to “Big John” McKeithen, who created the second term before becoming the first governor to reap its benefits. And state legislators are permitted just three consecutive terms, courtesy of David Vitter, the former state rep who graduated to the U.S. Senate.

To find a lifetime gig now, candidates either run local or dip into Louisiana's pool of other statewide elected offices. With no terms restricting their terms, the positions that offer true legacy-building possibilities are lieutenant governor; secretary of state; treasurer; attorney general; commissioner of agriculture and forestry; and commissioner of insurance.

The gold standard — no, not that “gold standard” — for elongating the duration of these offices belongs to Harry D. Wilson. Interestingly enough, he was the father of famed Cajun personality Justin Wilson, who was the focus of his own Tracker history segment recently. (See “The Consultant Who Could ‘Garontee’ A Win” 08.07.18) 

Known to voters as “Mister Harry” or “Uncle Harry,” the elder Wilson was elected as agriculture commissioner in 1916 and served 32 years before dying in office at the age of 78. While a heck of a run on its own, an identical 32 years was served by late Secretary of State Wade O. Martin. (With a span of service stretching from the Jones Administration to the EWE Administration, Martin’s story will be highlighted in an upcoming Tracker issue.)

Uncle Harry “helped develop the seed laboratory and pushed for an increase in entomological work within the department” and “created an agricultural museum in the basement of the Capitol with a colorful display of Louisiana’s diverse agriculture industry and touted Louisiana products as ‘the finest anywhere,’” according to the agriculture department’s Market Bulletin, a publication that Wilson created.

Not to be outsized by what the future held for his talented son, Uncle Harry had already made a name for himself by the time he became a three-decade commissioner. He stood for Tangipahoa Parish for two terms in the state House of Representatives, beginning in 1900. While in the lower chamber, he also became a local legend by leading the charge for the creation of the town of Independence — with the help of then-Gov. William Wright Heard.

Originally elected as an independent, he soon became aligned with the populist faction of the Louisiana Democratic Party. In Huey Long, author T. Harry Williams acknowledges that Uncle Harry was largely indifferent to the Kingfish and his antics, preferring to manage his department and stay out of the governor’s way. Nonetheless, his name would be on the Long tickets for the remainder of his career.

In the end, the only label that carried weight with Uncle Harry was that of an Independence native. Home is what mattered most, which was evidenced by his parting words. According to Market Bulletin, Uncle Harry left us following a seven-day coma. As he lay dying in a Baton Rouge hospital, Uncle Harry momentarily regained consciousness and made a final request of a nearby nurse.

“Turn me toward Tangipahoa.”


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WHAT YOU MISSED IN LaPOLITICS WEEKLY

Here are the headlines subscribers to LaPolitics Weekly received in the issue that was published five days ago:

— Our Special Mayoral Edition! (Go local or go home.)

— Slightly more incumbent mayors than usual vacating posts

— 15 races to watch, including two you should watch closely

— Ex-felons target municipal CEO elections to test Supreme Court ruling

— Some of the hottest politics are on the Red River

— Checking in with LMA

— State rep making a strong run in Alex

— The Mitch Landrieu Case Study

— Plus other mayoral goodness

— Beltway twists & turns in speaker’s race, so watch the whip (and don’t blink)

— President John Alario & Speaker Taylor Barras talk recent tax collections

— Last-minute pols sneak into Senate District 26

— An update on the state’s fight against human trafficking

— SOS news & the interests of special interests in our “Field Notes!” segment

— The Double G Congressman leads off our “They Said It!” feature

— Plus more! (But not too much more...)

For 25 years LaPolitics Weekly has been Louisiana's premier trade publication for elected officials, lobbyists, campaign professionals, journalists and other politicos.

Become a part of this elite community by subscribing today!


A Message From Harris, DeVille & Associates

Chlorine Critical To Louisiana’s Economy

HDA client Solutions Through Science (STS) is a partnership of the chlorine and chlor-alkali producers and users in Louisiana. Louisiana’s chlorine manufacturers are critical to the state’s economy. Louisiana produces 35 to 40 percent of the nation’s annual chlorine capacity and the chlorine chemistry industry employs 15,544 people, making up 10.8 percent of the manufacturing jobs in the state.

Every year, the industry generates $1.5 billion in earnings and for every chlorine chemistry industry job in Louisiana, a total of 2.9 jobs are created in other parts of the state’s economy. In total, more than 61,000 jobs in Louisiana are supported by the chlorine chemistry industry, and combined these economic impacts generate $4 billion in earnings and $504 million in state and local taxes.

Chlorine and the products made from chlorine are vital to our lives, our state and our economy. Chlorine is used to make disinfectants, plastics, crop protection chemicals, pharmaceuticals, refrigerants, paints, and hundreds more. To learn more about chlorine, go to www.elementofsurprise.org and click on the Element of Surprise video at the bottom of the page.

__________________________________________________________________

POLITICAL CHATTER

Meg Casper, everyone's favorite secretary of state communications pro, has a new gig over at the Board of Regents. The turf isn't new for Casper, who previously worked for the Regents after a career in broadcast news.

— Gov. John Bel Edwards is quoted in… Sports Illustrated? The publication profiled DeVonta Smith, an athlete from Amite. Here’s the story.

— TOMORROW: The Secondhand Smoke Study Committee meets at 10 a.m. in House Committee Room 5.

— THURSDAY: The Pet Overpopulation Advisory Council meets at 11:30 a.m. in Senate Committee Room E.

— New York Magazine reporter Yashar Ali (@yashar): “On CNN, @SenJohnKennedy (U.S. Sen. John Kennedy) says that if (former CIA director John Brennan) made some of his past statements about Trump in an airport instead of on TV, that Brennan would be arrested or put in a straight jacket. He’s not clarified what the statements in question are.”

— Sen. Conrad Appel (@Conrad Appel), tweeting in response to news that Gov. John Bel Edwards pardoned former Tensas Parish Sheriff Jeff Britt and appointed him to the Used Motor Vehicle Commission Board: “A pardon is one thing, it may have been appropriate. But why would our governor honor an admitted felon who had violated the public's faith in him once with a position of trust, one that can affect so many citizens? What kind of message does this send about integrity?”

— The AP’s Melinda Deslatte (@MelindaDeslatte): “Winner of Louisiana voting machine contract proposed replacement work that was tens of millions of dollars cheaper than other two vendors”

— The Louisiana Democratic Party’s Central Committee has endorsed Reneé Fontenot Free for secretary of state.

— Speaking of, former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu has endorsed New Orleans City Councilmember Jared Brossett for civil district court clerk for the Nov. 6 elections.

Elizabeth Crisp (@elizabethcrisp): “Trump is plotting an aggressive campaign schedule ahead of midterms (via Bloomberg). Not sure what this means for his invitation to visit Louisiana State Penn at Angola….”

— The Pelican Institute via The Advocate: “U.S. Sen. John Kennedy's criminal justice reform critique to Trump filled with errors”

Watchdog.org: “One year after prison reform, new law's effectiveness is debated”

— WAFB’s Matt Houston: “LSU researchers estimate the number of uninsured Louisianans has been cut in half since Governor John Bel Edwards issued an executive order to expand Medicaid.”

— Public Policy Research Lab Director Mike Henderson (@Henders20Mike): “Dramatic decline in uninsured rate getting most attention, but also interesting that Medicaid beneficiaries report similar levels of access to care as those w coverage through employer.”

— Gov. Edwards on Twitter: “Just look at how our uninsured rate has fallen. We are bringing OUR federal tax dollars back to LA to save lives and improve health outcomes for the working poor people of our state. In the process, we're saving money and creating jobs.” Here’s the report.

— Attorney General Jeff Landry will be on “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins this afternoon at 4:20 p.m. Listen here.

— The AG on blocking Bank of America and Citibank from a $600 million state deal over gun rights: “It's simple: If these big corporations want to become the social police and restrict our citizens’ ability to legally purchase firearms, then we don’t want them to represent the state of Louisiana.” He talked about the reaction he got from residents on Fox & Friends: “I got a lot of high fives.”

— U.S. Sen. Kennedy on Citibank and Bank of America, via Twitter: “We don’t need red banks and blue banks. We need safe banks. Rather than impose their political agenda on law abiding citizens, these Wall Street banks ought to remember how taxpayers, Republicans, and Democrats, spent billions to bail them out after the 2008 financial crisis.”

— The Southern Republican Leadership Conference is Jan. 18-19 at the Pontchartrain Convention Center in New Orleans. Invited keynote speakers include RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel and co-chair Bob Paduchik; “Let Trump, Be Trump” co-authors Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie; House Majority Whip Steve Scalise; Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser; Attorney General Jeff Landry; and National Federation of Republican Women President Jody Rushton.

— Also invited: President Donald J. Trump and his family; Vice President Mike Pence; U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry; U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz; National Security Advisor John Bolton; National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre and spokesperson Dana Loesch; and political talk show hosts and commentators Mark Levin, Eric Bolling, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. Register here or check out the flyer for more info.

— Congressman Ralph Abraham (@RepAbraham) on Iraq’s purchase of 15,000 metric tons of rice from the U.S. (on top of another 15,000 metric tons from Uruguay): “I was proud to be an advocate for this deal because any time we can sell our commodities - especially ones that #Louisiana produces a lot of - in huge deals like these, it's a good day.” Greg Hilburn has the story for The News-Star.

— Sen. Gerald Boudreaux; Reps. Julie Emerson, Terry Landry, Blake Miguez and Vince Pierre; the Unanimous Jury Coalition; the Louisiana Republican Judiciary PAC; the Pelican Institute; and Louisiana for Prison Alternatives are among the hosts for the “Educational & Social Event in support of the Unanimous Jury Constitutional Amendment” at City Club at River Ranch in Lafayette tomorrow (Aug. 22) at 5 p.m.

— The Republican Women of Bossier, Women’s Republican Club of Shreveport, Caddo Parish Republican Party and Bossier Parish Republican Executive Committee are putting on a secretary of state candidate panel with Turkey Creek Mayor Heather Cloud, former Sen. A.G. Crowe, Rep. Rick Edmonds and Rep. Julie Stokes at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 23 at Shane’s Seafood in Bossier City.

— Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (@LOSFA): “Meeting today with Rep. @WaltLeger (Walt Leger), Commissioner @KimHunterReed (Kim Hunter Reed), Dr. Sujuan Boutte, Executive Director, LOSFA, Children’s Savings Account (CSA) Taskforce, & @prosperitynow to discuss why CSAs are important & provide an overview of CSA in the national landscape”

— Plaquemines Parish Councilman Irvin Juneau has announced his re-election bid.

— Mr. and Mrs. Tony Alford are holding a reception on Aug. 30 at 6 p.m. in Houma for Michael “Big Mike” Fési, Sr.’s Senate District 20 campaign. DETAILS


TRACKER EXCLUSIVE ENGAGEMENT ANNOUNCEMENT

Mr. and Mrs. Michael Raymond O’Donnell of Fort Worth, Texas are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter Camille Nicole Ivy-O'Donnell to Edward Michael Bentin, son of Ms. Cristina Raquel Bentin of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  

The bride-elect is the granddaughter of Mrs. Marie O’Donnell and the late Mr. Raymond O’Donnell of Easton, Maryland, the late Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Ivy of Mendoza, Argentina and the late Mr. Alberto Correa of Mendoza, Argentina. Ms. Ivy-O'Donnell is a 2013 graduate of Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, and a 2015 graduate of the Louisiana State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in both Public Relations and Political Science and received a Master of Mass Communication, respectively. She is a member of the Baton Rouge Junior League and the Prancing Babycakes.

The groom-elect is the grandson of the late Mr. and Mrs. Edward Bentin of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Mr. Bentin is a 2011 graduate of Louisiana State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.


Political tidbit? Let us know about it at news@LaPolitics.com!

Have a fundraiser or event? Send it to news@LaPolitics.com!

Career move? Political appointment? Send word to news@LaPolitics.com!


#HBD TRACKERS!

— Tuesday 08/21: Terrebone Parish Councilwoman Arlanda Williams, Bryan Houston, Rob Landry, Nicholas Bouterie, Maris LeBlanc and Chelsea Bonnecaze

— Wednesday 08/22: Josh Rounds, Preston Gill, Richard Thompson, Stephanie Cargile, Ellen Kennon, Jason Hebert and former Sen. Troy Brown

— Thursday 08/23: Public Service Commissioner Lambert C. Boissiere III, James Baehr, Frank McMains, Antoine Pierce, Danielle Nikki Brown and Rene Phillips Greer

— Friday 08/24: Congressman Clay Higgins, Rep. Rob Shadoin, Dawn Maisel Cole, Lauren Thibodeaux Emert, Megan Bel Miller, Tia Russell and Brandon DeCuir

— Saturday 08/25: Sen. Page Cortez, Todd Ragusa and Greg Buisson

— Sunday 08/26: Former Gov. Earl K. Long, Fred Childers, Dominick Cross, Melinda Leigh Long and Quint Forgey

— Monday 08/27: Sen. Gary Smith, Rebekah Bowlin Durham, Troy McCullen, Jennifer Aycock Motlow and Starchild Sarah Gamard

— WHO WE MISSED: Former Attorney General Richard Ieyoub (Aug. 11)


WEDDINGS & ANNIVERSARIES

Randy Hayden and his wife, Mona, celebrated 40 years of marriage this weekend! (Aug. 19)


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 © 2018

Jeremy Alford/Louisiana Political Review

All rights reserved.

Tuesday Tracker

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