Jim Brown is a Louisiana legislator, Secretary of State and Insurance Commissioner.
Grandparents visiting day took me to Portland, Maine this past weekend to spend time with my two oldest grandsons. The highlight of the trip was of course hanging out with the boys and attending their various camp activities. But second on my list was to partake and enjoy Maine seafood, particularly the bountiful supply of lobster. Now coming from the Bayou State with the best seafood in the nation, my standards are high. And with all due respect to the fine folks in Maine, I was disappointed.
Being a moderate democrat in Louisiana has become a real labor of love today, The Louisiana Democratic Party is becoming more and more irrelevant in the Bayou State. Party officials did itself a real disservice two years ago when it tried to wipe out the memory of the state’s two most important figures.
If ever there were any two individuals who should be regularly honored and commemorated in Louisiana history, there should be doubt that the two should be Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. And for many years, the Louisiana Democratic Party did honor both American heroes by hosting an annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner as a yearly fundraiser. Democrats held similar events across the country. And for good reason.
It’s getting close to redistricting time for legislators in Louisiana. By federal law, all election districts must be reapportioned every 10 years to reflect the latest census figures. But should legislators, who have a vested interest in how the redistricting lines are drawn, actually do the drawing?
Here’s what we learned from the first democratic presidential debate last week. Do not fraternize with those you disagree with and never refer to a fellow politician as son, boy or anything similar. It’s just not “politically correct.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden was roasted for talking about trying to find common ground with conservative southern senators when he served in the U.S. Senate. “At least there was some civility” Biden said about working with segregationists like former Mississippi Senator James Eastland. He should not have been so “civil” says a number of other democratic candidates.
I don’t know about you, but I sure am confused about all this current debate over gender equity, gay rights, and transgenders. I keep reading in the newspaper about LGBT. I had to look up the lettering to even know what the abbreviation means. Being “politically correct” has become an obsession with much of the country as well as right here at home in Louisiana.
I have a sad announcement to make. Politics is just no fun anymore in Louisiana.
Reams of books have been written about the colorful characters that ran the Bayou state throughout its history. And the average citizen got involved, attended rallies and actively supported their candidate of choice. Few states could match the intensity and enthusiasm that was a part of Louisiana campaigning. The state’s two favorite pastimes were LSU football and Politics.
Huey Long would have been right in the middle of the current presidential election if he were still alive. He began a legacy of a long list of Louisiana politicians who had national aspirations. Later governors John McKeithen, Edwin Edwards, Buddy Roemer and Bobby Jindal all fell by the wayside in the quest for national office.
Louisiana’s business voice, LABI, as well as the Louisiana Insurance Department each took a huge hit in the waning days of the recent legislative session. LABI, with the full support of Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon, pegged legislation to supposedly reduce insurance rates in the state as the most important proposed legislation of the session.
I hope everyone enjoyed their recent Memorial Day weekend. Many Louisianans were vacationing over the long holiday or enjoying a cookout with family and friends. Many stores held sales advertising for us to have a “Happy Memorial Day.” All well and good, but what about the real purpose of this special day?
Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise says he is still struggling over whether to forgive the man wo shot him two years ago. “I’ve never, internally, formally forgiven the shooter from the baseball shooting,” he said. “It’s something I’ve struggled with as a Catholic.”
It would be hard for many, including me, to forgive such a transgression. I’m still personally quite bitter over wrongs that happened to me some years back. So I understand the reluctance to forgive.