Wednesday, 31 August 2011 18:43

Louisiana Politics: Elections, Obama, Jobs; Shreveport Elections, Tidbits

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LouisianaLatest in Louisiana Politics involving Burrell, Obama, Jobs and Transportation, Shreveport Elections, Tidbits and so much more..

 From Fax-Net

Burrell gets an opponent
    District 2 state Rep.  Roy Burrell will not get a free ride to a third and final term in the Louisiana House of Representatives.
    Raymond Hicks, a local educator and community leader, tells the Fax-Net he will challenge Burrell in the majority-black district.      Hicks said he began to think seriously about running after several residents within the district expressed serious concerns about changes that need to be brought to the area.
    “Higher education, health care, state spending and cutbacks are concerns that keep coming up throughout District 2,” Hicks said.  He added, “We need representation in Baton Rouge that will make sure our voices are heard on these and other important issues that affect our qualify of life in north Louisiana.”
    Hicks’ campaign can be contacted at 820-4661.

Another judicial candidate
    Another candidate has surfaced for the vacancy on the Shreveport City Court created by the death of Judge Randy Collins, bringing to five the number of attorneys seeking the position.  The vacancy is in Division D, and the special election is scheduled for October 22.
    The new entry into the race is Harvetta Strozier Colvin, who has served on the court, by appointment, in the interim position of Judge Pro Tempore.  She is currently employed as an assistant attorney general in the Louisiana Department of Justice litigation division.
    Colvin joins four other announced candidates for the judgeship.  They are Mary Louise Jackson, Terrell Myles, Sheva Sims, and Shante Wells.
    There are 52,399 registered voters in Judicial Division D.  Of that total, 7,514 or 14% are white, 43,778  or 83% are black, and 1,607 or 3% are other races.  By party affiliation, 37,858 or 72% are Democrats, 4,267  or  8%  are  Republicans,  and  10,273 or 20%  are No Party.

Playing political games?
    Are Mayor Cedric Glover and a majority of the Shreveport City Council trying to pull the wool over the eyes of taxpayers?  Many residents think so.
    At Glover’s urging, the council recently passed a 3% increase in the franchise fee the city charges SWEPCO for use of its rights-of-way.  That brought the total franchise fee to 5%, which, of course, SWEPCO will pass on to its customers.
    The council had passed legislation dedicating the additional revenue from the 3% increase to streets.  The original 2% goes into the general fund.
    But Glover vetoed that legislation, and four members of the council sustained his veto.  They were Rose Wilson McCulloch (D), Jeff Everson (D), Joe Shyne (D), and Sam Jenkins (D).  
    Voting to deny the veto were Oliver Jenkins (R) and Ron Webb (R).  Michael Corbin (R) was absent.
    The veto puts all of the revenue the city receives from the 5% franchise fee into the general fund.  That move has upset some taxpayers.
    They say they could live with the fee increase, which they view as a tax increase, in their electric bill if the funds were used for street repairs, but they are opposed to the money being put into the general fund where they believe the mayor can spend it as he sees fit.
    Council Chairman Oliver Jenkins tells the Fax-Net that new legislation has been introduced to put the 3% increase into streets.  That legislation will be considered at the next city council meeting.
    It will be interesting to see if a majority of the council will heed the concerns of the taxpayers or march to the tune of the mayor.  If you are concerned about this issue, contact your city council member.

Political tidbits
    *Candidate Forums – The Tuesday Morning Breakfast Group will host candidate forums in connection with the upcoming fall elections, according to Lloyd Thompson. Here is the schedule:
    On September 6 – Senate District 39 forum with incumbent state Sen. Lydia Jackson and her opponent, former state Sen. Greg Tarver.
    On September 13 – Senate District 37 forum with candidates state Rep. Jane Smith and businessman Barrow Peacock.  Both are Republicans.
    Also on September 13 – Senate District 38 forum with Republican state Sen. Sherri Cheek and her Republican opponent, Mansfield Alderman Troy Terrell.
    The forums will be held at 8 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Downtown and are free and open to the public.
    *Sims Reception and Fundraiser – Attorney Sheva Sims, candidate for the Division D vacancy on the Shreveport City Court will have a reception and fundraiser on Tuesday, September 6 at 5:30 p.m. at Ernest’s Orleans Restaurant, 1601 Spring Street, Shreveport.
    For more information, call 424-9424 or contact the Sheva Sims Campaign at 1960 Milan Street.
    *Barrow’s Barbeque – Republican Barrow Peacock, candidate for the state Senate District 37 seat, will officially kick off his campaign on Thursday, September 8.  
    The event will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Country Tavern, 823 Brook Hollow Drive, Shreveport.
    The invitation says that contributions are greatly appreciated and can be sent in advance to Barrow Peacock Campaign, P.O. Box 46, Shreveport 71161.
    *Vitter Endorses Tucker – Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter has endorsed Republican Speaker of the Louisiana House Jim Guy Tucker for Louisiana Secretary of State.  By doing so, he eschewed Republican Tom Schedler, the interim Secretary of  State who took over the position when Jay Dardenne was elected lieutenant governor.
    Also expected to run is Democrat Caroline Fayard of New Orleans.  Vitter’s endorsement of Tucker will likely keep other Republicans out of the race

The above was published by Lou Gehrig Burnett of Fax-Net

FAX-NET UPDATE is published weekly and delivered to your home or office by fax or e-mail. Subscription rates are: $50 for 12 months (50 issues) or $35 for six months. To subscribe, send check or money order to: Fax-Net Update, P.O. Box 44522, Shreveport, LA 71134. If you have questions, tips or want to do a guest column, call 861-0552 or send e-mail to [email protected]. Lou Gehrig Burnett, Publisher

Obama job Creation

President Obama has issued a directive requiring departments and agencies to identify high impact, job-creating infrastructure projects that can be expedited through outstanding review and permitting processes. 

At the President’s direction, the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Interior and Transportation will each select up to three high priority infrastructure projects that will create a significant number of jobs, have already identified necessary funding, and where the significant steps remaining before construction – including permit decisions, reviews, and consultations – are within the control and jurisdiction of the federal government and can be completed within 18 months.

 Obama’s White House Press Conference (from today dealing with his Jobs and Transportation Initiatives

 Note the corrected name of the employer of the individuals mentioned below:

 *Adam Vencill and Chris Negley, KCI Technologies

**Hector Sealey and Austin Anderson, Ft. Myer Construction Corporation

10:45 A.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  Please have a seat.  I want to say a few words about an issue that affects thousands of American workers, as well as millions of Americans who drive on our nation’s roads and bridges every single day.

At the end of September, if Congress doesn’t act, the transportation bill will expire.  This bill provides funding for highway construction, bridge repair, mass transit systems and other essential projects that keep our people and our commerce moving quickly and safely.  And for construction workers and their families across the country, it represents the difference between making ends meet or not making ends meet.

If we allow the transportation bill to expire, over 4,000 workers will be immediately furloughed without pay.  If it’s delayed for just 10 days, it will lose nearly $1 billion in highway funding -- that's money we can never get back.  And if it’s delayed even longer, almost one million workers could lose their jobs over the course of the next year.

That includes some of the folks behind me today.  We've got Adam Vencill and Chris Negley who are with the Federal Highway Administration.*  We've got Hector Sealey and Austin Anderson who work for the Fort Myers Construction Company.**  If we don’t extend this bill by the end of September, all of them will be out of a job -- just because of politics in Washington.

And that's just not acceptable.  That's inexcusable.  It's inexcusable to put more jobs at risk in an industry that’s already been one of the hardest hit over the last decade.  It’s inexcusable to cut off necessary investments at a time when so many of our highways are choked with congestion, when so many of our bridges are in need of repair, when so many commuters depend on reliable public transit, and when travel and shipping delays cost businesses billions of dollars every single year. 

Now, if this story sounds familiar, that’s because we’ve heard it before.  Just a few weeks ago, Congress refused to act on another bill, typically a routine bill, that would have ended up pulling thousands of aviation workers off the job and delaying necessary airport improvement projects across the country.  And when Congress finally got their act together, they only funded the FAA until September 16th.  That’s why, when they come back next month, not only do they need to pass the transportation bill but they've also got to pass a clean extension of that FAA bill  -- for longer this time -- and address back pay for the workers who were laid off during the last shutdown.

At a time when a lot of people in Washington are talking about creating jobs, it’s time to stop the political gamesmanship that can actually cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs.  This should not be a Democratic issue or a Republican issue.  This transportation bill has been renewed seven times in the last two years alone.  That’s why my Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood -- a Republican -- is with me today, along with David Chavern from the Chamber of Commerce, and Rich Trumka of the  AFL-CIO -- two organizations who don’t always see eye-to-eye on things -- because they agree on how important it is for our economy that Congress act now.

So I’m calling on Congress, as soon as they come back, to pass a clean extension of the surface transportation bill, along with a clean extension of the FAA bill, to give workers and communities across America the confidence that vital construction projects won’t come to a halt.

After that’s done, I’m also proposing that we reform the way transportation money is invested, to eliminate waste, to give states more control over the projects that are right for them, and to make sure that we’re getting better results for the money that we spend.  We need to stop funding projects based on whose district they’re in, and start funding them based on how much good they’re going to be doing for the American people.  No more bridges to nowhere.  No more projects that are simply funded because of somebody pulling strings.  And we need to do this all in a way that gets the private sector more involved.  That’s how we’re going to put construction workers back to work right now doing the work that America needs done -- not just to boost our economy this year, but for the next 20 years.

Finally, in keeping with a recommendation from my Jobs Council, today I'm directing certain federal agencies to identify high-priority infrastructure projects that can put people back to work.  And these projects -- these are projects that are already funded, and with some focused attention, we could expedite the permitting decisions and reviews necessary to get construction underway more quickly while still protecting safety, public health, and the environment.

Tomorrow in Dallas, my Jobs Council will meet with local jobs -- local business owners and other folks about what we’ve done so far to rebuild our infrastructure and what we can do to make sure that America is moving even faster in getting people back to work.

That’s what we’re going to need to do in the short term -- keep people on the job, keep vital projects moving forward, fund projects that are already underway in a smarter way.  Of course, if we’re honest, we also know that when it comes to our nation’s infrastructure -– our roads, our railways, mass transit, airports -– we shouldn’t just be playing patch-up or catch-up, we should be leading the world.  Ten years ago, our nation’s infrastructure was ranked 6th globally.  Today, it’s 23rd.  We invest half as much in our infrastructure as we did 50 years ago, with more than one and a half the number of people.  Everybody can see the consequences.

And that’s unacceptable for a nation that’s always dreamed big and built big -- from transcontinental railroads to the Interstate Highway System.  And it’s unacceptable when countries like China are building high-speed rail networks and gleaming new airports while more than a million construction workers who could be doing the same thing are unemployed right here in America.

And so when Congress is back next week, in addition to passing these clean extensions to prevent any halt on existing work, we’re going to have to have a serious conversation in this country about making real, lasting investments in our infrastructure -- from better ports to a smarter electric grid; from high-speed Internet to high-speed rail.  And at a time when interest rates are low and workers are unemployed, the best time to make those investments is right now -- not once another levee fails or another bridge falls.  Right now is when we need to be making these decisions.

Now is the time for Congress to extend the transportation bill, keep our workers on the job.  Now is the time to put our country before party and to give certainty to the people who are just trying to get by.  There is work to be done.  There are workers ready to do it.  And that's why I expect Congress to act immediately.

And to all the folks who are here on the stage, thank you for the outstanding work you’re doing in helping to maintain our nation’s infrastructure. 

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