LC: “You’re getting ready to run for re-election this year, why should the people of Louisiana re-elect you?”
JD: “I’ve been in office in office since November of 2006, which is a relatively a short period of time. By the time the election rolls around it will be almost one year. It’ll be a couple of months short, a month or so, short of a year. During the time that I have been in office I tried to be very aggressive and innovative in dealing with all aspects of my office. I’ll give you some examples, we’ve saved several hundred thousands of dollars of taxpayers money by consolidating some positions that existed in not filling them, so that there are a number of relatively high paying positions that could have been filled in my administration that I have chosen not to fill because I consolidated some positions to try and save some money.
“We have eliminated admission fees at all museums that are under my jurisdiction. In addition to elections, I oversee operations of fourteen different museums. We eliminated admission fees because I think people pay tax dollars in Louisiana to support these museums. I want to encourage Louisianians and visitors to our state to visit those museums and one way to do that is to make them free. Since we’ve done that, in fact, I just got some information this week, the attendance has spiked at three museums where we discontinued admission fees, which I was delighted to see. That tells me that, now that the museums are free more people are taking advantage of the opportunity to view those treasures that are in the museums and I think that has been a very positive step.
“I have been very aggressive in the legislature this year in trying to pass some laws that I thought were appropriate, including adding an extra day of early voting, so that this fall you will be able to vote early on two Saturdays as well as the Monday through Friday in between. I think early voting is the trend of the future, I think this gives people an opportunity to participate in the process when they want to, rather then simply wait until election day. I also very involved in securing a pay raise for voting commissioners, long overdue, it’s been almost fifteen years since we provided an increase in pay for voting commissioners and that will take effect immediately. I hope that’s going to help us recruit more people to be election day poll commissioners. We have a dramatic shortage in this state and I wanted to make it one of my primary missions to obtain a pay raise for those people to try to make it appropriate the number of people we have working the polls and we were successful in accomplishing that.
Subscribe to Louisiana Conservative Dot Com
“We’ve made a number of other minor changes in the legislature to the overall election process that I think are appropriate, that I think are good. I’ve tried to be a champion for Louisiana history and Louisiana culture in this role because I am the keeper of the archives, and the keeper of the great seal of the State of Louisiana and the overseer of a number of these museums. I think it’s my role to be a champion of Louisiana history and culture that’s something I’m very interested in so I’m using this opportunity that I have to speak all over the state about our museum system and about Louisiana history. I have a real interest in that and I bring that quality to the job, I think it’s an appropriate qualification for being the Secretary of State.
“I’ve also been very aggressive in trying to raise public awareness of the litter problem in Louisiana. That’s not part of my job description but I believe it important to promote awareness of this problem and encourage people to pick up litter and not trash the state.
“We’ve also created two new websites that link to our Secretary of State website www.Geauxvote.com and soon to be unveiled Geauxbiz.com, the latter being a portal for new businesses in Louisiana to access information about government, about permits, about taxes, and I’m real excited about that. I’ve hired Steve Windum, who used to be with the Department of Economic Development, to coordinate this new program that’s a revision of an older program called the “First Stop Shop” that I want to take to another level in this department. I’ve been very involved in a lot of different areas of responsibility in this office and I take a lot of pride in the fact that the people have entrusted this office to me and hope they’ll see fit to elect me to the full four year term.”
LC: “Louisiana’s very rich in history, I’ve really learned to enjoy Louisiana’s history in the time that I’ve been here. What is your favorite part of Louisiana’s history?”
JD: “Well, from a historical standpoint, there are a lot of different aspects of it that interests me. I think going back to the origin of our state, the Louisiana Purchase itself is a fascinating story, how that happened, and why it happened. It is really the lynchpins of Louisiana being where it is and relative to other states in the nation and why it is so significant, geographically and otherwise, and what happened when the purchase took place.
“I’m also extremely interested in 20th century Louisiana politics and the influence that the Long family has had throughout Louisiana politics and how the reign of Huey Long was so profound in effecting Louisiana, for the good and the bad. It was certainly a heavy dose of both during his administration, the time he was in control. I find that to be a very fascinating look into why Louisiana is the way it is.
“From an overall standpoint and I do a presentation called “Why Louisiana Ain’t Mississippi”, it’s a two and half hour powerpoint explanation of Louisiana’s culture, demography, history, literature and what have you, a kind of fun, fast capsule look at Louisiana. One of the things I talk about in that presentation is that we stand alone in all the fifty states because of our unique demographic mix. We have the tremendous European culture in Louisiana that does not exist in the other Southern states or, any other state for that matter, that prevents us from being a very routine state of White Anglos Saxon Protestants and African Americans. We got a whole other dimension French, Spanish, Creole, Italian, German and every other European ethnic group that is in the gumbo that is Louisiana, and that sets us apart. That’s something that really fascinates me.”LC: “Secretary Dardenne, I want to thank you for your time and I want to wish you good luck on your election.”
JD: “Thank you Jeff.”