“It has never been the role of the Federal Government to tell local school boards and local communities how to run schools.”
Bobby Jindal is a tremendous speaker and seemed on top of his game, easily keeping the crowd’s attention. His message is easy to follow and its abundance of common sense clearly differentiates from the present administration. After Bobby’s prepared statement, the meeting was opened to questions from the crowd and the expected questions on education, jobs, healthcare, Katrina/Rita recovery, and coastal erosion were investigated. Bobby smoothly transitioned between the topics, but very effectively linked all of these issues into a common theme, helping Louisiana establish common sense policy to move the State into the future, something very lacking today.
When Mayor Skains confirmed Bobby’s attendance to the Downsville Community Meeting, we were generously allocated an hour and half in his extremely busy schedule. We would have been thrilled with much less. And speaking of schedules, you simply have to be amazed at the pace Bobby maintains. I remember talking with Stephen Waguespack, Campaign Policy Manager, about Bobby’s work schedule. Stephen told me that just planning his schedule was enough to make him tired, and then Bobby actually goes out and makes it happen. In just the week of this meeting, Bobby Jindal, was in Washington D.C, then Monroe, down to Lake Charles, back up to Monroe, further to the Bastrop region, over to Downsville, on to Farmerville, and after a very long day, jumped into a small rental for a long drive to Metairie. If for no other reason, you simply have to commend such efforts.
As for our allocation, Bobby was ten minutes early, and left five minutes late. He had two more meetings in Farmerville before his featured presentation at the Farm Bureau Members Meeting. After that meeting, I told Bobby that I did not envy his long drive home. Bobby quickly made light of his upcoming travels, explaining that his wife was doing a lot more than him, taking care of their three children. One can easily see that Bobby Jindal’s priorities are well positioned.
At the Congressional Level
It has probably been the ultimate culture shock for Washington, D.C. to be exposed to so much common sense with Bobby Jindal being elected to Congress. Bobby authored a bill, Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act, which was signed into law and designed to insure that never again would law-abiding citizens be left unprotected in the face of grave danger by preventing the illegal confiscation of firearms from honest citizens trying to protect their families and their home. For the first time in American history, thousands of firearms were confiscated from honest, law abiding New Orleans area residents while looters and other criminals were running rampant in the streets in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Misguided law enforcement denied honest citizens their Constitutional rights to bear arms during their greatest need to defend themselves. Bobby put a stop to that.
“A one-size fits all approach from Washington is the wrong way to approach education.”
Along with insuring Constitutional Rights, Bobby is fighting to eliminate ridiculous bureaucratic red tape in times of disaster. There was never a better model of what not to do, than the (ongoing) uncoordinated bumbling of Katrina recovery in Louisiana. In an attempt to illustrate the Louisiana debacle, Bobby pointed out one case of lunacy. Bobby described how hundreds of volunteers with boats were turned away because they did not have proper credentials to participate in the rescue. :If I am out there drowning, I don’t care if they stole the boat!”, said Jindal. With Bobby Jindal as Governor, that red tape will not be a problem if another “Katrina” comes ashore.
Knowing full well the importance of agriculture in Louisiana, Bobby expressed in no uncertain terms that the upcoming Farm Bill will be the most important bill to come up in Congress this year. “Farming is part of our culture, and a part of our future. Agriculture affects ALL jobs in Louisiana”, says Jindal, and now that the U.S. has become an importer of food, “agriculture is a matter of National Security” and supports the Farm Bill which includes extending the milk, loan, and disaster relief programs.
Few issues have touched the lives of all Louisiana residents as has insurance. Bobby introduced a bill that was so common sense that one has got to not only wonder how insurance companies were ever given this exemption in the first place, but also wonder why it has taken so long to correct such an obvious mistake. Fifty years ago Congress voted to allow insurance companies to collude with each other to fix prices on insurance premiums in the face of disasters. Bobby is working to put a stop to that, too. Along with controlling the greed and manipulation of insurance companies, Bobby has joined forces with other lawmakers to expand the Federal flood insurance program to include wind damage. “It will allow for both so you won’t have to argue with your adjuster whether the damage was caused by wind or water.” However, the powerful insurance industry is resisting those efforts out of fear of lost revenue.
On the very sensitive issue of abortion, Bobby’s personal convictions are not debatable; he is a Christian that believes ALL life is precious and a Gift. “I am Pro-Life, period. If it is a life, it’s a life, that’s my belief”. At conception? “Yes, yes, and I also believe that we need to do all we can to reduce abortions. I want to see us in a culture that accepts EVERY life.”
“Louisiana now has more people moving out of the State than is moving into the State. We have jobs we cannot fill as our children are moving out of the State.”
Bobby understands that in reality, the Federal Government will make the final decision on abortion, and while in Congress has voted against such barbarism as “partial-birth abortion” and voted for stronger parental notification. These are just more examples of morally guided, common sense.
Also of great importance to Louisiana were the successful efforts to acquire Louisiana’s fair share of offshore oil and gas royalties. States like Massachusetts have argued that Louisiana would simply waste that money. Bobby said maybe we should stop selling them our gas for a month and see how they felt then. There would be a lot of Louisiana Conservatives that would like to close that valve just to see a bunch of ungrateful northerners slip toward panic. Of course, Bobby helped convince those ungrateful in Congress to realize, that royalties on Louisiana gas and oil, belong to Louisiana.
Bobby said, “What Washington, DC needs is a lot more common sense.” That is certainly true, but right now, Louisiana has a more urgent need for the common sense of Bobby Jindal as Governor.
THE LOUISIANA MESSAGE: The three most important issues affecting Louisiana are education, jobs, and healthcare.
Bobby Jindal ordered a study on Louisiana schools while he was the head of the university system. This study shows that the very best way to improve the educational system in Louisiana is to put the very best teacher you can in the classroom. The best first step to getting the best teachers into the Louisiana classroom is to raise teacher salaries.
For far too long we have been shipping our best and brightest to other states willing to provide a higher quality of life to their teachers. However, a higher quality of life is made of more than just higher salaries.
The #1 reason teachers are leaving Louisiana is because Louisiana is the 2d WORST in discipline. Like so much of Bobby Jindal’s reasoning, common sense should tell you that if a teacher does not feel safe in the classroom and sufficient alternative schools are not available, money won’t be the only reason that teacher moves to a better school district.
Combining the salary and discipline woes of Louisiana and pledging changes, Bobby emphasized that even though our schools buildings are old and desperately need to be repaired or replaced, it simply cannot be overlooked that a building does not teach. The very best facilities will not help our problems if we do not have good teachers to fill those classrooms.