My Conversation with Bobby – The Experience of a Lifetime
“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.”
The first time I ever saw Bobby in the “flesh” I was standing out in front of the Downsville Community Center greeting Steve Johnson, UPSB, Bernice Mayor Joe Hicks, and Junction City Mayor Preston Rogers to the well-executed meeting with Bobby Jindal that was setup by Downsville Mayor Reggie Skains. Mayor Skains happens to be a personal friend of Congressman Jindal and actually confirmed the Congressman’s attendance to the meeting while working on another endeavor in Washington, D.C. Mayor Skains has been making great efforts working with the Federal Government to make Bryan Park in Downsville a complete success. I will be mentioning more on this at a later date.
The day before, I had been talking with Melissa Sellers, State Communications Director, Jindal for Governor Campaign, and polite as always, she asked me how I was and, at that time, I was a bit nervous about interviewing Congressman Jindal. Melissa told me not to worry, “Bobby is the easiest person in the world to talk with, and Bobby can talk on ANY subject for hours,and hours”. We both had a good laugh at her picking and she made me feel much more at ease. It had only been two days before when Melissa informed me that I had been granted an interview with Bobby Jindal. My first reaction was, “what have I done!”.I had never interviewed a political figure before and my admiration for Bobby Jindal only made my nerves worse. I realized, though, that I was much more nervous about messing up the interview than actually meeting Bobby Jindal.
When Bobby came walking up to the Downsville Community Center it was a bit of a surprise. We thought we might see a big SUV or Cadillac drive up and let him out, but from around a parked car, Bobby came walking through the parking lot, alone at first, but others walking up quickly recognized him and began to speak to him. Bobby’s assistant was busy parking the very modest midsize rental.
“What Washington, DC needs is a lot more common sense.”
I immediately walked up to Bobby. He reached out and gave me the kind of handshake that I appreciate, firm and with solid eye contact as he introduced himself to me. I returned in kind, and I was flattered that he recognized my name. My apprehensions disappeared immediately, and I thanked him for allowing me such an opportunity and he most graciously told me that he was looking forward to it. As gracious as it was, it was easy to see that he meant every word. At that point I introduced Congressman Jindal to Howard Allen, UPSB and the various people nearby, and from there the Congressman’s magnetism took over.
It was a great meeting in Downsville and Bobby delivered a well-received speech to a STANDING ROOM ONLY crowd, much to his delight. Even later at the Farm Bureau Members Annual Meeting in Farmerville, where Bobby was the featured speaker, Bobby remarked to Mike Walsworth, State Representative, District 15, how pleasantly surprised he was at such a large turnout in Downsville. Mike personally told me how impressed that he was, too, to hear that such a large crowd in such a small town turned out to see Bobby Jindal. I would have to also interject here that I was very impressed with Mike Walsworth. I believe Mike could work well with Governor Jindal as State Senator and I intend to explore that further. And, I would also like to commend Tommy Futch of Farm Bureau Insurance for putting on a really nice “spread”.
Given my inexperience, I can’t tell you how “normal” the interview was, but for me, I can say that I really enjoyed the experience and will never forget it. A very special “thank you” goes out to Jeff Blanco, the founder of Louisiana Conservative.com who convinced me to start writing for his political blog which led to this interview and, hopefully, more to come.
On the day of the interview, I was among the first to welcome Bobby Jindal into Union Parish, and that night, I was the last person to shake his hand and wish him well, before he drove home to be with his family. It was truly a lifetime experience.
The Downsville Meeting
“The #1 reason teachers are leaving Louisiana is because Louisiana is the 2d WORST in discipline.”
We had been working on some “Jindal Face-Time” for several weeks, but it was Mayor Reggie Skains of Downsville that cleaned up the bases with a solid homerun by having Bobby Jindal commit to attending the Downsville Community Meeting.
Of notable mention was the attendance of Bernice Mayor, Joe Hicks, and Junction City Mayor, Preston Rogers. Other mayors across the parish were invited, but were unable to attend. Also attending the Downsville Meeting from the Union Parish School Board was Howard Allen and Steve Johnson.
It was regrettable that Mike Holley had to cancel his attendance without notice for more important matters. From the Union Parish Police Jury was Richard Bridges and John Wallace represented the Downsville Town Council. It was unfortunate, but expected, that prior obligations kept Curtis Williams away. Those prior obligations illustrate well the importance Curtis Williams places on “family” and why Curtis commands such a high degree of respect from the parents who entrust their children to him as principal of Downsville High School. Ever thoughtful, Curtis requested the excellent assistance of Dona Traylor to represent Downsville High School.
Representing the press was the lovely Jessie Boyett of The Banner, and welcomed newcomer, Scott Beder of the Farmerville Gazette. The Newsstar and the local television stations were too busy “studying” the techniques of CNN and Foxnews to be bothered with such an “insignificant” but overwhelming public response. Most importantly, was the generous attendance by the Downsville Community residents that willing stood up against the walls of the Downsville Community Center in a standing room only crowd, just to see and hear the likely next Governor of Louisiana.