While attending the Inaugural Dâ€™Arbonne BBQ Fest and State Championship Cook-off at the Lake Dâ€™Arbonne State Park, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with T. Lee Horne, the Libertarian Party candidate for Louisiana Governor.I was talking with Mike Walsworth, State Representative District 15, and candidate for State Senate District 33, when Mr. Horne came walking towards us. Representative Walsworth, obviously familiar with Mr. Horne, introduced me before moving on to assume his duties of judging some really great BBQ delights.
T. Lee Horne easily comes across as a sincere and decent person that honestly wants to see changes in Louisiana. Horneâ€™s campaign platform proclaims that he is for â€œhonesty, transparency, and simplicity in governmentâ€. These are surely three things this state has not seen for quite sometime, if ever.
Mr. Horne is also for â€œaccountability at all levels of government, with equal enforcement of the lawsâ€. Again, these are rare commodities in the Pelican State.
Personally, I donâ€™t know anyone that doesnâ€™t want all of these things, but like everyone, I have yet to see any of them come to pass. Unfortunately, with partisan politicians like John Alario, so entrenched in the Legislature and â€œporkingâ€ every dollar in the surplus he can, transparency and simplicity will remain rare. Until we have leadership that is morally driven with a sense of equal responsibility for the entire State, unlike anything Mr. Alario is familiar, there will be little to no change for the good of Louisiana. Seeing Mr. Alario demoted to â€œcommittee memberâ€ (at the most) will be a welcomed day. Seeing him retire will be a celebration. I digress.
I applaud Mr. Horneâ€™s call for better government, but I did not see any experience in his resume that would lend me to think he was prepared for the top job of an entire state, let alone the political skills to stand toe to toe against a spendthrift Democrat Legislature. Horne certainly has had a variety of jobs that would indicate at least that Horne was not afraid of a little work, but the job to fix Louisianaâ€™s troubles will need more experience than running a family estate, a salvage yard, or even Sargeant-at-Arms of his sixth grade class.
Most of what Horne said can easily be seen on his website. I am sure that after four years of campaigning and struggling for face recognition, you get used to saying the same things over and over.
I did find it a bit telling that Mr. Horne was making such a big deal out of being on television â€œthree times in three daysâ€. Unfortunately, those appearances were very brief and did not include any large crowds or public speaking invitations. One of the news clips was actually better for Bobby Jindal than Mr. Horne. Horne really should rethink the rap song and giving weather reports from his RV.
In an interview on Shreveport KTBS-3 that lasted less than four minutes, Horne immediately displayed a serious lack of knowledge about one of the worst problems facing Louisiana; highways. With a backlog of over $14BILLION, Horne claimed that our major highways were in need of some repair and I-49 (that will go through his hometown of Franklin) should be completed, but the state and parish highways are â€œexcellentâ€. I would challenge Mr. Horne to get off those major highways and drive his â€œcampaign headquartersâ€ down LA Hwy 15 in Union Parish, or LA Hwy 4 in Franklin, Caldwell, or Jackson Parishes, or LA Hwy 17 in West Carroll Parish, or LA Hwy 2 in Claiborne and Webster Parishes, or LA Hwy 9 in Bienville Parish, or La Hwy 7 (redesignated US Hwy 371, but not improved) through Red River Parish, or, â€¦well, the list is much longer, but you get the point. Even worse are the parish roads, but I certainly wouldnâ€™t recommend Mr. Horne driving down any of them with his RV headquarters, seeing that most are not wide enough for his RV and those speeding log trucks.
On the other candidates, T. Lee Horne seemed more focused on Walter Boasso and John Georges than Bobby Jindal. This would make good sense given Mr. Horne has a much better chance of passing either of these two candidates in the polls than he does Bobby Jindal. A second or even a third place showing in a Governorâ€™s race would be a big victory for the Libertarian Party. Personally, I would be thrilled if Mr. Horne captured second place in a primary win for Bobby Jindal.
We both agreed that Walter Boasso had cut his political throat and that no political party would ever really trust him again. One has to wonder why Boasso fails to recognize such a huge mistake. It is likely due to a serious disconnection with the average voter.
On John Georges, Mr. Horneâ€™s contempt was clear. Horne felt it was very misleading of Georges to brag about his campaign treasure chest when it was filled by only one person, himself. â€œHe certainly doesnâ€™t have the supporters he is trying to mislead the public into believingâ€, said Horne.
Then our conversation switched to Anthony â€œTony Gâ€ Gentile and likely contained information that I doubt is on any website, yet. For those that do not recognize that name, like the vast majority of the State, Tony G. claims to be running for Governor, but really lacks any rationale or experience for doing so.
When I asked T. Lee if he knew Tony G, he said, â€œoh sure. We trade information on upcoming events. Itâ€™s been really helpful to me.â€ Horne went on to say that he and Tony were at the Covington debate and at the meeting with the Jeffersonians. Like the rest of the gubernatorial hopefuls, T. Lee Horne does not miss the opportunity to point out that Bobby Jindal did not attend the Covington debate, no matter how insignificant it really was, and disregarding a scheduling problem that was created by the hosts of that event.
I did, of course, â€œperk upâ€ when the meeting with the Jeffersonians was mentioned; especially given the hubbub Tony Gentile tried to create on PoliticsLA about the event. Like most of Tony Gâ€™s attempts for recognition, it backfired badly, and Tony came away looking like a child taking his bat and ball home so the other kids could not play. According to T. Lee Horne, the only â€œcandidatesâ€ that attended the Jeffersonian meeting were T. Lee Horne and Tony Gentile. Given that manufactured hubbub, this clearly illustrated just how inexperienced and disingenuous â€œTony Gâ€ really is, as is his supporter “Willie Cager”.
When I asked about Tony Gâ€™s campaign, things got even gloomier for Gentile. Mr. Horne volunteered, â€œIt really takes a lot of backing to run a serious campaign and Tony doesnâ€™t have any.â€ Horne went on to say that, â€œwith no backing by a party like I have, Tony really doesnâ€™t have much of a chance to be Governor. It is a great personal statement, but he really has no chance of winningâ€.
I agreed completely.
Looking back, neither of us apparently found it important enough to discuss Foster Campbell, likely the only political victory Tony G. will ever see.
Unfortunately for Mr. Horne, though exponentially better than Anthony Gentile, his chances for Governor do not look nearly good enough either to overcome the very, strong frontrunner, Congressman Bobby Jindal, the hands down favorite to be the next Governor of Louisiana.