What are your criteria for a good leader for the Louisiana House?
With Representative Tucker leaving the House of Representatives, it is time to select a new speaker of the House.
So who would make a good leader for the House of Representatives?
What top conservative should steer Louisiana’s future from its dark, corrupt, cronyism past to a new, brighter, more ethical age.
The organizational session that will set the seats and the agenda for much of the next four years will convene at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, January 9, 2012 (Inauguration Day). It will adjournment no later than Wednesday, January 11, 2012.
Given the lack of competition for many of the House and Senate seats, the election campaign’s for the leadership positions have already begun.
So what criteria should we use to select our House and Senate leaders for the next four years?
How will we ensure that good solid conservatives will lead us, and not just repackaged democrats?
Criteria 1: Experience – at least 5 years in the Senate
A good House leader must be experienced in the arcane parliamentary procedure used by the legislature. Otherwise, parliamentary chicanery by the opposition will be used to defeat or neuter good legislation or to pass bad legislation.
We can narrow the current list of 57 Republican representatives down to the top 9 – those who are going into their third term and who are running for office.
Hollis Downs and Mert Smiley are not running for representative this election cycle so they were excluded from the list.
Top Tier Candidates
1. Representative Timothy G. “Tim” Burns – district 89.
Tim is a Tax Attorney who represents St. Tammany parish.
He graduated from Tulane with a B.A. in Economics; an M.B.A. in Accounting and a J.D.
He is the chairman of the Civil Law and Procedure committee.
2. Representative Gordon E. Dove, Sr. – District 52
Gordon is a Business owner who represents Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes.
He graduated from Terrebonne High School and Nicholls State University.
He is Chairman of the Natural Resources and Environment committee.
He is a member of the Acadiana delegation and the Rural caucus.
3. Representative Brett F. Geymann
– District 35
Brett is a small business owner who represents Beauregard and Calcasieu parishes.
He graduated from South Beauregard High School; McNeese State University with a B.S. in Finance.
He serves on the appropriations; House and Governmental Affairs; and Joint Legislative committee on the budget.
He is on the Acadiana delegation and the Rural caucus.
4. Representative Hunter V. Greene
Republican District 66
Hunter is an attorney who represents East Baton Rouge parish.
He graduated from Southwood High School, Shreveport; Lousiana State University with a B.S. in Accounting; and Southern University Law Center with a J.D.
He serves as Chairman of the Ways and Means; Vice Chairman on the Joint Legislative Committee on Capital Outlay; Vice Chair on the House Executive Committee; and the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget; and the State Bond Commission.
He is a member of the Capital Region Delegation.
5. Representative Charles E. “Chuck” Kleckley – District 36
Chuck is self-employed and represents Calcasieu parish.
He has a B.S. in finance from McNeese State University.
He is chairman of the Insurance committee. He serves on the House Executive Committee and the Legislative Audit Advisory Council
He is a member of the Acadiana Delegation and the Rural Caucus.
6. Representative John LaBruzzo – District 81
John is a Medical Equipment Representative who represents Jefferson Parish.
He was educated at St. Stanislaus. He has a B.A. degree in communication from Louisiana State University.
He serves on the Civil Law and Procedure committee; the Health and Welfare committee; and the Labor and Industrial Relations committee.
He is a member of the Jefferson Parish delegation.
7. Representative Eddie J. Lambert
– District 59
Eddie is an attorney who represents Ascension parish.
He has a B.A. degree from LSU (’78) and a J.D. degree from LSU (’82).
He is the Vice Chair of the Natural Resources and Environment and Vice Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget. He serves on the Appropriations, Home Land Security committees.
He is a member of the Acadiana, Rural and Capital Region delegations.
8. Representative Joel C. Robideaux – District 45
Joel is a CPA who represents Lafayette parish.
He has a B.S. from the University of Southwestern Louisiana and a M.S. from LSU.
He serves on the Retirement; Ways and Means; Appropriations; Legislative Budgetary Control Council.
He is the Speaker Pro Tempore. As such, he is also on the Joint Legislative Committee on Capital Outlay; the House Executive Committee; and the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget all Ex Officio.
He is a member of the Acadiana Delegation and Rural Caucus.
9. Representative Mack A. “Bodi” White, Jr. – District 64
Mack does not list his occupation. He represents East Baton Rouge and Livingston Parishes.
He has a B.A. in Criminal Justice from Southeastern Louisiana University. He took Post Graduate Studies in Criminal Justice at Loyola University.
He chairs the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget. He serves on the Administration of Criminal Justice; Appropriations; Judiciary; House Committee on Homeland Security; Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget and the Joint Committee on Homeland Security.
He serves on the Capital Region Delegation and the Rural Caucus.
Criteria 2: Voted against the Legislative Pay Raise (SB672 -2008 Regular Session) test.
On June 30, 2008, Governor Bobby Jindal vetoed the legislative pay raise bill, SB672. In his press release, Governor Jindal said:
“I have opposed this pay raise at every turn and from the very beginning. A doubling of legislative pay is clearly excessive and it takes effect prior to the next election, which I believe is bad policy.”
Bad policy. I couldn’t have said it better.
It is unethical for a sitting legislature to raise its own pay. The proper practice if for the legislature to raise the pay of future legislators. That way they are not raising their own pay. Because the voters then have to select who they will elect to fill the legislative seat for the new term.
The amount of the pay raise was also excessive. A blue ribbon panel should have first been convened to determine the amount of the pay rise that would have been appropriate.
The result of this chicanery was an outraged populous.
Governor Jindal continues:
” This bill would also have set up a system to give legislators automatic pay raises in the future without additional legislative votes – which is a lack of accountability that we cannot accept.”
Accountability is the cornerstone of any ethical government. By automating the pay raises, despite their lack of knowledge over future revenue streams for the government, the legislature sought to provide cover for future legislators against having to vote on these future raises.
The governor very graciously accepted the blame for the legislatures bad conduct.
“I clearly made a mistake by telling the legislature that I would allow them to handle their own affairs, As with all mistakes, you can either correct them or compound them – I am choosing to correct my mistake now.”
A most gracious apology.
The Governor expected that the legislature would take the correct, ethical action and he encouraged them to make their own correct decision. Unfortunately, the legislature took an unethical, inappropriate path.
The Governor explained the difficult position that he was in.
“I have said that I was not going to stop legislators from more than doubling their own pay by vetoing this because I did not want to give them any excuse to slow down the momentum of our reform movement here in Louisiana. It turns out this is an unsustainable position. I have come to realize that the reforms I have been fighting for are simply incompatible with this legislative pay raise.”
Eventually, Governor Jindal came to realize that the ethics reforms that he was promoting could not stand with the unethical conduct of the legislature.
“I was trying to preserve our reform agenda and our momentum by tolerating this legislative pay raise that I knew was completely excessive. But the two cannot coexist.”
Essentially, the public was outraged. We had thought we had elected a legislature and governor to reform and remake the state. Instead we found out that the legislature was more into self-serving than into public-serving.
“The bottom line is that allowing this excessive legislative pay raise to become law would so significantly undercut our reform agenda, and so significantly diminish the people’s confidence in their own government, that I cannot let it become law. So, I have vetoed the bill.”
The protests, however, were far from a side show. These protests were the core, the rock, the start of the new foundation for Louisiana.
“The sideshow over massive legislative pay raises has already taken up far too much time. It’s time to get back to doing the people’s business. There is a tremendous amount of work to be done in our state…there are roads to build, jobs to create, business to open, and kids to educate.”
Thank you Governor Jindal for ‘breaking your word’. There is a reason the governor’s office comes with a veto pen.
“I know that some of the legislators are going to be upset that I broke my word to them to stay out of their business. But I am asking them to take out their anger on me – not on the people of Louisiana.”
Have you lived up to the Governor’s pledge? Have you remained active? I know I have.
“to all the citizens of Louisiana who have become so vocal on this issue and so involved in the process – stay involved. There is a lot more to do. Don’t tune out or stop paying attention to the political process now. This government belongs to you; it is your business. I’m going to need your help.”
Election season is coming up. It is time to remember which of the legislators voted for this bill and which of them voted against it. Here is the voting list for the House of Representatives.
Representatives Brett Geymann; Chuck Kleckley and Joel Robideaux voted against the pay raise.
Representatives Timothy Burns; Hunter Greene; John LaBruzzo; Eddie Lambert; and Mack “Bodi” White all voted for the pay raise.
Representative Gordon Dove was absent.
Criteria 3: FATHER FRIENDLY – Voted against changing should to may – The SB236 -2010 Regular Session test.
Conservatives tend to be father friendly. They realized the importance of fathers in their children’s lives. They understand the harm that has been done to families, marriage, children and society by the policies of the radical feminists over the last fifty or so years.
The high water mark of the radical feminists during the last four years came on June 9 during the 2010 regular session.
On that day, the legislature preserved the 1993 law ensuring that both parents in a divorce should be awarded equal time with their children.
SB236 or the 2010 Regular session by Senator Julie Quinn sought to change one word in the existing law. It sought to change the word should to may. The existing law states that once the judge has determined that both parents are fit enough that they will share joint custody, that:
To the extent it is feasible and in the best interest of the child, physical custody of the children should be shared equally.
There are two tests that the law requires be met.
The first test is that equal custody must be feasible. If the parents live thousands of miles apart, then equal custody is not feasible. The travel time for the children becomes prohibitive. Furthermore, the travel costs for the parents become prohibitive.
The second test is that the equal sharing be in the best interests of the child(ren). While the judge may have found that the parents are fit enough to remain parents. One of the parents may be deficient enough in character or parenting skills that an imbalanced custody schedule should be implemented.
When these tests are met, the court should award equal physical custody. The word should implies a positive test. The legislature is encouraging the judge to award equal physical custody but is not mandating (via shall) that the judge do so.
This is a positive test. The presumption is towards equal physical custody.
The proposed law is a negative test. The judge may award equal physical custody or judge may not. Such a law is meaningless and has no value.
This one word change triggered an hour long debate on the House floor. At the end of the debate, the bill was defeated by a wide margin (43 to 56).
Voting to defeat this bad legislation were representatives Hollis Downs; Hunter Greene; Chuck Kleckley; Mert Smiley; Gordon Dove; Brett Geymann; and Mack “Bodi” White.
In particular, Representative Hunter Greene excelled his opposition to this bill and his leadership on the House floor.
Voting for this bad legislation were Representative Timothy Burns; John LaBruzzo; Joel Robideaux and Eddie Lambert. Representative Timothy Burns was the floor manager seeking to pass the legislation.
We have a lot of fine candidates to choose from. The conservative viewpoint would be best represented by a House leadership team comprised of Representatives Brett Geymann; Chuck Kleckley and Hunter Greene.