Special Interest Groups Bankroll Cazayoux Sunday, Oct 19 2008 

It always concerns me when special interest groups dominate a candidate’s fundraising.  When PAC’s, unions, and trial lawyers are bankrolling a candidate, there is a reason.  Why?  Because all three of these groups come-a-calling after election day with their wish list for the candidate.  

It’s one thing to hear the buzz, it’s another when we have the privilege of seeing firsthand the finance reports of a candidate to prove whence the money comes.  Here is a list of who is bankrolling the 6th Congressional race:

Don Cazayoux

  • Cazayoux’s largest contributor:  trial lawyers
  • 2nd largest contributor:  PACS providing 52% of Cazayoux’s money.
  • Only 3 of his top 20 contributors are local individuals and ranking in the top 3 (combined contributions) are unions.
  • Though Cazayoux’s personal net worth shows between $540,000 to $765,000, he has not loaned his campaign any money.

Bill Cassidy

  • Cassidy’s top contributors read like an all-star Greater Baton Rouge business list of companies that have always given to the community.  Names you will recognize like Valluzzo, Hise, Lipsey, Wampold, Pellar, Turner, Polito, Mockler, et al.
  • Louisiana Business & Industry, referred to as LABI, supports Cassidy which means he is good for business in Louisiana.  They scrutinize candidates and work against special interest groups.
  • Cassidy has loaned his own campaign around $29,000.

Michael Jackson

  • Jackson has an interesting mix in his top 20 contributors including familiar names like Grigsby, Fields, Bailey, and Lamar.
  • A few faith-based groups also support Jackson in his top 20 contributors.  His top contributor appears to be Grigsby who is vehemently against Cazayoux due to his personal views against union support.
  • Jackson has also loaned his campaign some $20,000+.

Now that we have followed the money, we have proof that special interest groups are bankrolling Cazayoux’s $2 million campaign.  Hands down, the trial lawyers, unions and PAC’s are some of the most powerful groups in political special interest circles.  All three support Cazayoux.  This means I cannot and will not support a man who agreed to allow these special interest groups to give him such large contributions.  By the way, there is a reason they did.  They know who they can control – a liberal democrat. 

Again, my vote is for Cassidy for the 6th Congressional District seat.  I respect the group of business leaders that support him and am willing to add my vote to the man they invested their hard earned dollars in – Cassidy. 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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Republicans in 6th Reject Party Unity Saturday, Jun 7 2008 

Overdue Update:  Republicans finally came together and agreed that Cassidy was the most formidable candidate for the 6th Congressional District.  Calongne and Jenkins have agreed not to run!  Things may be looking up for the Louisiana GOP.

In times where party unity seems to be a daily political discussion on a national level, it might be advantageous to take a look at an interesting race that is brewing this fall in the Red Stick.  Voters will now have three Republican candidates to choose from in the 6th Congressional race since the trio seems to reject the idea of party unity. 

Voters often wonder why candidates run for office.  After all, who would want to subject their family and future to the whim of the media, political pundits and overwhelming daily stress in a daunting challenge of changing the course of our country that is already spiraling out of control? 

Apparently three are willing to take the plunge including Senator Bill Cassidy, business owner Laurinda Calongne, and editor Woody Jenkins.  All three have strong political ties, experience and supporters. 

Who will wind up on 1st to run against recently seated democrat Congressman Don Cazayoux?  (Don may have his own party competition on the democratic side in Representative Michael Jackson)  Cazayoux hit the floor running with an impressive website that is user friendly and a message of “what can I do to help?” This past week he began running radio ads and held conference calls for constituents to call in and address their concerns and needs.  Republicans will have to overcome his effective ability to be ‘one of us’ coupled with his humor and lack of elitism.

As a republican, this race is already causing me concern.  It won’t take a crystal ball to see the future and what to expect based on the past:

  • Republican Senator Bill Cassidy is a physician specializing in diseases of the liver.  Cassidy won a senate seat vacated by Jay Dardenne against William Daniel in 2006, and was re-elected against virtually no strong competition in 2008.  Cassidy’s platform was to improve education and healthcare in Louisiana.  He is married to retired physician Laura Cassidy, has three young children who attend public school, and attends the Chapel on the Campus. 
    • Opponents will say Cassidy is attempting to catapult his political career to a national level with a goal of changing a fledgling national healthcare system without achieving his goals in the office he promised to serve for at least 3 more years and cite his inexperience in Washington as a negative.

 

  • Republican business owner Laurinda Calongne, principal of Robert Rose Consulting, lost her bid for the vacated congressional seat of Richard Baker earlier this year in the party primary against Woody Jenkins.  Calongne ran on the premise that her business savvy would help streamline government spending, to ease the tax burden of constituents, and to fight against illegal immigration.  Laurinda says she has raised millions of dollars for the republican party and even more for health care related organizations through her grant writing to increase benefits to Louisianans.  Calongne is married to engineering consultant Dan, has one teenage daughter, and they attend Healing Place Church and Our Lady of Mercy.
    • Opponents will attack Calongne for being a registered lobbyist, for ties to Bob Livingston, and twist her stand against illegal immigration claiming she is being discriminatory.

 

  • Republican Woody Jenkins, former representative and editor of three Red Stick publications, lost his bid for this congressional seat in the run-off earlier this year to Don Cazayoux, democrat.  Jenkins’ campaign ran on his conservative values and history in the legislature.  He was backed by the Family Research Council and the Louisiana Family Forum, both christian conservative organizations and by Governor Bobby Jindal.  Jenkins is married to attorney and former assistant district attorney, Diane; they have four adult children and listed no church affiliation.
    • Opponents will attack Jenkins’ inability to win elections against strong democrats, questionable ethics in past elections and a controversial non-profit organization he and his wife managed.

Three strong republicans that refuse to agree on party unity.  Is this the wave of the future?  Maybe. 

There is no way these three candidates can run against each other without attacks on their opponents if they expect to set their self apart from the pack.  Families will suffer, as they always do in tough campaigns, and the need to raise at least $1 million by each candidate to be effective will make it one for the books – especially with McCain making major fundraising strides in Louisiana.  Who is willing to pay the ultimate price to represent Louisiana’s 6th district? 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Partisan Quid Pro Quo Sunday, Mar 30 2008 

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Senator Joe McPherson, democrat, has been an opponent of the Jindal administration’s effort toward ethics reform claiming there was not enough attention to campaign finance laws.  In The Advocate, McPherson refers to this issue as legal corruption

If you follow the money in some campaigns you will understand the ongoing concerns over this issue.  The only problem with McPherson’s comment is that quid pro quo needs to be addressed with his fellow democrats as well.

Garnering campaign contributions is the single most challenging aspect of a campaign.  Candidates are humbled daily as they ask family, friends, associates and frequent contributors to donate money.  Without the money, their campaign comes to a grinding halt.  It takes money to do anything in a campaign.  Big money.

Few individuals will argue about the quid pro quo unless they are the contributors who give large expecting something in return.  Candidates know full well that large contributions require extra attention to the source/donor.  Following the money and connecting the dots is a full time job.  The ethics commission should have a seperate investigative unit of researchers who crank out the connections of donors to candidates. 

Fall 2008 elections will be quite revealing in the Red Stick with the mayoral race.  Mayor-President Kip Holden shows some interesting contributions and expenditures which contain the makings of a good political novel.  Watch for more over the coming months.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Who’s In and Who’s Out on the 6th, Mayor Holden? Sunday, Mar 16 2008 

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As I read the ongoing saga of superdelegates among democrats for the presidential campaign, I can’t help but wonder about Red Stick elected officials and where they stand in the 6th congressional race. 

For instance:  Have you noticed the apparent absence of a mayoral endorsement for either of his fellow democrats Michael Jackson and Don Cazayoux?

Mayor-President Kip Holden, has been a ‘master endorser’ in political races.  Since 1986, he has endorsed John Breaux, Billy Tauzin, Ralph Tyson, Curtis Calloway, Byron Stringer, Darrell White, Rosemary Pillow, Rev. Jessie Jackson, Richard Ieyoub, Kathleen Blanco, Mitch Landrieu, Pat Smith and Sid Gautreaux – to name a few. 

Holden hands out endorsements faster than I can shred my junk mail. 

I thought the Mayor would quickly endorse his fellow african-american democrat Michael Jackson. Jackson is vice-chair of both the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus and the Democratic Caucus, a fellow attorney, and a rising star.  They have a close friend and supporter in common, Raymond Jetson, who Jackson was an aide to during Jetson’s legislative era.

On the other hand, Holden could endorse fellow democrat Don Cazayoux.  Or has he?  It’s commonly known, all denial aside, that when the AFL-CIO, firefighters local and union of police endorse a candidate that directive comes ‘behind the scenes’ from the Mayor.  All of these groups have endorsed Cazayoux.

Why is Holden’s endorsement so important to the voters of EBRP? 

Because if either democrat gets elected they will need to bring home the bacon for EBR Parish.  The Red Stick can use all the bacon we can fry up from Washington with our traffic woes, increasing murder rate and inflated city-parish budget.

So, who’s in and who’s out on the 6th, Mayor Holden? 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

 

The Political Lie Detector Wednesday, Mar 12 2008 

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Authors Stephen Covey, Bill George and Martha Beck teach lessons on finding your moral compass, true north or northstar respectively.  Their focus is to take life’s challenges and place them into proper perspective while finding what is right and true for your life, thus reaching your highest potential and purpose.  A personal search for the truth per se.

Truth.  Now there’s a challenge.  Especially in politics.  Truth is a key component to finding your moral compass.  Truth in politics is a national concern.  Rightfully so.  In fact it’s a political dilemma.  Google’s CEO, Dr. Eric Schmidt, said he expects an internet lie detector to become a reality.   Schmidt said it would be so fast that while candidates are debating, with the touch of a button, the search engine would provide instant proof or disproof of claims made. 

We often refer to the infamous Clinton lie “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” along with his eventual confession.  It’s ironic that politicians believe they can deceive the public in an age of technology that exposes the truth before it gets its pants on. 

How do we ensure that political figures are speaking the truth?  In the information age, it’s actually quite easy for those willing to take time to check the facts.  I hope Schmidt is accurate and that someone (perhaps Google) takes this challenge on by creating a literal political lie detector search engine that is lightning fast.

In the meantime we can discern truth by following our instinct as clearly defined in Malcolm Tidwell’s bestseller Blink! = Initial Instinct. 

On the other hand, my Dad always said the greatest lie detector test is:  how someone treats others and the way they live their life when no one is seemingly watching.  Once again, I believe he was right.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

The 11th Commandment Thursday, Mar 6 2008 

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My friend has a saying:  “the truth always wins out.”  In life, sometimes it takes awhile for the truth to come out.  In politics, truth seems like a paradox. 

Truth is sincerity, integrity, honesty.  Truth in politics is just downright refreshing!  Show  me a politician who is truthful, and I will show you a politician people will respect.  Unfortunately, they may not win the race. 

The 11th commandment for republicans:  Speak no ill towards a fellow republican.  I hear this phrase every time a republican brings out something that is negative about a fellow republican. 

Does this mean you are not to tell the truth about your republican opponent if the truth is negative?   Are we to turn our heads and become ‘politically correct’ by not seeking out the truth and sharing that information with others?  If that is the case, the voters lose in the end.  Let’s not confuse false accusations with the truth.

Most individuals do not have the time to spend hours researching candidates to find out who they really are, what they are made of, what their history is and what details they may have purposely omitted from their political resume. 

Let’s not allow the “11th Commandment” to blindfold us.

Be open.  Listen.  Research.  Allow the truth to guide you.  If a candidate has committed an ethics violation, if they have not paid their former employees, if they say one thing and do another, BEWARE!  Ethics reform in Louisiana is calling each of us to higher ground. 

We need to take the extra time to research candidates more carefully.  The right to vote comes with a responsibility.  When you pull the lever to vote, make sure you have done your homework. 

The NEW 11th Commandment:  Do all your fellow republicans a favor by seeking the truth about every candidate.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Ethics for Dummies Wednesday, Mar 5 2008 

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ETHICS FOR DUMMIES:  When you deviate from the ethics process, you either pay now or pay later

Louisiana is making a strong move towards the way business is done in our state.  Ethics reform is a major part of our progress.  While lawmakers and the governor are moving us forward, some life-long politicians are moving us backward. 

In 1996 Woody Jenkins and his campaign manager, Tony Perkins, agreed to pay $82,000 to a direct mail firm that was tied to David Duke.  Okay, everyone makes mistakes even if this was a lollapalooza.  Unfortunately, the larger mistake Jenkins and Perkins made was to purposely hide the campaign expenditure once they realized the mail firm was tied to Duke.  That double whammy caused a fine with the Federal Elections Committee.  To add insult to injury, Woody talked the FEC into reducing the fine because he claimed his finances would not allow him to pay a huge fine.

ETHICS FOR DUMMIES:  Don’t hide campaign expenditures

Woody Jenkins was a young republican in college; he changed to democrat when it was convenient to run in 1971 for the legislature.  After 22 years, in 1994, Jenkins changed back to republican party.

In 1996 he ran as a republican for the U.S. Senate, winning the party nomination, and lost to Mary Landrieu.  Woody cried foul, contested the results, took it all the way to a senate committee, cost the taxpayers thousands of dollars for a 10 month investigation to only find out the election results were accurate.

ETHICS FOR DUMMIES:  Ensure the public confidence in the integrity of government.

Another controversy swarming around Woody Jenkins’ career was the creation of a non-profit, Friends of the Americas.  Jenkins refused to publicly register Americas claiming the government had no jurisdiction on out-of-state groups raising funds.  A claim many states reject. 

This same non-profit ran by Jenkins and his family was later chastised for paying Jenkins, his wife and his treasurer $456,892 over a 2 1/2 year period (according to an article in The Advocate dated June 7, 1990.)  Jenkins was a representative at the time and his financial records were requested.  He refused claiming this was a tactic that competitors of his TV station sought. 

ETHICS FOR DUMMIES:  I repeat — ensure the public confidence in the integrity of government.  (2nd strike)

Jenkins’ non-profit had other issues.  The treasurer absconded with $305,997 of the funds of Friends of the Americas right under Woody’s nose according to an article in The Advocate.  This took place over a two year period before Jenkins realized what was happening. 

ETHICS FOR DUMMIES:  One more time – ensure the public confidence in the integrity of government.  (In baseball and criminal actions, they refer to this as:  3rd strike.)

Other allegations surround Woody Jenkins in regard to unpaid bills to campaign workers from past campaigns.  There are also fines that were levied for withholding taxes for employees and failing to pay the government until questioned.

ETHICS FOR DUMMIES:  Owe no man.  (Actually this is in the Bible, but should be in the ethics code.)

What does all of this mean?  It means that Woody Jenkins has made a proclamation of faith and does believe that life begins at conception.  Good, so do I.  Unfortunately, Woody fails to meet the ethical requirements that I and others expect our elected officials to espouse to when holding their self up as someone who will represent us in state government.

Reminds me of the old saying:  “I am from the government and I am here to help you.”  Yeah, right.

What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. 

C’mon guys, get it right this time.  Let’s send someone to Congress that will bring home the bacon for the taxpayers of Louisiana.  That person is not Woody Jenkins.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

The Spin Doctors Saturday, Mar 1 2008 

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Redstick politics is now being visited again by the infamous Spin Doctors.  When this happens sometimes we are humored, sometimes we get angry.  Most of the time, we listen.  It’s a sort of magical mesmerization that takes place.

The 6th congressional district race has a full array of candidates vying for former congressman Richard Baker’s seat.  The last few days include a battle between two of those candidates:  Woody Jenkins and Paul Sawyer. 

It is our job as voters to sort out the spin from the truth.

Paul Sawyer claims his former employer, Richard Baker, has endorsed him by displaying Baker’s picture on his campaign commercials and in his mailers.  Baker denies endorsing Sawyer according to John Maginnis.  Sawyer:  guilty of spin!

Woody Jenkins is currently being attacked by Sawyer for doing business with well-known klansman David Duke for a mailing list, which he did indeed purchase in a past campaign, though Jenkins is attempting to deny this fact.  Jenkins:  guilty of reverse-spin!

Paul Sawyer would have us believe that every positive accomplishment by Baker as congressman should be attributed to Sawyer since he worked for him.  Sawyer:  guilty of spin!

Jenkins would have us believe that he has the best chance of winning this election, though he led us down that rosy path in 4 other elections where he lost including:  1978 loss to J. Bennett Johnson for U. S. Senate, 1980 loss to Russell Long for U. S. Senate, 1996 loss to May Landrieu for U. S. Senate and 1999 loss to Suzi Haik Terrell for Commissioner of Elections.  Jenkins:  guilty of spin!

Score:  Sawyer: 2 vs. Jenkins: 2   Spin is spin is spin.  Their spin is making me dizzy! 

I expect more spin from Sawyer on Jenkins history with his non-profit, Friends of Americas, for refusing to register as a non-profit, for hiring a woman who absconded with nearly $300,000 before he figured it out, and his blatant refusal to reveal income numerous times in the past as a candidate. 

Jenkins, on the other hand, will most likely reverse-spin Sawyer’s spin as well as spin Sawyer’s delusional expectation that he should be heir-apparent for Baker’s seat.

Expect more spin and reverse-spin in this race.   Stop the politics of old.  New leadership is needed.  Try looking beyond these two spin doctors.  Seek out a better candidate that shows more common sense, business savvy and concern for the people of the 6th congressional district vs. candidates trying to spin us into a state of confusion.  Enough!

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican