Dan Claitor: The Invisible Man Tuesday, Apr 7 2009 

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H. G. Wells wrote the science fiction thriller, The Invisible Man, a novel that might aptly describe the newly elected Senator of District 16, Dan Claitor.  

In our lifetime, we may never witness a newly elected Senator who is as barely mentioned in a barage of news articles and blogs by political pundits as Dan Claitor.  Is this the same group that convinced the voters Claitor was the ‘best candidate’?

I suppose it would be funny if it weren’t such a sad commentary of what really happened in the District 16 race.  A pitiful legacy at best, for a district that was previously held in high esteem by the election of former Senators Bill Cassidy and Jay Dardenne. 

It does beg the question, and the answer is simple. 

Claitor was not really the choice candidate.  With all due respect, I am sure Claitor thought he won of his own accord – because he had some brilliant plan for District 16.  So brilliant that no one is mentioning it whatsoever!

Instead, Claitor is learning what Louisiana politics is all about – much ado about nothing more than a group of egotistical political operatives that wanted him anyone to help them control the voters.  And that they did!

Don’t believe me?  Irrespective of Claitor, there is a growing list of articles and blogs about everyone but the new Senator.  Less than 3 days after the election, NOT ONE ARTICLE even mentions Claitor being the best candidate or anything he plans to do on behalf of the voters who were led to the voting booth like sheep to a slaughter. 

Instead, the pundits have tipped their hands as the voting booths are being audited, proving they had their own agenda.  What does this equate to for Louisiana?  Politics as usual, according the message being resounded across our good state and in the Red Stick:

  • The Advocate has authored 3 articles since Saturday with absolutely NO mention of Claitor’s plans as a new Senator. 
  • The Times Picayune’s article also fails to mention any thrust that Claitor might have as Senator and embarrassingly mentions his name only 5 times in an article where Governor Jindal’s name is listed 11 times and Lee Domingue is mentioned 12 times.  (Both men are given twice the recognition as Claitor.)  Rolfe McCollister, publisher of the BR Business Report, got the same billing as Claitor with 5 name mentions. 
  • Freelance writer, Jeremy Alford, wrote an article picked up by the Daily Report in which the only mention of Claitor’s future as a Senator is that he best ‘hit the ground running’
  • Columnist Stephen Sabludowsky wrote an article on the Senate District 16 race and does not even mention Dan Claitor’s name, making him truly invisible as a new Senator.
  • Clancy DuBos, political analyst and editor of The Gambit,  talks more about bloggers, McCollister, Jindal and Domingue than Claitor, and once again, makes no mention of anything that the Senator will do once he is sworn in to the Louisiana Legislature.
  • The Daily Advertiser also wrote more about every other player in the Senate District 16 race than about Dan Claitor.  No mention there about what Claitor plans to do once in office.

 

The Invisible Man’s legacy has begun, and his name is . . . uh, I already forgot! 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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Lee Domingue: The Right Choice Monday, Mar 30 2009 

Update:  It took the clock to countdown to less than 72 hours of the election for The Advocate to FINALLY do ONE article that gave the candidates of Senate District 16 an opportunity to speak on a legislative issue.  The question to the candidates was in regard to whether or not welfare and food stamp recipients should be drug tested.  Both candidates felt the legislation had merit, but had caveats. Unfortunately, there are virtually NO voters in this particular district that are on welfare.  Even so, The Advocate MISSED THE MARK by not discussing REAL issues for District 16.  Why?  

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When I chose to write about the Senate District 16 race, it was because of a gut feeling.  As the campaign took flight, I saw the obvious injustices being done against one of the candidates.  This strengthened my resolve to continue to research and report the facts.

Lee Domingue is, obviously, a man who is committed to his family, his faith, his career, his community and our state.   This is something no one can argue against.

Domingue has put his money where his mouth is and stepped up to the plate to support the belief that Louisiana, and all that we hold dear, is worth fighting for right now

Yes, Domingue gave contributions to Jindal in his run for governor.  Of course, the pundits fail to mention that Jindal received more individual contributions than any previous gubernatorial candidate in the history of Louisiana.   Jindal has also been targeted, for his endorsement of Domingue.

Domingue also contributed to “Believe in Louisiana“, an organization formed to break from our past and bring ethics reform to our state, one step at a time.  It’s a process.  We didn’t get here overnight, and it will take time for change to come to fruition.  The organization is chaired by Rolfe McCollister, Jr., publisher of the Business Report, who has taken scathing attacks for supporting Domingue.  Four men in our state donated $100,000 each to BIL:  Boysie Bollinger, Joe Canizaro, Edward Diefenthal, and Lee Domingue.  They joined other business leaders from across the state who gave in excess of $10,000, and retirees and housewives that gave $100 each. 

Lee Domingue is the founder of Cyrus International, an organization that reaches out to those oppressed by human trafficking, the hungry, and orphans.  He and his family attend Healing Place Church, and he also authored a book, Pearls of the King,  laying his past open for inspection, for all to read. 

When an heiress and her attorney felt scorned in a decade-old business deal, and rumors abounded, Domingue put the documentation on his campaign website and spoke openly to the media to clarify the details.  Nothing was hidden by him.  Nevertheless, apparent bitterness on the part of the other parties have taken over their lives to the point that they felt it necessary to work in cooperation with Marsha Shuler, a reporter at The Advocate, to make this front page news.

Meanwhile, nothing negative has been revealed about the other candidate, Dan Claitor, by The Advocate.  

Neither has the newspaper addressed important issues, as they have in every other campaign they have covered in our community and state. 

Did you know that in the archives of The Advocate, Marsha Shuler has written only 27 articles with the words “ethics reform” in over 13 years?  (Dating back to Governor Buddy Roemer’s administration)

But in 4 months, Shular has written 18 articles about the District 16 Senate race, with 15 targeting Domingue.  These are the statistics I stand on when I write about Lee Domingue.

For all of us, it begs the question.  What are they really saying to us? 

What’s really wrong with Lee Domingue?  His faith in God?  His commitment to his family?  His membership at Healing Place Church?  His contributions to support the Governor?  His contributions to ‘Believe in Louisiana’?  His business that employs Louisiana workers?  His willingness to author a book on his past and the effect faith has had on his life?  His openness in discussing a decade-old business deal that the other party is unhappy with?  His transparency?  His honesty?

Gee, aren’t these the very things we have begged for in a candidate?  Have I not read and heard since Edwards went to prison how badly we need reform and candidates that will lay their public and private lives, and business dealings open to the public? 

How much better does it get, folks?

There are times, like these, in life that you just know that you know, regardless of media spin or political operatives, that a man is the right man for the job.  I see no real criticism that has a foot to stand on here. 

What I do see is a man that has given us hope, that with the right kind of impetus, we too can live the American Dream, stand on our faith, be transparent to each other, and believe in and work toward a better day in Louisiana.

When you go to the polls on Saturday, make the right choice, and pull the lever for a man who has given us the full transparency we have longed for in politics.  That man is Lee Domingue.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

What Makes Lee Domingue Tick? Saturday, Mar 14 2009 

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When someone runs for office, I always wonder what makes them tick.  Lee Domingue is running for the Senate seat in District 16 of the Red Stick.  Why are the political pundits and his opposition, Dan Claitor, so frightened of him? 

Research shows that Lee Domingue was chosen as 2008 Business Person of the Year for developing a billion dollar business, App One, out of the basement of a rent house. 

This honor puts Domingue in the league of past winners such as Lee Michael Berg, Mike Wampold, Bob Davidge, Kevin Reilly, Jr., Gary Mockler, Charlie Valluzzo, Tom Sawyer and a barrage of Red Stick community leaders.  The list is like a who’s who of successful individuals, so I took note and thought Domingue must be a guy worth betting on.

Cyrus International was mentioned in the article announcing Domingue as a man who felt a ‘true calling’.  A look at this organization that Lee Domingue and his wife created indicates they have a three prong mission:  Cyrus’s TraffickingHOPE campaign combats human trafficking by providing safe houses, medical care, legal support, rehabilitation and vocational training to victims,  Cyrus’s OrphanHOPE campaign provides relief to orphans by supplying water, food, shelter, clothing and medical aid around the world, and Cyrus’s DreamHOPE campaign works with inner city groups to develop Dream Centers to educate and train youth and give them opportunities to succeed in life.

This equates to Domingue sharing his wealth to effect other’s lives in a positive way which impressed me.  There were other things about Domingue that caught my attention including his faith and self-proclaimed changes in his personal life.  Faith can change everything. 

Both Domingue and Calongne were mocked about their faith in a commentary stating “they appear to be off to a fine christian start”In this same blog, Domingue was specifically targeted as unfit for the office of Senate because his lifestyle changed due to his new found faith in God.  Evidently, the goal was to attack his past and discredit any change.  That was a mistake by the Claitor camp.

It is amazing to me that you can attack someone for a positive change in their life.  It would be like attacking an alcoholic that made a positive change by choosing to no longer drink.  What the? 

All blogging aside, I believe candidate’s lives and records are open for inspection.  However, I do not believe that any candidate’s faith or attendance at ANY church is open for attack.  In fact, here’s a little secret:  Attacking anyone’s faith is ignorant and always backfires.  As they say, Karma is a …..

Let’s be clear, politics is not for the faint of heart.  It is, however, for those strong individuals who hold family and their faith in high regard.  The history of our country has been built upon “In God We Trust”.  Let’s not attack the very foundation on which we stand.  On my About Red Stick Republican page, I list my favorite quote from author Malcolm Gladwell: 

“What must underlie successful epidemics, in the end, is a bedrock of belief that change is possible, that people can radically transform their behavior or beliefs in the face of the right kind of impetus”. 

This is what apparently happened to Lee Domingue.  It begs the question of what legacy we leave behind.

I hope to one day have a conversation with Lee Domingue and tell him that I support the positive things he is doing to make our community and the world a better place.  When time permits, I hope to read his book, Pearls of the King

After looking into Domingue’s past failures, current successes and the mission of Cyrus International, I believe what makes him tick is something District 16 voters need:  A champion that is willing to be transparent, openly share their past, prove that success is possible in spite of past failures and be a living example that we can positively change our world if we are just willing to answer the call.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Senate District 16’s David & Goliath Friday, Mar 13 2009 

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The District 16 Senate race reminds me of the biblical story of David & Goliath.

Claitor, I mean Goliath, was a tall Philistine, and quite the bully.  Every day Goliath would send out the word through his minions attacking and mocking the Israelites while daring them to fight – a somewhat passive-aggressive approach.

Domingue, I mean David, was of small stature, and was a servant to his brothers laboring and sharing with others freely.  David had a brave heart and refused to wear armor in his fight against Goliath.  Instead, armed with simplicity – a simple slingshot and 5 smooth stones he took on the bully.  

David won his battle.  We love David because he was the underdog, and we identify with him because he no one likes a bully. 

Claitor proved himself a bully in the last political race he ran against District Attorney Hillar Moore.  His passive-aggressive stabs at Moore were to no avail.  Insinuations about Moore’s contributions, endorsements and community work with our children lost the race for Claitor.

I do not personally know Domingue or Claitor, but have researched their campaign messages and personal stories. 

Claitor graduated from law school in 1987, became an assistant district attorney in Orleans Parish, and opened a private practice in 1990.  He is a trial lawyer, and told The Advocate that he spends most of his time representing his family’s holdings.  This is his second run for political office in less than one year.

Domingue is an entrepreneur.  He formerly owned an upscale car dealership that folded, and now serves as CEO of Wolters Kluwer/App One –  a business he started in the basement of a rent house that is now extremely  successful.  Domingue is also an author of Pearls of the King, a book that outlines his past personal failures and his faith in God which he says has dramatically transformed his life.  He is also the founder of Cyrus International, a not-for-profit, organization that fights against human trafficking.  This is his first run for political office.

Yesterday the District 16 Senate race took an interesting twist in this ‘battle’ when Laurinda Calongne, the losing candidate in the primary, endorsed Claitor.  This brought on an entirely new definition of political spin:

  • When Calongne ran for Congress, the political pundits attacked her for being a lobbyist and a liberal.  In this same expose’, Calongne’s contributions to democrats such as Blanco, Landrieu and Melancon caused her to be labeled a ‘friend of the Democrats’.  Claims were made that Calongne had spent far too much time in Washington and was ‘out of touch with people in the district’.
  • Just 7 weeks ago, as a candidate in Senate District 16, Calongne was attacked for her ‘missteps’ in the campaign.  She was also mocked, along with Domingue, for attending Healing Place Church and ‘appearing to be off to a fine christian start’.

Calongne must be practicing the old adage of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer? 

Claitor would have beat Calongne into the ground further if he had not felt that Domingue was his strongest competition.   Even given these attacks against Calongne – Claitor and his fellow conspirators now embrace the endorsement of Calongne. 

Is this a logical decision?  No, it is simply politics in its truest form.  The strategy is clear.  Discredit and attack your opponents . . . that is, until they endorse you

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Domingue Continues to Dominate Dist 16 Race Friday, Mar 6 2009 

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The political vultures are swarming around Senate District 16 in hopes that they can swoop down on their prey – the most promising candidate in Saturday’s primary, Lee Domingue.   It’s politics as usual.

One problem:  Domingue, their prey,  is alive, well and still dominating the campaign.  Domingue continues to rise in the polls.  As the election approaches this weekend, it appears panic is ensuing in other political camps.  Desperate people do desperate things.

As WBRZ says, first the facts:

  • Three candidates are vying for Senate District 16’s seat vacated by newly elected Congressman Bill Cassidy:
    • Lobbyist Laurinda Calongne, former congressional candidate;
    • Attorney Dan Claitor, former district attorney candidate; and
    • Author and Business Owner Lee Domingue
  • Domingue rose to the top quickly raising the most in political contributions, which is the mother’s milk of politics, garnered the support of key community leaders, and captured the most sought-after endorsement of republican Governor Bobby Jindal.
  • Before the Lord heard the news, local media and political consultants began weaving a web of deceit that has now completely unraveled: 
    • The Advocate, long time rival of the BR Business Report, authored an article insinuating that candidate Lee Domingue was chosen as businessman of the year because Domingue contributed to Believe in Louisiana, a political organization that supports Jindal.   Other hyperbole suggested that publisher Rolfe McCollister and Governor Bobby Jindal endorsed Domingue for the same reasons.
    • Today, The Advocate retracted this statement acknowledging that the Junior Achievement/Business Report Annual Awards are chosen by an independent panel of members.
    • The truth:  if we require business leaders that have not donated to Jindal or Believe in Louisiana to run for political office, we might be searching for years.  Worst, the only candidates might be democrats!
    • An erroneous email blast was published targeting Domingue insinuating that Dunham School would lose their non-profit status for making pro-Domingue phone calls from their facility.
    • In response to the false allegations, the headmaster of Dunham issued a statement stating that no political activity or phone calls had taken place from their facility. 
    • Dunham’s headmaster further clarified that Domingue’s tie was non-political as a both a Dunham parent and member of their board of trustees.

In politics, this is called last minute desperation.  If it weren’t so sad, it would be laughable.  Of utmost importance, the accusations are false and the record is now set straight.

The real fact remains that Lee Domingue appears to be the most viable candidate to represent the people of District 16.  Perhaps the proof in the pudding is that Domingue has handled continuing accusations with the type of responses that make for a great leader. 

The voters want someone they can identify with, and Domingue seems to be that person.  He has openly shared his past business failures, something most politicians have difficulty admitting – past mistakes.  Better yet, Domingue built another business and uses proceeds to reach out in faith and action to those in need.  

This is the essence of a true leader.  One that serves others. 

While the media and pundits continue to grasp for straws, Domingue grasps for the heart of the voters by showing his vulnerability and ability to pick himself up by the bootstraps and rebuild.  In difficult financial times, this is refreshing and encouraging to all of us.

On Saturday, vote for a leader – vote for Lee Domingue for Senate Dist 16!

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican