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Edwards can take solace in Alario reelection

Maybe the governorship of Democrat John Bel Edwards hit its high point prior to his taking the oath of office, but it may not go downhill too far or fast depending upon the wiles of legislative leader who already has served two terms in that role under a governor then named Edwards.

State Sen. John Alario gained unanimous reelection for Senate president from his colleagues earlier this week. Just as Prisoner #03128-095, known back then as Gov. Edwin Edwards, held the state’s top office for 16 years, Alario now threatens to do the same in serving as top officer of the House of Representatives, accomplished in non-consecutive terms during the last two terms of Prisoner #03128-095’s reign, and now if completing his term would log two consecutively additionally in the equivalent position in the Senate.

Interestingly, for this final voyage on the hayride he will take the trip, for the first time, as a member of a different political party than the governor. Alario switched from Democrat to Republican prior to his reelection as senator in 2011, after which he would take the Senate’s helm. In some ways it did not seem all that unusual as by then his voting record more often reflected conservativism and reformism. His Louisiana Legislature Log voting record for his last term in the House averaged 35; he registered an average of 61 his first term in the Senate and then posted a 63 during his chamber presidency (100 denotes all conservative/reform votes cast, with 0 meaning none).


Early pedestrian Edwards papers likely best of bunch

Much like when the Khmer Rouge took power in Cambodia over four decades ago, the Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards Administration seems set upon rewriting history to declare the day it took office as beginning the Year Zero, if the first transition team report released serves as any indicator.

The Economic Development Committee's conclusions were followed by the predictable Transportation version, which inevitably and sensibly argued for looking for more efficient use of infrastructure dollars, directing all of them to roads needs, before implementing increased taxation. Naturally, to follow this means putting a greater strain on the operating budget, since some of the money that could go to roads ends up spent on the state police and other matters, but beggaring other parts of state government did not concern this group’s focus only on transportation priorities.

Other than for transportation needs, the economic development recommendations actually may turn out the least controversial of the several documents that will come out over the course of the month. It lauds the state’s Department of Economic Development, citing statistics to position it as a national leader – all without mentioning it made the progress to gain this status through the two terms of former Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal.


Barras win could signal Edwards' term peaked

Did the governorship of Democrat John Bel Edwards peak two hours prior to his swearing in?

Approximately at that time, state Rep. Taylor Barras became Speaker of the House, an unexpected choice combining with a rare contested election for the post. In the past, overwhelming majorities of Democrats elected a Democrat as speaker regardless of the party of the governor. The modern Republican governors, except for former Gov. Bobby Jindal, complied by backing a Democrat both he and the majority found acceptable; Jindal in his first term backed a Republican when neither party had a majority and when the GOP, which would gain that majority over the next four years, trailed Democrats by just one seat.

But Edwards within days of his election publicly announced he would back a promotion for Democrat Speaker Pro-Tem Walt Leger. Not only would this make for the first time in history the party not with a majority not to possess the speakership, but it also would promote to speaker someone from a party with only about 40 percent of the total chamber seats, trailing the majority party in this instance by 19. It would have become an unprecedented foray into House minority rule.


Edwards starts gubernatorial career by flunking speech

In his inaugural address, Gov. John Bel Edwards preached about how Louisiana needed unity, how its diversity need not descend into division, and that he would give the “unvarnished truth” about issues and solutions to pressing public policy problems – and in it proceeded to contradict all of that.

Edwards sprung no surprises in terms of policy preferences; indeed, the familiar bromides he presented played an integral part in the contradictions. His repeating of the statistic often used to mislead concerning pay between men and women, that when looking only at total pay to total workforce, the typical woman makes 66 percent of the amount of money that the typical man does, as something needed some kind of “correction” ignores the mountain of statistics that demonstrate with all intervening factors equal, no significant pay gap exists. In doing so, he promotes division over unity concerning an alleged “problem” that exists only in the minds of ideologues besides dodging the truth of the matter.

He argued as a chief concern raising the minimum wage needs to become a “living” wage, even though fewer than 1 in 100 mature workers earn it, only 1 in 400 serve as a household’s primary breadwinner, that for many of those jobs the minimum wage has risen at a rate five or six times as fast as justified by the gains in worker productivity over the past quarter-century, and that the most widely-used welfare programs pay more than the minimum wage in 35 states – Louisiana included among these. Nothing like trying to unify by starting off stoking some class warfare, is there?