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Jerry Parnell Payne, 1942-2024

In the world of politics, Jerry Payne didn’t particularly care to advertise his own role; he just wanted to get results and usually did.

Anybody involved in electioneering in northwest Louisiana over the past few decades knew of Jerry. He first entered politics through his lifelong and perhaps best friend, Republican former Gov. Buddy Roemer, when Roemer started his political career through election as a delegate to the 1973 Constitutional Convention. Jerry would continue to work with Roemer as the latter ascended the ladder up to the governorship.

Actually, their initial collaboration came in the field of data management. For the first quarter-century or so of his work life, Jerry served as an administrator mainly dealing with systems for tracking and processing financial transactions that would send him out of state for years at a time. For that reason, he never took a role in the Roemer Administration even though he was asked as a significant figure in Roemer’s defeat of Democrat former Gov. Edwin Edwards.


Session must plug holes in LA voting integrity

With Super Tuesday in the rearview mirror, Louisiana’s presidential primary and other elections straight ahead, and the 2024 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature to start soon, now is a good time for Louisiana to review its ballot integrity as other states surpass it on this account.

Historically, the state has done well compared to others in terms of votes cast under the name of an individual being cast by that individual, who is a citizen residing at the address registered. It was one of the early adopters of photo identification and positive identification upon registering and at the polls.

However, while one can register to vote online or mail that mandates eventual photographic identification preferably in the form of a driver’s license or special identification card (which require other documents assuring an accurate identity) also acceptable is any photo ID and some other documentation containing name and address.  Presentation of verified photo ID also isn’t needed when registering at a site that dispenses government benefits and the registerer also receives those benefits.


Events, data validating Landry troop deployment

Critics, including intraparty ones, of Republican Gov. Jeff Landry’s dispatch of state National Guard troops to Texas find their political positioning more tenuous after a recent spate of high-profile arrests of illegal aliens.

Two weeks ago college student Riley Laken in Georgia was murdered, allegedly by an illegal alien (an incident which Democrat Pres. Joe Biden has yet to address even as he promotes legislation named after a habitual criminal), focusing attention on criminal activity by illegal aliens. Under Biden, the U.S. southern border has become particularly porous, with such crossings up 277 percent under Biden compared to predecessor Republican Donald Trump. Unfortunately, this jump during Biden’s third year in office has led to a 257 percent increase in criminal noncitizen arrests compared to Trump’s third year in office; a 319 percent increase in assault, battery, and domestic violence; a 470 percent increase in burglary, robbery, larceny, theft, and fraud; and homicides and manslaughter going from 2 to 62, a 3,000 percent increase.

In response, Landry sent Louisiana troops to aid Texas in its Operation Lone Star, designed to interdict illegal aliens from crossing over state borders that has attracted like support from about a dozen states, for about a month. The estimated cost of this could reach as much as $3 million.


Make deals to reapportion LA Supreme Court

Republican Gov. Jeff Landry’s special legislative session turned out to be a massive success for him, save one goal – to reapportion the state’s Supreme Court. For that to happen during the regular session that starts next week, a little transactional politics may have to occur.

Currently, the seven districts suffer from severe malapportionment. Twice Landry, who has wanted this reapportionment for years, found that part of his 2024 special session calls thwarted by Senate Republican majorities.

The first try was somewhat rushed, provoked criticism from two sitting justices, and had the full Senate, which has a GOP supermajority, stall on it. The second attempt produced a somewhat better map that shifted the Second District, which will be open later this year, over to the east and down the Mississippi River that triggered somewhat less criticism for its rending of parishes (while still doing quite a bit of meandering and damaging, splitting Ouachita, Rapides, East Baton Rouge, and Lafayette Parishes), but GOP senators in committee torpedoed it.


Shreveport Council Democrats aim at Arceneaux

Shreveport Democrats’ plan to have the city’s electorate dump Republican Mayor Tom Arceneaux is fully afoot as they play Russian roulette with the city’s water and sewerage system.

The city remains under a consent decree that will demand hundreds of millions in spending to satisfy. Currently, $310.6 million worth of expenditures deemed critical need completion – most of which the city doesn’t have.

It doesn’t because of voter hesitancy triggered by the untrustworthy performance that featured many questionable spending choices of Democrat former Mayor Adrian Perkins, who on three occasions proposed large bond issues that included requests to fund water and sewerage. Out of around $600 million proposed, all of which involved property tax increases, only a $70.65 million estimated amount that ended up tacking on 2.5 mils for public safety made it onto the ballot and gained voter approval.