The Jindal family went camo for Christmas this year.
The family’s official Christmas card features Gov. Bobby Jindal, his wife, Supriya, and their kids sitting in an ATV, wearing camouflage hunting regalia in the wilds of the Governor’s Mansion grounds.
“Oh what fun — May your Christmas be filled with joy and laughter,” the card says.
Jindal recently aligned himself with the Robertson family of “Duck Dynasty” fame. The once extremely popular reality television program follows the lives of a West Monroe family who became rich selling duck calls.
Late last year, Jindal came to the defense of the family’s patriarch, Phil Robertson, who was quoted in a national magazine as saying that gay sex was like bestiality and that African-Americans were happier before the civil rights movement.
Since then, Jindal appeared on the show, gave the Robertsons an award and bragged about how much his children liked the show. Recently, Jindal has been tweeting photos of his family toting guns.
First lady Supriya Jindal came up with the idea for the card, according to Jindal’s press office. Though the first lady has never hunted, she is acquiring a license and has shot skeet.
Hunting is an important consideration for Louisiana’s chief executive.
Mike Foster, whose wealthy planter class family includes a governor in the late 1800s, showed many images of himself hunting and fishing.
Kathleen Blanco also had snapshots at the ready. Part of her family tradition includes a trip to duck blinds at Christmas.
Maness launches recruitment PAC
Failed Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rob Maness is staying in the political arena.
Maness, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, has launched a political action committee.
GatorPAC is registered with the Federal Election Commission. According to Maness, the committee’s purpose is to help recruit conservative activists committed to accountability in government and constitutional principles.
“Running for office was never about me, and it never will be — it’s about us, our country and becoming an active voice for conservative solutions,” Maness wrote. “The reality is Washington is a swamp, career politicians are the Gators and I believe it is time to drain the swamp!”
Supporting Maness’ initiative are fellow GOPers Louisiana U.S. Sen. David Vitter, U.S. Sen.-elect Bill Cassidy and Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas.
Vitter will headline GatorPAC’s first fundraising event in 2015.
Vitter tops poll tracking La. governor’s race
Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter leads a new poll out on the Louisiana governor’s race.
But the poll, conducted by the Baton Rouge-based Southern Media and Opinion Research, also finds that Vitter is the most polarizing figure in a hypothetical match-up against fellow Republicans Scott Angelle and Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards.
According to the poll, the governor’s race — nearly a year out — would end up in a runoff between Vitter and Edwards.
“Vitter receives an 80 percent positive job performance from his Republican base,” the SMOR report notes. “Vitter’s 67 percent job approval rating from white voters contributes to his strong poll numbers projecting him as the early favorite to succeed as Louisiana’s next governor.”
Asked to rate the favorability of the four candidates tested, about 52.2 percent of the survey’s respondents had a positive view of Vitter. About 40.4 percent said they find him unfavorable.
Dardenne was rated most favorably at 58.1 percent. Angelle, a member of the Public Service Commission, suffers from a lack of name recognition.
The statewide poll, conducted Dec. 9-11, is based on telephone interviews (landline and cellphone) of 600 likely Louisiana voters. It was funded by private subscribers, according to SMOR.
The margin of error is 4 percent.
Landrieu stump one of many stops for Clintons
Bill and Hillary Clinton each made trips to Louisiana this election season to campaign for Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu’s — ultimately unsuccessful — re-election bid. The former president was the featured guest at events in both New Orleans and Baton Rouge, and the former secretary of state held events in New Orleans and New York City to benefit Landrieu.
Landrieu was just one of several candidates for which the duo hit the campaign trail this election cycle. Politico.com looked into the travel tab across the board and found campaigns and political committees spent more than $1.5 million on private jets to fly in the Clintons during the midterm elections.
That includes $21,801 charged to Landrieu’s campaign one weekend, Politico reports.
BESE may tackle teacher eval changes
State Rep. Frank Hoffmann, R-West Monroe, said possible changes in how public school teachers are evaluated may be tackled by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education rather than the Legislature.
The Legislature overhauled the evaluations through a 2010 law sponsored by Hoffmann.
One of the key features requires reviews for some teachers to be linked to the growth of student achievement — 50 percent — as well as traditional evaluations by principals — 50 percent.
Hoffmann said a state panel is considering changes, including giving more weight to the views of principals and less on gains in student achievement.
Senate Education Committee Chairman Conrad Appel, R-Metairie, said he has reservations about giving principals more say-so in how teachers are rated.
Appel said when teacher reviews rested solely with principals, more than 98 percent of teachers were routinely rated as satisfactory.
A subcommitee of the Accountability Commission, which advises BESE, is supposed to make its recommendation on teacher evaluations by Feb. 15.
Debate slows rollout of diploma law
A new state law that overhauls Louisiana’s special education setup has had one of the rockiest rollouts of any legislation in years.
The measure is supposed to make it easier for some students with disabilities to earn a high school diploma.
Exactly how to do that is causing problems and accusations on who is to blame.
Some backers claim that the state Department of Education has failed to provide enough guidance to local school districts.
State Superintendent of Education John White says the law affects multiple parts of a system that has resisted change for 40 years.
New plans for special education students were supposed to be in place 30 days after the start of school.
The new, unofficial deadline is January.