Capitol Buzz: Lawmakers urge calm cooperation for Core _lowres

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--American political commentator and media personality James Carville is all smiles as New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu wins reelection for a second term at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans, La. Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014.

More than three dozen state House and Senate members signed a statement urging “calm and a spirit of cooperation” in the debate over Common Core.

“The extreme rhetoric and negative tone that has come to dominate the debate over Common Core is counterproductive to a successful resolution of the issue in the best interest of Louisiana students,” the lawmakers said in a prepared statement.

“This same negative tone and rhetoric in response to Governor Jindal’s announcement isn’t constructive either,” they said.

The effort was led by state Reps. Brett Geymann, R-Lake Charles and Cameron Henry, R-Metairie, both critics of the new academic standards.

Jindal, a former Common Core supporter, announced a series of steps on June 18 to get the state out of Common Core and the exams that go with it.

The message was signed by 35 House members and five senators.

Group: Report cards influence voting

In the decade since the Louisiana Family Forum’s political action affiliate started publishing a voter’s scorecard, the number of legislators who have gone along with the conservative Christian group has tripled, said Dan Richey, the Grass Roots Coordinator for Louisiana Family Forum Action.

Richey, a former state representative and state senator, told a luncheon for Baton Rouge businessmen Tuesday his experience showed to him that “the biggest fear of a legislator was that his friends, his family, his pastor back home to find out how he has been voting.”

The first year of the scorecard, only 32 of the 144 legislators placed in the top two categories as ranked by where the Louisiana Family Forum stands on various issues. The past year that number was 92, Richey said, adding: “same issues, same arguments and oftentimes the same personalities; different results.”

Carville helps Landrieu raise election funds

Political adviser James Carville made a fundraising push Thursday for U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, saying the Koch brothers are spending millions of dollars to attack her.

Landrieu, D-La., is running for re-election. Her main challenger is U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge.

Republican-aligned groups are pummeling Landrieu in television and web commercials. Americans for Prosperity, or AFP, has spent a chunk of change criticizing Landrieu.

AFP was founded with the financial backing of the billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David.

“The Koch brothers are so rich they buy a new boat when the other one gets wet. But they’re wrong if they think they can buy this election,” Carville wrote Thursday in a letter to Landrieu’s supporters. Carville was a campaign strategist for President Bill Clinton.

Carville asked for contributions of $5 each for his friend Landrieu, saying the attacks against her stick in his throat like a hair in a biscuit.

“This ain’t Mary’s first rodeo. She knew that this was going to be a tough race, but she’s won them before. And she’s been all-in from the start,” he wrote.

Claitor makes run for Congress official

It was no secret around Baton Rouge that state Sen. Dan Claitor planned to run for the 6th Congressional District. Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, just made it official Thursday.

Claitor released a video declaring his candidacy. In the video, music plays in the background as Claitor talks about his family’s small business roots and emphasizes his commitment to helping other small businesses. Claitor also has a website:

The 6th District seat is up for grabs because U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, is running for the U.S. Senate. Claitor faces a crowded field that includes Democrat and former Gov. Edwin Edwards, Republican Paul Dietzel II, Baton Rouge attorney and Republican Cassie Felder and LaPlace real estate broker and Democrat Richard Dean Lieberman.

McAllister pinch hits against Democrat’s ace

When he coaches his son’s baseball team back in his Northeast Louisiana district this weekend, U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister, of Swartz, will be able to boast to the players about his at-bat under the lights Wednesday at Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals major-league team.

OK — he wasn’t playing for a big-league nine, but for the Republican team in the annual congressional charity game. And while that wasn’t Los Angeles Dodgers all-star Clayton Kershaw on the mound, McAllister still drew a pretty tough match-up: U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, of New Orleans, the ace of the Democrats, who pitched them to a shutout victory in last year’s game.

McAllister stepped to the plate in the sixth inning, pinch-hitting for U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, of Kentucky.

Richmond, as McAllister told it Thursday, started him off with a curve that broke over the plate for strike one.

Next came a fast ball, and McAllister swung and missed for strike two. Richmond, in a collegial gesture, asked McAllister what pitch he wanted next, and McAllister requested another fast ball.

In came a high hard one, and McAllister connected solidly and drove the ball into the outfield, sending two runners home.

But it was too little, too late, as the Democrats — despite the shortstop play of Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, of New Orleans — recorded their sixth straight win in the series, 15-6. Richmond pitched the whole game, which was halted in the top of the seventh inning because of threatening weather.

Jindal son, team get VIP tour of Capitol

Slade Jindal’s baseball teammates got a VIP tour of the State Capitol on Friday. Gov. Bobby Jindal welcomed his son and the team into his office on the fourth floor.

“Congrats to Slade and the Sharks baseball team on a great season!” the governor tweeted afterward, along with a photo of the team with trophy in his office.

State Troopers honor four for funding help

The Louisiana State Troopers Association recently honored four legislators.

State Sen. Neil Riser, R-Columbia; state Rep. Chris Broadwater, R-Hammond; House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles; and state Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Bossier City, picked up awards for assisting with funding for State Police operations.

“All four of these gentlemen deserve more gratitude than we can possibly bestow on them for their service to Louisiana’s state troopers. Their determination and commitment helped us to reach goals that we have strived to attain for many, many years,” said Lt. Frank Besson, the trooper association’s president.

CABL leader to speak Monday at Press Club

Barry Erwin, president and CEO of the Council for a Better Louisiana, will be the speaker for Monday’s meeting of the Press Club of Baton Rouge.

Erwin’s topic will be “Sorting Out the Mess of Common Core.”

The Press Club meets in the Iberville Room at the Belle of Baton Rouge Hotel, 102 France St. Parking is free in the garage off Mayflower Street. Lunch, which is served at 11:30 a.m., is $12 for members and $15 for nonmembers. The public is invited, but only members of the Press Club and the news media are allowed to ask questions.

Barrow to hold community meeting

State Rep. Regina Barrow will be having a community meeting Tuesday to recap the 2014 legislative session.

Barrow, D-Baton Rouge, posted on Instagram that the meeting will be at 6 p.m. at the BREC community center at 8200 Maplewood Drive.

Ag head to speak to Republican women

La. Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain will address the Livingston Parish Republican Women Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.

The meeting will be held at BIG MIKE’S, 123 Aspen Square, which is just north of I-12 off of Range Ave.

The public is welcome to attend. There is a charge for lunch, reservations are recommended and may be made by contacting Terri Day at 931-9206 or e-mail