State Superintendent of Education John White and Gov. John Bel Edwards have a strained relationship, especially since Edwards said last year he wanted White replaced.
But White praised Edwards’ quick decision earlier this month to endorse revisions to Common Core, which White backs and Edwards has criticized.
The governor, who had the final say on the changes, signed off on the revisions just hours after the House and Senate education committees did so.
“He could have waited two or three months to say he wasn’t going to veto the Louisiana student standards,” White said, a reference to the Common Core academic benchmarks.
“And he said it within hours,” he said of Edwards. “I credit him with putting that issue to bed.”
In a meeting with the editorial board of The Advocate, White was asked about his relationship with Edwards.
“He has been very fair to me, and we have had good conversations,” White said. “Clearly, we have differences on some critical issues.”
He added later, “I think it is fair to say that a line exists that I am really hoping, over the course of the governor’s term, we can kind of resolve.”
White works for the 11-member Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Senators criticize LABI leader
Stephen Waguespack, head of the powerful Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, took a lot of abuse last week from state senators frustrated at the business community’s refusal to line up behind revenue-raising measures they favor.
LABI members have been pressuring Republican House members behind closed doors.
Waguespack pointed out during a Senate committee hearing that during the short special session aimed at filling a $600 million funding gap, the Legislature already approved more than $220 million in tax increases that could help fully fund the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students scholarships and other endangered priorities.
Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee Chairman JP Morrell, D-New Orleans, corrected that popular rhetoric by noting most of that amount is required to be spent on Medicaid, “so, we really only have about $50 million” to cover all the other popular programs.
Morrell jokingly gave Waguespack a pronunciation guide of the committee member names for the attack ads political action committees linked to business groups are making.
Democratic Sen. Yvonne Colomb was less diplomatic.
“You have no answers because you screwed it up,” Colomb told Waguespack. She said her constituents in The Bottoms, a low-income neighborhood between downtown Baton Rouge and the LSU campus, wouldn’t forgive her if she danced around the fact that Waguespack, when he worked for former Gov. Bobby Jindal, was a chief architect of the budgets that even Republicans call a major cause for the current fiscal crisis. (To be fair, a majority of the currently serving legislators approved the arrangements Jindal pushed.)
Waguespack countered that for the greater good, LABI has supported — or at least not opposed — several bills that present challenges to the business community. Yet businessmen are still buffeted for the legislation they won’t support.
“All we get is chastised and yelled at for what we’re not giving,” Waguespack said. “We’re trying our best to protect economic development and jobs.”
Obama OKs local post office name changes
President Barack Obama last week signed two bills naming a Marrero post office after a civil rights hero and a New Orleans post office after a slain police officer.
“Judge Lionel Collins and Officer Daryle Holloway dedicated their lives to making Louisiana a more safe and equitable place,” said U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans and chief sponsor of the legislation.
Collins was a civil rights advocate who was the first African-American elected to public office in Jefferson Parish.
Holloway, a 22-year veteran on the New Orleans Police Department, was killed in June 2015. The prisoner he was transporting is accused of shooting him. Holloway was well known in the 5th District for working with children at Cops for Kids summer camps.
The post office at 5351 Lapalco Blvd., Marrero, will become the Lionel R. Collins Sr. Post Office Building, and the post office at 5919 Chef Menteur Highway, New Orleans, will be known as the Daryle Holloway Post Office Building.
Press Club to host La. homeland security chief
James Waskom, director of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, will address the Press Club of Baton Rouge on Monday.
Waskom will discuss the 2016 hurricane season and give updates on the four presidentially declared pre-hurricane season disasters he already is addressing in his first six months in office.
Press Club meets on Mondays at the Belle of Baton Rouge Hotel, 102 France St., in the East and West Baton Rouge Room.
Parking is free in the garage off Mayflower Street. Lunch, which is served at 11:30 a.m., is $13 for members and $17 for nonmembers.
The public is invited, but only members of the Press Club and the news media are allowed to ask questions.
LSU Faculty Senate chief to be on ‘Engster Show’
LSU Faculty Senate President Kevin Cope will join the conversation on Monday’s “Jim Engster Show.”
Cope will detail the fallout with faculty as a result of severe budget cuts on campus during the past eight years and will assess the impact of a cap on the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students scholarships.
“The Jim Engster Show” airs weekdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on WBRP FM, Talk 107.3 in Baton Rouge and on WSLA, AM 1560 in New Orleans.
Veterans Affairs panel set to hold roundtables
U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-Alto and chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, will participate Monday in two VA subcommittee discussions in Louisiana.
The subcommittee will host a roundtable discussion in Rayville to examine the process of building the Northeast Louisiana Veterans Cemetery and the relationship between the federal and state governments in managing existing veterans’ cemeteries. The roundtable is open to the public. It will be at 10 a.m. at the Richland Arts Center at Rayville High School.
The House VA subcommittee will meet at 3 p.m. in the Pineville City Council chambers to discuss patient care and accountability.
Orleans DA’s Office official to speak
Ralph E. Brandt Jr., chief of the juvenile division for the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office, will address the Pelican State Pachyderm Club on Tuesday.
He’ll discuss crime in greater New Orleans.
The event begins at 7 p.m. at the Quarter View Restaurant, 613 Clearview Parkway, Metairie. The cost is $25 for members, $35 for others and includes dinner. RSVP to email@example.com.
Cuban author to address Pachyderms
Author Humberto Fontova will be the featured speaker Thursday at the Pachyderms of Greater Baton Rouge meeting.
A Havana native, Fontova left Cuba when he was 7 years old. He has appeared on such shows as “The O’Reilly Factor,” “Hannity,” “Fox and Friends,” “Glenn Beck,” “The Dennis Miller Show” and various shows for Telemundo.
His next three books are political: “Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant,” an exposé of Fidel Castro, “Exposing the Real Che Guevara and the Useful Idiots who Idolize Him” and “The Longest Romance.”
The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at On the Border, 2552 Citiplace Court, Baton Rouge. Pachyderm meetings are open to the public.
Reservations are requested. RSVP at (225) 644-5728 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information, visit the Pachyderms on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pachydermsofgbr.
Special session to be topic of luncheon
Leaders With Vision hosts the 21st Annual Reality Check Luncheon on Friday at Ralph & Kacoo’s Restaurant, 6110 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge.
Speakers reviewing the second special session just 12 hours after the Legislature is scheduled to adjourn include Jim Engster, host of a public affairs radio show; Steven Procopio, policy director for Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana; political science professor Albert Samuels, of Southern University; Jeff Crouere, host of the “Ringside Politics” radio show; and Lamar White, CenLamar blogger.
Doors open at 11 a.m., lunch is served at 11:45 a.m. and the program begins at noon.
Cost is $40 per person, payable online, with processing costs, at www.lwvision.org or by check to Leaders With Vision, P.O. Box 4244, Baton Rouge, LA 70802.
Contact email is email@example.com. For up-to-the-minute news from the Louisiana Legislature, state and federal government follow our Politics Blog at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/politicsblog/ or on Twitter, @AdvocateCNB.