U.S. Sen. John Kennedy on Monday reiterated his concerns on New Orleans crime and said that he doesn’t believe Mayor Mitch Landrieu has made the issue a priority.
“What I’ve said to Mitch (Landrieu) is, I’m not saying you’re not a good mayor, and I understand you have national ambitions, and it’s okay if you want to talk about climate change and monuments and the importance, in his opinion, of being a sanctuary city,” Kennedy said in an interview on WWL-TV. “But what I honestly believe, personalities aside, is that the biggest problem we’re facing in New Orleans – a city that I love, that I’ve lived in, that I’ve raised my son in, where I practiced law for years – is crime.”
Kennedy said that Landrieu should spend the rest of his time in office concentrating on the crime issue, which Kennedy said he does not believe the mayor is currently doing.
“I just don’t think it’s a priority for him,” Kennedy said.
The senator, who has repeatedly raised the issue of New Orleans’ crime in recent weeks, said that he supports a “stop, question and frisk” policy for the city, which he said Landrieu may take issue with.
“He sees that through a political lens, and I see that through a law enforcement lens,” Kennedy said. “It can work if it’s properly done.”
Last week, Kennedy decried the “extraordinary crime problem” in New Orleans during the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with Christopher Wray, who President Donald Trump has nominated to lead the FBI. In a follow-up statement, Kennedy said he worries New Orleans could become “the next Detroit.”
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Landrieu responded to Kennedy in a letter, accusing the senator of political grandstanding on the issue.
Kennedy, R-Madisonville, spent 16 years as state treasurer before he was elected to the U.S. Senate last fall. He is considered a potential challenger to Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, in the 2019 governor's race.
Halfway through 2017, more than 350 people have been shot in New Orleans. Last month, the city marked its most violent day of the year with 13 people shot, including two killed.
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