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Duck Dynasty in Congress?

Popular reality TV stars have waded into political waters

The stars of the popular television reality show Duck Dynasty have waded into political waters. The Robertson family has gone public in its support of 5th District Congressional candidate Vance McAllister.

The names and pictures of the stars were featured on a flyer announcing a reception and fundraiser for McAllister, which was held Monday night at the Squire Creek Country Club in Choudrant.

McAllister, a political unknown from Monroe, is in a runoff for the seat vacated by U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander with state Sen. Neil Riser of Columbia, who has the support of Alexander, Gov. Bobby Jindal, and GOP House members of the Congressional delegation.

Will the November 16 election produce a surprise for the established politicians? Perhaps.

McAllister has picked up the endorsements of two other candidates who ran in the primary. Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, a black Democrat who received 15% of the vote, is actively campaigning for McAllister.

And last week, former Congressman and current Public Service Commissioner Clyde Holloway, who got 11%, also endorsed McAllister.

Holloway, in a statement, had this to say:

“All indications are that King Jindal and his political friends tried to anoint a congressman for the people of the 5th Congressional District and rig an election to put into office someone who simply takes orders from Bobby Jindal.” He added, “How this race came about totally stinks.”

Alexander surprisingly gave up his U.S. House seat, where he was dean of the Louisiana House delegation and a member of the powerful Appropriations Committee, to become the Louisiana Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Opponents of Riser contend that Jindal made the appointment and orchestrated a quick election date to give Riser, a Jindal loyalist, an advantage over other candidates. Riser got 32% of the vote in the primary in a field of 14 candidates.

This is an interesting election, which is being closely watched by GOP operatives from Louisiana to Washington, D.C.


Thank you, veterans

As we work on production of the Fax-Net on Monday, November 11, our thoughts and thanks go out to every man and woman who wears and has worn the uniforms of our military forces.

Too often they are out-of-sight and out-of-mind unless we have a family member or friend who is in the military.

I served in the Louisiana Army National Guard and also the Maryland Air National Guard for a total of eight years. But I wouldn’t dare put myself in the same veteran category as those who have been in combat.

So let’s remember those who fought and died for our freedoms and those who fight today to maintain them. Wearing the uniforms of our military gives one a different perspective on life.

I often think about how few of our elected officials have worn those uniforms. If they had, perhaps we would have a more productive and cooperative government at all levels.


Tutt to run for judge

lou BurnettCharles G. Tutt has announced that he will be a candidate for Caddo District Judge, seeking the seat being vacated by Judge Scott Crichton, who is running for the Louisiana Supreme Court.

He was with the law firm of Cook, Yancey, King & Galloway for nearly 20 years before forming his own firm. Tutt has represented the Caddo-Bossier Port for 35 years and for the past three years has been employed by the Port as Director of Legal Affairs.

Tutt becomes the second candidate for for this seat on the Caddo District Court bench. Don Weir, Jr. has also announced he is running.

Qualifying for this election is not until August 2014, so it is possible other candidates could emerge.


Political tidbits

*GOP Women to Meet – The Professional Republican Women of Caddo will hold its montly meeting on Tuesday, November 19, at Savoie’s Catering Place, 2411 E. 70th Street.

Meet and Greet begins at 5:30 p.m. and the program gets underway at 6 p.m.

Guest speaker will be a representative from Blue Cross of Louisiana in Baton Rouge. The subject will be a discussion of the Affordable Care Act.

For more information, call 318-797-0802 or e-mail prwc1989@gmail.com.

*Absentee Governor – An Associated Press report reveals what many Louisiana residents already knew – Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal spends a lot of time outside the state.

Jindal, a possible presidential candidate in 2016 and also the chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association, left the borders of Louisiana 69 times so far this year.

Put another way, the governor has been out-of-state 1 out of every 5 days of so far this year.

Jindal is undeterred. He said in an interview, “I do think it’s possible to chew gum and walk at the same time.” He noted that with today’s technology, he is in constant touch with staff when he is traveling.


Marshaling opposition

Shreveport City Marshal Charlie Caldwell will seek a second six-year term in 2014, but the road to another term will not be an easy one.

He was appointed city marshal in May 2008 after Marshal Jimmy Dove, who held the office for more than a decade, resigned.

In October of that year, Caldwell was elected to a full term, defeating former Shreveport police officer and acting Police Chief Mike VanSant, 53-47%.

City marshals are responsible for courthouse security. They also serve warrants, handle garnishments, evictions and court orders. Deputy marshals do have the legal authority to write tickets and respond to emergency calls.

Two opponents have already announced that they will challenge Caldwell in the 2014 election. They are Don “D.D.” Otis, a retired Shreveport Police Department lieutenant, and Joey Hester, a former Shreveport police officer, who worked in the city marshal’s office, but was terminated by Caldwell.

Caldwell and Otis are African-Americans; Hester is white. Registered voters in the entire city of Shreveport will vote in this election.

Caldwell’s term has been a tumultuous one, nd the veteran law enforcement officer has himself had run-ins with the law. For example, he was stopped by state police on I-20 for doing 111 miles per hour in a 60-mile-per hour zone.

The race is expected to be a contentious one. It is expected that Caldwell’s critics – and opponents — will bring up questionable activities of the incumbent while in office.

KTBS anchor Gerry May recently aired an investigative report which said that Caldwell has used his deputies in an attempt to control employees and outside authorities. Those who objected to his methods were fired.

There have been allegations of financial mismanagement of the city marshal’s office, and Caldwell has been reluctant to release outside audits of his office to the public.

In addition, Caldwell has come under criticism for working security at a downtown night club, and there have been allegations he used a heavy hand in dealing with patrons.

Caldwell insists that he has done nothing wrong and that he has run the city marshal’s office honestly and fairly. The voters, of course, will be the final judge.

An Aside: It was rumored that VanSant was thinking of making another run at Caldwell.


Lou Gehrig Burnett is a seasoned veteran of national and local politics. He publishes Fax-Net Update, a weekly political newsletter.

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