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PRESIDENTIAL IMPACT OF LOUISIANA

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Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

New Orleans, Louisiana

PRESIDENTIAL IMPACT OF LOUISIANA

SLIPPING AWAY

With the current Louisiana legislative session already one fourth over, there has been, so far, little interest in moving the state’s presidential date from the current date of February 10th. And if this date holds up, Louisiana will drift into oblivion as far as presidential politics is concerned.

The big super primary date is now February 5th, when some 20 states will hold there primaries. And the big states are part of this number including New York, Texas and California. But other states have moved their respective elections even further up. Florida has jumped to January 29th, and the South Carolina legislature is considering a mid January date. New Hampshire’s Secretary of State said last week that he has not ruled out a December date of this year. And a number of states are considering moving their primaries up even earlier.

All this plays well for Louisiana. It is the only state in the country that has a late 2007 election already scheduled. A run off in the fall statewide election is set for November 17th. Therefore, instead of wasting over a million dollars in election costs, the Bayou State could be the first in the nation to have a vote on who will be the nominees of each party.

It need only be a beauty contest. Both Republicans and Democrat could hold caucuses in the spring of next year to pick their respective delegates. But as far as giving the nation an indication of how voters are thinking nationally, Louisiana could, at no cost, be the first state to hold a presidential primary.

It would be an understatement to say that the candidates from both parties would flock here. It’s the first chance to build momentum and show strength. A number of candidates form both parties have made regular forays to Louisiana in recent weeks. Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Romney, Giuliani. All have come to acknowledge the Katrina debacle from the past and pledge to be more supportive on the state’s recovery efforts in the future. None of the candidates could pass up making a significant campaign effort in Louisiana

Here’s what the speaker of the Florida House of Representatives had to say in commenting on Florida moving its primary up to next January: “Moving up the primary would force presidential candidates to pay more attention to issues that are important locally, like soaring property insurance rates.” Hello! Sounds what Louisiana officials should be saying.

It would seem to be a no brainer, particularly on the part of Democrats. Obama on the ballot would no doubt be an encouraging way to turn out more African American voters.

But so far, no legislator has taken this date issue on as a cause celebre.

It looks like more important concerns like cock fighting have keep our elected body in Baton Rouge to dismiss the minor issue of having the whole nation focused on the state’s choice of the next president. The Louisiana Legislature certainly has its priorities in order.

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Cox Cable in Louisiana has teamed up with the Council for a Better Louisiana to produce an excellent series on key issues the state faces as the 2007 fall gubernatorial election draws near. “Focus on Louisiana” will provide non-partisan examination of what improvements the state needs to make in the years to come. You can check your local Cox listings for programs that repeat throughout the week, and they are also streamed at www.cabl.org. A good way to learn a great deal about what Louisiana needs to do to stay competitive.

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There are those who are so scrupulously afraid of doing wrong that they seldom venture to do anything. ~Vauvenargues

Peace and Justice

Jim Brown

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