Saturday, September 12, 2015

LaBruzzo’s “Surprise”

NOTE: For the record, I have known John LaBruzzo for easily 10+ years. I have campaigned for him and contributed to his prior campaigns. I’ve known Conrad Appel for some time as well, although I have never campaigned for him or contributed to him. I’ve also known Polly Thomas for many years and campaigned for her and contributed to her in the past. So, now you know.

Ok, now that the obligatory disclosures are out of the way, I have some explaining to do. I know it’s been awhile since my last post. Needed a little break and wanted to stop the rumors that I would be running for something this October (although I can’t believe y’all let Cynthia Sheng get appointed to Council-At-Large without an opponent – shame on you…).

Yeah, it seems like every time I criticize someone, some folks crawl out from under their rocks and claim that I’m attacking them personally because I want their job. Now, some of you are going to believe what you want to believe but, trust me, NOTHING, NOTHING could be further from the truth.

I am critical of elected officials, and folks not elected as well, when I think they are wrong on an issue or, in the case of Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni, wrong on MOST issues.

But more about the fake Conservative Republican Family Values Name Changer-In-Chief later, today we are talking about John LaBruzzo.

Many political insiders were surprised when the former State Rep decided against seeking the JP Council seat that he had announced for and instead qualified for the 9th District Senate seat held by incumbent Conrad Appel.

Appel won a runoff against Polly Thomas, who also qualified for the Senate seat, in 2008 to serve the remainder of now Congressman Steve Scalise’s term. Appel was re-elected in 2011 without opposition.

To be fair, I think Conrad Appel is a very nice man with a nice family. He and his wife have always been very cordial to me. When I’ve had a question about an issue or a position, Conrad has always returned my call or gone on the radio with me, even when he knew I was on the opposite side. You have to respect that – most elected officials duck and cover when their assistants tell them I’m on the phone or dodge my emails.

Unfortunately, I haven’t contacted Senator Appel very much in the 7 years that he’s been in the State Senate and therein lies the issue. If I’m calling legislators in Cenla more than I’m calling a Jefferson Parish State Senator, especially a Republican (and, no, John Alario is as much a Republican as Mike Yenni – sorry for bringing up the Fake Conservative Republican Family Values Name Changer-In-Chief again, but it’s true and I just can't stop myself from continuing to point out hypocrisy) that’s a problem.

The fact is, in 7 years, aside from being Pro-Business and quiet as a mouse as Louisiana’s budget has increased (definitely not a Conservative trait - by the way, have I mentioned lately how Kenner's budget has increased and government grown despite the people of Kenner not approving Yenni's plan to double property taxes? ) and being on the wrong side of Common Core, I can’t point to anything substantive that Appel has done.

Perhaps that’s not a fair commentary. Maybe it’s a good thing that we don’t hear more from our state legislators. Maybe Senator Appel went to Baton Rouge in 2008 and said, “You know, I agree with that Walt Bennetti guy that we already have too many damn laws so I’m not going to propose any new ones.”

Nah, I don’t think he said that either.And he has proposed bills and gotten them passed. Can't tell you what they accomplished though.

On the flip side however, you know John LaBruzzo has put his name on several controversial issues. Now, whether that was by design to make a name for himself or whether he actually believes his ideas are best for Louisiana, is not for me to say.

But, let's look at a couple instances where LaBruzzo and Appel are on opposite sides: 

Should people receiving government assistance who aren’t working be drug tested? Yeah, I think so. They would be drug tested if they were employed.

Should there be harsher criminal penalties for violent offenders? No debate from me.

Should the Federal and State Governments get out of the education business and anything related to 
Common Core be repealed? Absolutely.

Those three issues are state issues and they are John LaBruzzo’s issues. He couldn’t tackle any of those if he was on the Jefferson Parish Council.

So, was I surprised when LaBruzzo qualified to run for State Senate against a Republican who isn’t really Conservative and is on the wrong side of a major issue like Common Core? Not at all, in fact, I was scratching my head when LaBruzzo said he was running for Parish Council.

And, to be honest, when it comes to John LaBruzzo, not much could surprise me.

Running against an incumbent like Appel and a very well-known fellow Republican like Polly Thomas is no easy task. Thomas was barely defeated by Appel in 2008 and has been active in the Republican Party and community groups since then.

But, if anyone is up for a fight it is John LaBruzzo and I wouldn’t bet against him.

Buckle up residents of Senate District 9 – it’s going to be an interesting 6 weeks.