Some club members were honored to be able to join Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) at the home of Friend of the Club Gilda Reed prior to his speech in Kenner on July 26th. An intrepid participant shot some video. Here it is.
Southwest Louisiana’s 27th Senate district is in Calcasieu Parish, including much of the city of Lake Charles. The district had Democratic representation until the 2011 election, when Ronnie Johns, a Democrat-turned-Republican, ran unopposed for the seat. Johns has been an advocate for Bobby Jindal’s budget cuts; the higher education cuts had particularly devastating effects in the district.
The 27th Senate District is ripe for the retaking by a strong Democratic candidate.
- Democrats have a 24% registration advantage.
- Women comprise 55% of the electorate in the district
- African Americans 32% of the electorate.
Ginger Vidrine is that strong candidate. Ginger was born and raised in Southwest Louisiana. Her father often worked two jobs for large and small timber companies. Her mother was a dental assistant. The whole family worked together to keep the large gardens and cows that helped provide for the family’s needs. Ginger is the first generation of her family to attend college. She graduated McNeese State and LSU Law. Today, she’s an attorney practicing family law in Lake Charles.
Ginger is running a modern, data-driven campaign, using polling, direct mail and media consultants who have won the toughest races in Louisiana.
Why does Ginger want to be a state senator?
“My parents taught me that if you work hard and are honest with people you can get far in life. Get an education and you can achieve anything; the American Dream is within reach for everyone in Louisiana. Today, I see the American Dream slipping further away from the average people in Louisiana. More and more, special interests and big corporations have more of a voice in Baton Rouge than the middle class. No matter how hard families try—multiple jobs, both parents working—it seems harder and harder to get ahead. While the cost of college increases for students and their families, tax breaks grow for big business.
“I will go to Baton Rouge and fight every day for hard working folks like my parents. I’ll stand up for people working two jobs to make ends meet, not big corporations and their lobbyists. A fair and even playing field is essential for Louisiana to grow and prosper, for generations now and in the future.”
For more information on Ginger and to contribute to her campaign, see her web site at www.gingervidrine.com.
While members of the Louisiana legislature are elected to represent the people in their own districts, their votes affect the entire state. Between now and the election we’ll be sharing stories about Democratic women running for the legislature around the state. These stories will primarily be about women running to replace Republicans. If elected, they will work for the issues we care about, like equal pay, an increase in the minimum wage, Medicaid expansion, reduction in mass incarceration and comprehensive sex education.
Let’s be frank: right now, campaigns run on money. The reason incumbents win is because they can raise money from the moneyed interests. The women we are writing about don’t have moneyed interests. They can count on help from labor, teachers and in some cases attorneys, but they don’t have big oil or big business in their pockets. With the stories, we’ll include links to their campaign web sites. Any contributions you can make would help.
Get an early start on BlueDat Fest at the St. Tammany Parish Democratic Executive Committee’s Breakfast Fundraiser featuring the dynamic Russel Honore of the Green Army. The event will be held at the Abita Quail Farm from 9-11 a.m. and proceeds will benefit the St. Tammany DPEC’s scholarship program for Leadership St. Tammany/Northshore. Ticket prices are $40 and can be purchased online at http://www.dems4change.org.
Join the Northshore Democratic Women’s Club as we enjoy wine, food, song and shopping. Over 70 purses, new and gently used, designer and casual, funky and fancy, will be offered in a silent auction. Proceeds benefit the Louisiana Environmental Action Network for anti-fracking actions in St. Tammany Parish. Every purse comes with a prize. Men and women, Republicans and Democrats are welcome.
Sunday, August 17th from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Abita Springs Town Hall
22161 Level Street
Abita Springs, LA
Our own GILDA REED and her son Robby had a part in Louisiana’s losing suit to have a MoveOn.org Billboard removed.The billboard calls attention to Gov. Jindal’s decision not to expand Medicaid coverage. It’s not the wording on the sign that’s the legal issue, but the logo on the billboard.
Robby, who had to resign from law school to pay his hospital bills because he is uninsured, testified for the 242,000 Louisianians in the coverage gap.
According to NOLA.COM, Lt.Gov.Jay Dardenne said the national liberal organization improperly mimicked his office’s trade and tourism branding in its satirical billboard posted just outside of the state capital. But U.S. District Court Judge Shelly Dick disagreed Monday, siding with MoveOn.org in stating the group’s free speech rights trumped the state’s case.
The St. Tammany Parish Democrat Executive Committee is seeking applications to receive a partial scholarship to attend one of two upcoming area leadership training classes. The deadline to apply for scholarship assistance is Feb. 20.
Leadership St. Tammany is an independent organization affiliated with Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond that provides leadership skills and increases knowledge of St. Tammany Parish with numerous presentations by community leaders. Many of those serving in elective or non elective positions of parish leadership are graduates of previous Leadership St. Tammany sessions.
Leadership Northshore is sponsored by the East St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce. Its purpose is to assist in preparing emerging community leaders for positions in local government, business and community affairs.
Both organizations conduct classes covering a wide range of topics for emerging community leaders. “These are excellent programs to help future parish leaders to better understand how government works and how they can get involved to make a difference in their community,” said Keith Villere, chairman of the Democratic committee. “The Democratic Party in St. Tammany Parish is pleased to be able to assist future leaders to actively pursue leadership roles in our parish.”
Those interested in applying for the leadership scholarship should contact the Democratic Parish Executive Committee in care of Villere at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (985) 893-0408 in order to receive an application. Applications received after Feb. 20 will not be considered for the upcoming classes. The recipient will be announced at the March 10 meeting of the Democratic committee. Each applicant must be a registered voter and a resident of St. Tammany Parish.
On Jan 30, the U.S. Senate passed legislation that would delay crippling flood insurance rate hikes for middle-class homeowners across the country, including nearly half a million policyholders in Louisiana, and Sen. Mary Landrieu’s leadership on this issue was critical in shepherding the bill through the process.
“Senator Landrieu brought together a strong coalition of Republicans and Democrats to push for reform to the Biggert-Waters Act, which is imposing disastrous flood insurance premium increases for middle-class families in Louisiana and across this country,” said Louisiana Democratic Party Chair Karen Carter Peterson. “As this bill now heads to the House, we hope the leadership in that chamber acts quickly to help the millions of Americans who could face financial ruin if they delay.”
On her Senate web site, Senator Landrieu urges us to contact House leadership and ask them to pass the bill.
A super PAC backing David Vitter’s run for governor is working behind the scenes to ensure corporate special interests have even greater sway in Louisiana elections by fighting to end the state’s $100,000 limit on individual donations.
“If you think there isn’t nearly enough money in Louisiana politics, then David Vitter is the candidate for you,” said Louisiana Democratic Party Executive Director Stephen Handwerk. “His super PAC lawyers are trying every tactic they can imagine to help Vitter’s corporate special interest donors dump millions into the effort to install him in the governor’s mansion.”
The Fund for Louisiana’s Future, a super PAC run by D.C. lawyer Charlie Spies that is supporting Vitter, petitioned the Louisiana Board of Ethics to rule the state’s $100,000 contribution max unconstitutional, a decision the board declined to take last week. During his remarks to the board, Spies raised the threat of a federal lawsuit and hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees to be paid by Louisiana taxpayers.
The board responded that Spies should take the issue up with the state legislature and lobby to repeal the law, but lawmakers are unlikely to support such legislation. Fellow Republican state Sen. Jody Amedee told the Times-Picayune, “I cannot imagine why someone would need to donate more than $100,000.”
The Fund for Louisiana’s Future has already raised $1.5 million with the $100,000 limit.
For more information about Vitter’s record, visit www.vitterforgovernor.com.
Thanks to the Louisiana Democratic Party for sharing this information.
The New Jim Crow Task Force, based at the Northshore Unitarian Universalist Church, is working to reduce the rate of incarceration of Louisiana’s citizens, particularly non-violent offenders. Northshore Democratic Women’s Club member Bonnie Schmidt is co-facilitator of the group. The task force has been actively meeting and studying the issues behind mass incarceration for over a year. As we reported in this week’s Club newsletter, now they are taking action.
- Bonnie and others attended a House Committee Informational meeting on January 21 in Baton Rouge on the legalization of marijuana for medical use. Anita Dugat-Greene wrote a full report on the Task Force’s blog, Equal Justice Louisiana.
- On Thursday, January 23, the ACLU and the Pelican Institute presented Safe and Fair Louisiana: A Panel Discussion on Criminal Justice Reform. To a crowd of over 200 people at the Abita Springs Town Hall, panelists Marjorie Esman of the ACLU, Kevin Kane of the Pelican Institute, and Judge Ricky Wicker of the Louisiana Sentencing Commission discussed the challenges of reform and how citizens can move the discussion forward. See Anita’s full report for all the details of this important event.
Congratulations to Bonnie and to Sandra Slifer of the St. Tammany League of Women Voters, who worked together to do such a great job of putting the Abita Springs panel discussion together.
The next meeting of the New Jim Crow Task Force will be on Sunday, February 23. Details will be on our calendar as the event approaches.