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Monday, Jan. 5, 2015

HERE WE GO AGAIN

What’s on tap for us in 2015?

Happy New Year! Good luck with those resolutions. I didn’t make any this year because I never keep them for more than a day or two. Well, I did resolve not to be such a curmudgeon this year, but my friends tell me they are sure that one will go by the wayside pretty quickly.

We begin the New Year with new Mayor Ollie Tyler and a city council with four new faces – Willie Bradford in District A, James Flurry in District E, Stephanie Lynch in District F and Jerry Bowman, Jr. in District G. Returning for a second term are Jeff Everson in District B, Oliver Jenkins in District C and Michael Corbin in District D.

Cedric Glover, the city’s first black mayor, exits after serving two terms. To say the least, he had some contentious relationships with some council members. While he had no monumental accomplishments, his reign was productive in some areas and free of scandal. I personally want to thank him for his service. He was always accessible and always cordial. It will be interesting to see what kind of relationship Tyler is able to cultivate with the council and the media.

At the same time, the Caddo Parish School Board has six new members out of 12. Whether fresh faces and fresh ideas will prove to be a problem for Superintendent Lamar Goree remains to be seen. Goree has been impressive in the short time he has been at the helm of Caddo Parish Schools.

The big political story of 2014 was, of course, the U.S. Senate race. Louisiana voters sent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu packing after serving 18 years as one of the state’s two U.S. senators. She was defeated by Republican Bill Cassidy, who was sworn in Jan. 6. Both Houses of Congress are now controlled by the Republican Party. It should make for an interesting two years with Democratic President Barack Obama still in the White House.

While the U.S. Senate race captured the headlines in 2014, another race in 2015 will take center stage – the race for governor of Louisiana. It’s always a great show to watch. So far, four candidates have declared for the powerful position. Here they are with the latest poll results: Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter (36 percent), Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards (26 percent), Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne (19 percent), and Republican Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle (3 percent). Sixteen percent were undecided.

But the governor’s race is just the tip of the iceberg. All statewide offices are up for grabs and all are held by Republicans. If Dardenne runs for governor, the lieutenant governor’s office becomes an open seat, and there likely will be several candidates vying for the state’s No. 2 job. Also on the ballot for the Oct. 24 primary election will be secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer, commissioner of agriculture and commissioner of insurance.

A spirited race is expected for attorney general where incumbent Buddy Caldwell will seek a third four-year term. Former U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry, a Tea Party favorite from New Iberia, and Marty Maley, an attorney from Baton Rouge, have already announced. 

Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy may run, and others could enter the fray. The outspoken Caldwell is known as a bulldog of a politician, so this race looms as an interesting one.

State Treasurer John Kennedy is hinting that he may run for Secretary of State against incumbent Tom Schedler or he may decide to jump into the governor’s race. If he does either one, it would create an open seat for the treasurer’s job, which would likely attract several candidates.

All state Senate and state House of Representatives offices will also be on the ballot this fall. State Rep. Roy Burrell (District 2) is the only term-limited House member from our area. But two of four area state senators are term-limited – Robert Adley (District 36) and Sherri Smith Buffington (District 38). Those two open seats are surely to add some spice to the local election picture.

However, Jeff Thompson (House District 8) was elected district judge, so his seat is vacant. State Rep. Henry Burns (District 9) is going to run for Adley’s Senate seat, creating another open House seat. And State Rep. Richie Burford (District 7) will run for Buffington’s Senate seat, opening up another House seat. It is not known at this time whether any incumbent area senators and representatives seeking re-election will have opposition. If they do, we should know soon. I will have more on the legislative races in future columns.

Also on the ballot in every parish this year will be races for sheriff, assessor and police juries. In Caddo, it’s commissioners instead of police jurors. Only David Cox is term-limited on the Caddo Commission. Stephanie Lynch would have been term-limited, but won a seat on the Shreveport City Council. There are no term limits in Bossier.

As you can see, it is going to be another interesting election year at the state and local levels in 2015.

ON STANDS NOW!

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