Governor’s attitude forced need for lawsuit
If Louisiana expects to see progress, Gov. Bobby Jindal needs to brush up on what ‘democracy’ means.
In the past two weeks alone, Lake Charles Rep. Brett Geymann resigned from the House Natural Resources committee because he disagreed with Jindal and Republican House Speaker Chuck Kleckely due to concerns with the budget; former legislator Vic Stelly resigned from the Board of Regents because of funding cut from higher education; and Rep. Harold Ritchie, D-Franklinton, was replaced as vice chairman of the House Insurance Committee for voting against Jindal’s education tax break bill.
This is on top of a number of replacements Jindal made earlier this year when committee leaders voted against his preferred amendments in the legislative session. Still, others were ousted for speaking against Jindal’s proposals, like Martha Manuel, who lost her job as executive director of the Office of Elderly Affairs (OEA). Manuel’s firing came the morning after she testified against the governor’s proposal to move the OEA into the Department of Health and Hospitals.
It is hard to believe that Jindal has the best interest of the people in mind when he refuses to allow members of his own political party – his supporters – the opportunity to exercise their freedom of speech without fear of retaliation. Especially when some of those individuals express opinions felt by many in Louisiana, you have to wonder why Jindal is being so difficult. It is also difficult to understand how people can be so frustrated with one man’s policies, that they walk away from a position altogether.
While this is Jindal’s last term as governor, he only reassumed office in January; do we have three and a half more years of this behavior to endure?
We are already enduring less than desirable leadership in Washington, D.C. We need our governor to do what is best for us by listening to us. Continuously frustrating or ousting the very people who are playing on his team will not put this state moving in the right direction; it will further cripple us.
This is exactly why a number of school boards from across the state are filing a lawsuit seeking to have Act 2, which provides vouchers and funding that moves students from failing schools into another public or private school; declared unconstitutional. The school boards allege that Act 2 is unconstitutional because it will take public tax dollars and put it into private schools, also stripping some public funds from local school boards. The Jeff Davis School Board, in fact, will vote on whether to join the lawsuit at its monthly meeting tonight.
But this lawsuit would never have began if Jindal and his diehard followers would have listened to the people, educators, lawyers and even elected officials who saw Act 2 as not only unconstitutional, but burdensome to taxpayers. Jindal, however, wanted to rush his education reforms through the legislature and beef up Louisiana’s appearance in the national spotlight.
Hopefully, this lawsuit will give a voice to the people that Jindal refused to listen to.
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