Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bobby Jindal Poses 'Last Chance' For Louisiana

Gubernatorial candidate Bobby Jindal speaks like a sportscaster staring down a commercial break when discussing what needs to change in our state. No doubt, he’d lap candidates if the race were based on words-per-minute.

I stopped trying to write quotes verbatim during his session with The Times' editorial and community boards, grateful he was wearing a microphone (streaming file). And it recorded an anecdote he called an “off-the-record conversation.” I guess he forgot he was wearing "a mike”… or did he?

Jindal is deadline-oriented as he rattles off statistics and various layered plans for change. He is placing those plans on his site.

You’ll understand why he got the “boy wonder” nickname when you listen to the session audio (streaming file). You’ll hear Jindal stress how much he believes this moment in time -- this election combined with the attention and investment following the storms -- is Louisiana’s “last chance” to get it right after so many mistakes.

Some highlights:

  • Laying out his 31-point plan for ethics reform. This is his no. 1 priority; he understands our negative reputation as a top impediment to luring companies and growing our economy. He suggested the Legislature had a chance to crack down on corruption and “dropped the ball.” He is dedicated to starting with a special session on ethics.
  • Putting a stop to out-of-control spending in Baton Rouge. He wants to ensure transparency in spending bills so the public knows what projects are being done.
  • Talked about what is wrong with health care in Louisiana, mentioning the need to double the R&D tax credits. And he answers a question from Times Community Board member Dr. Ricky Bass about money following the patient concepts.
  • Changing the higher education funding apparatus to help institutions like LSUS and discourage duplication. He wants to change the ways they are rewarded. He said the future should include more appropriate admissions standards and praised Louisiana Tech for a “risk” it took limiting admissions – and thus enrollment-based funding – years ago.
  • Explaining why he is “NOT a fan of No Child Left Behind.”
  • Expressing a hope to move closer to a no-state-income-tax model.
  • Calling the most recent legislative session and spending “irresponsible.” He suggests some of the surplus should have been put into a highway trust fund. He calls the spending spree “wild.”
  • Reiterating priorities for I-49.
  • Reporting Cyber Command possibilities and potential. He shares his thoughts on how Cyber Command might stem the loss of young people from the region.

Barrels of information and ideas were packed into the just-over-an-hour session. His speaking mode mirrors the urgency he declares. This can be energizing … and intimidating to some. Just listen to the Jindal audio (streaming file). Consider comparing the candidate audio files to go beyond sound bites and commercials. Learning about the candidates is a process. (John Georges audio, available as a stream too.)

Candidate Walter Boasso is coming next week. After canceling his session, candidate Foster Campbell has yet to reschedule. A list of all the open races in the Oct. 20 election will be published Sept. 2 in The Times .


trudeau said...

Audio streaming adds a smart dimension to reporting. Your Jindal interview may be my base for comparison in the governor's race.

MS said...

So did you put his "off the record" comment on the record?

The Times said...

He was speaking to 12 people with 5 live microphones. The group was comprised of citizens, editors and reporters. He was wearing a live microphone.
Going "off the record" is not easily done in this format. He didn't give anyone time to agree, disagree or respond. Listen to the audio.
Candidates can't go "off the record" at a whim in these gatherings, and experienced politicians know this. Bobby Jindal's years in politics should provide the savvy.
Off-the-record conversations are a two-way street, opened only when all parties agree.