Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Storms Changed Boasso’s Politics

“Once you see dead bodies floating down the streets and people hanging on for help. ... And then you look at where you are years later, it’s hard to believe you live in America.”
– Walter Boasso, Louisiana gubernatorial candidate

Louisiana gubernatorial candidate Walter Boasso (D) explains how hurricanes Katrina and Rita shaped his political outlook in today’s meeting with The Times’ editorial and community boards. He says newspapers have called him a maverick Republican because he votes his conscience. He chose to leave the Republican Party, saying, “My party left me seven days in the water with nobody... My party lied to me.”

Boasso chose to label himself a Democrat “because an independent cannot win in Louisiana.” Listen to the audio stream.

Some points Boasso made during the meeting:
-- Wants a constitutional convention to restructure state government. Among other things, he favors three strong independent branches instead of the somewhat imperial governorship we have now.
-- Wants to pull government apart to look for waste, putting is back together in a more efficient form.
-- Asks: “Why does a teacher have to come every four years and beg for raise?”
-- Sees a hybrid health-care program in our future to provide a safety net (public and private dollars).
-- Wants to mesh technical and community colleges with high schools to provide vocational training and job prep.
-- Wants a different type of accountability in schools. Doesn’t like No Child Left Behind and will put all of the “rules on the side” looking at education reform.
-- Doesn’t see getting rid of income tax as a reality.
-- Believes everyone in elected office should have “glass pockets” to address ethics and corruption.
-- Confronts capital outlay system for funding local projects, sort of.
-- Describes how creating a better barrier system is an immediate plan to protect the shorelines. Would use navy surplus to create reefs.
-- Agrees with major problems dealing with the aftermath of the hurricane. Believes it is the biggest “man-made” disaster ever.
-- What would he say to President Bush? “George, I hope you go home and look in the mirror.”
-- Prioritizes focus as education, health care and jobs.

Boasso has a vision to plug Asian trade into the Mississippi River: “You are going to light Louisiana up like a Christmas tree (48:03 in the audio stream).

09/12/05 (left): State senator Walter J. Boasso and State Rep. Nita Hutter of St. Bernard Parish, and other officials talked to the thousands of residents that came to the State Capitol building seeking information on the parish's condition after Hurricane Katrina. (Times Photo/Shane Bevel/2005)

A Helping of Politics with Breakfast
Louisiana gubernatorial candidate Foster Campbell (D) raised the volume today during the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Group at Brother’s Seafood in Shreveport.

It may have been the bad PA system causing Campbell to raise his voice. He was noticeably passionate about his belief that eliminating income tax as a key to economic prosperity in Louisiana.

Campbell also explained that he believes Louisiana is last in many state comparison categories because we “squander our natural resources.”

He said he would fund gap left by the income tax break by getting more money from the oil and gas giants. To fund projects to address coastal erosion? Campbell said he’d go after those causing the problem, targeting oil and gas again to pay their fair share.

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