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Louisiana Democratic Party Statement on the 6th Anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

BATON ROUGE — Louisiana Democratic Party Chair Karen Carter Peterson today released the following statement on the 6th anniversary of President Barack Obama signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law:

“It’s hard to believe that it’s already been six years since President Obama signed the first law of his administration, but I’m so proud it was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. That action was a strong statement about our core Democratic values of fairness and opportunity for all.

“Unfortunately, since that time Republicans have stonewalled any attempt to continue progress on the issue of paycheck fairness. Meanwhile, Louisiana women have fallen further behind. Our state has the pitiful distinction of having the worst gender pay gap in the nation — but our Republican members of Congress, including David Vitter and Bill Cassidy, have consistently opposed any attempt to address this critical issue.

“Louisiana women deserve better. Louisiana families deserve better. They deserve leaders that understand the wage gap hurts middle-class families and holds back our state’s economic potential. Because congressional Republicans have refused to act, Democrats in the Louisiana legislature will continue to stand up and fight for equal pay.”

Every single member of Louisiana’s delegation that was in Congress in 2009 voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act:

  • Vitter – NO

(S. 181, Vote #14, 1/22/09)

  • Cassidy – NO

  • Scalise – NO

  • Boustany – NO

  • Fleming – NO

(S. 181, Vote #37, 1/27/09)

In addition, Gov. Bobby Jindal voted against Lilly Ledbetter legislation when he was serving in the U.S. House (H.R. 2831, Vote #768, 7/31/07).

In 2014 the American Association of University Women (AAUW) ranked Louisiana as the worst state in the nation for pay inequity. The national gender wage gap is 78 cents on the dollar; however, Louisiana women earn just 66 cents for every dollar paid to Louisiana men. It’s even worse in Boustany’s 3rd Congressional District, where women only earn 61 cents on the dollar.


Jindal Using State Resources to Campaign for President?

Louisiana’s Governor Ignores Growing Budget Deficit to Make Political Speeches in Europe

BATON ROUGE — Gov. Bobby Jindal hasn’t announced he’s running for president (yet), but he’s heading to London to deliver a speech bashing Hillary Clinton — and he’s using taxpayer-funded resources to help promote what appears to be an entirely political speech.

“We’ve known for a very long time that Governor Jindal spends most of his waking moments advancing his political future, rather than doing the job that Louisiana taxpayers are paying him to do,” said Louisiana Democratic Party Executive Director Stephen Handwerk. “Now it’s becoming clear that Jindal has no problem with using state employees and resources to advance his political future. Despite all of the crises facing Louisiana right now, Jindal is jetting off to Europe to burnish his foreign policy credentials. There is simply no acceptable reason why the governor’s official press office should be working overtime to promote what is essentially a campaign speech.”

According to a Tweet from reporter Julia O’Donoghue, Jindal’s official press office today sent out an email blast to reporters touting a preview of his London speech. The preview indicates the speech is entirely about foreign policy — which may be helpful for a 2016 presidential contender, but has nothing to do with Jindal’s gubernatorial portfolio.

Jindal’s political travel isn’t limited to international destinations, however. Louisiana’s governor has been spending significant time in Iowa, New Hampshire and other states. Jindal’s out-of-state travel from 2008 to 2012 cost Louisiana taxpayers more than $175,000 to cover the governor’s security detail. While Jindal may be using campaign funds to cover some of the costs of his political travel, some have suggested using state campaign dollars for a nascent presidential campaign could violate campaign finance laws.

Jindal’s European jaunt is happening even as Louisiana is facing a billion-dollar budget shortfall in the upcoming fiscal year. The Jindal administration recently announced it is planning to slash higher education funding by up to $300 million. Louisiana has already cut funding for public colleges and universities by nearly $700 million during the Jindal administration. Jindal is also demanding a $3.8-million cut to administer Louisiana’s elections.


Five New Year’s Resolutions for Congressman Steve Scalise

BATON ROUGE — While Congressman Steve Scalise has acknowledged speaking to the European Unity and Rights Organization and admitted the decision to address the hate group was “a mistake I regret,” Scalise has to date failed to offer any actions that demonstrate remorse.

“Words are nice, but they should be just the first step in Congressman Scalise atoning for this egregious lapse in judgment,” said Louisiana Democratic Party Executive Director Stephen Handwerk. “If we are to take him at his word that he opposes ‘hateful bigotry,’ then he should accompany those words with action. There are many issues that deserve urgent attention from the House GOP leadership to improve the lives of African Americans in Louisiana and across the country. We expect Congressman Scalise to lead on these issues.”

As the 114th Congress convenes this week, the Louisiana Democratic Party offered the following New Year’s resolutions for Congressman Scalise:

  1. I, Representative Steve Scalise, hereby resolve to sign on as a cosponsor to bipartisan legislation that would restore and strengthen the Voting Rights Act.

  2. I, Representative Steve Scalise, hereby resolve to support legislation that would expand access to affordable health care for Louisianians trapped in the “Jindal gap” and others who have been blocked from coverage in states that have refused to accept federal Medicaid expansion dollars.

  3. I, Representative Steve Scalise, hereby resolve to work to restore funding for historically black colleges and universities.

  4. I, Representative Steve Scalise, hereby resolve to ask the House GOP leadership team to bring up legislation to increase the minimum wage.

  5. I, Representative Steve Scalise, hereby resolve to ask the House GOP leadership team to bring up legislation to ensure paycheck fairness for all Americans.



Louisiana Democratic Party Statement on Revelations on Congressman Steve Scalise

BATON ROUGE — The Louisiana Democratic Party released the following statement from Executive Director Stephen Handwerk on today’s revelation that Congressman Steve Scalise has acknowledged addressing a conference of white nationalist leaders in 2002:

“It’s disturbing to learn that Congressman Scalise has admitted that he spoke to an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center has deemed a hate group and the Anti-Defamation League characterizes as anti-Semitic.

“It’s even more disturbing to hear that his allies are trying to sweep this incident under the rug by blaming Scalise’s staff and claiming the then-state representative didn’t know the group’s ideology. That’s ridiculous. There were media reports running up to the event that made it crystal clear who was going to be the highlight — David Duke, a prominent Louisiana Republican that made an unsuccessful run for governor just a few years before and represented Scalise’s home parish in the state legislature in the 1980s. If someone in Louisiana didn’t know about David Duke’s beliefs in 2002, they must have been hiding under a very large rock somewhere.

“Which leads to some uncomfortable questions… Who exactly invited Scalise in the first place? Was it David Duke? Duke addressed the group via tele-conference. Wasn’t Scalise present during Duke’s remarks? And what exactly did Scalise say that so impressed the attendees that they were raving about his appearance several years later? Has he accepted any subsequent invitations from the group? Has he accepted any campaign contributions from the organization’s members? Voters deserve answers to these questions.

“I wish I could attribute Scalise’s appearance to ignorance or ineptitude, but his excuses ring hollow. The congressman should address this controversy for once and for all, in person, not through allies, spokespeople and press statements, and he should apologize for helping to legitimize a group that should be marginalized and denigrated, not wooed by elected officials. This is a serious stain on Scalise’s record as a public servant, that he spoke to a hate group and now lacks the courage to face the voters and make amends for such an egregious lapse in judgment.”


Louisiana Citizen Files Ethics Complaint Against Congressman Bill Cassidy

BATON ROUGE – Dr. Gilda Werner Reed, a faculty member at the University of New Orleans, today filed a formal complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics, urging the office to investigate whether Congressman Bill Cassidy violated House rules and federal law by “filing inaccurate personal financial disclosures and misreporting the nature of his outside earned income.” The complaint comes a week after media reports unveiled Congressman Cassidy has been receiving salaries for two taxpayer-funded jobs, despite not working the hours he was paid for.

“These recent reports have shown that not only did Congressman Cassidy charge taxpayers more than $100,000 for work he did not do, he may have also lied to the U.S. House of Representatives to cover up a legal and ethical breach,” Dr. Reed said. “Congressman Cassidy’s actions are more than a betrayal of public trust by a public official — they are illegal, and the seriousness of this betrayal should not be understated.”

In addition to drawing a salary that he did not earn, the recently disclosed documents also expose that he may have misled the U.S. House of Representatives about how he was making extra money. According to the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, violating these rules can result in up to $50,000 in penalties and one year in prison, which can go up to five years imprisonment if a member willfully makes false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements to the federal government.

The letter to the ethics office outlines two primary charges: that Congressman Cassidy misreported the nature of his income and misreported the source of his income.

Congressman Cassidy’s personal financial disclosure forms have said he receives $20,000 per year from the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC). On his 2012 and 2013 forms, Congressman Cassidy claimed the money only covered his expenses and that he did not “profit” from it. When questioned about those expenses, his office explained he meant his medical malpractice insurance. But a letter from the House Committee on Ethics that surfaced last week, as well as reports in the media, found that based on what Congressman Cassidy told them, LSUHSC already covers medical malpractice insurance and other expenses, and that the $20,000 per year salary was in addition to all of that — a direct contradiction to his financial disclosure forms.

The letter also explicitly states that Congressman Cassidy may only receive compensation for the responsibilities of his teaching position, and that he cannot earn income from serving as a consultant to LSUHSC. But, according to media reports, Congressman Cassidy’s former direct supervisor has told the media that Congressman Cassidy has been working as an “outside consultant for the school,” which would be a breach of the House Committee on Ethics’ guidelines.

The letter is addressed to the Office of Congressional Ethics, which is an independent, nonpartisan office governed by a board of private citizens. The office reviews allegations of misconduct by members of the U.S. House of Representatives and recommends whether there is need of further review by the House Committee on Ethics.

The full letter to the committee can be seen here:


Louisiana Democratic Party Statement on Congressman Cassidy Campaigning with Phil Robertson

BATON ROUGE — The Louisiana Democratic Party released the following statement from Chair Karen Carter Peterson on the announcement that Congressman Bill Cassidy will be campaigning with Phil Robertson, who told GQ magazine last year that African Americans were “singing and happy” during the Jim Crow era.

“If the Louisiana Republican Party is serious about reaching out to African Americans, then doing campaign events with Phil Robertson, who espouses the disturbing belief that Jim Crow wasn’t so bad for people of color, is a curious way of doing that. Perhaps Robertson never saw ‘the mistreatment of any black person,’ but the people he’s so proud to have worked alongside were barred from exercising the most basic right accorded to all Americans — the right to vote.

“Mr. Robertson is a colorful character, and he’s entitled to shout his opinions from the rooftops. He is a reality TV star, after all. But this is a political rally, and Congressman Bill Cassidy should be ashamed to be providing Mr. Robertson with a stage and microphone to spread his political beliefs further than rooftop ranting would allow. If Cassidy insists in standing with Robertson, the voters of Louisiana are at least entitled to know if Cassidy shares Robertson’s beliefs.”


Gov. Bobby Jindal Continues Beltway Schmooze Fest with Speech at American Enterprise Institute

BATON ROUGE – Even though his own constituents — by a 68-20 percent margin — think he should not run for president, Gov. Bobby Jindal is continuing to court D.C. insiders and Beltway pundits with today’s speech at the American Enterprise Institute, where Jindal doubled down on the same failed foreign policy of the Bush Administration.

“This governor has been an abject failure on nearly every policy he has tried to implement, and the people of Louisiana can’t wait for him to leave the governor’s mansion,” said Karen Carter Peterson, chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “The irony of him offering foreign policy advice is astounding. From what I can tell, he wants to take us back to the Bush-Cheney doctrine of endless wars put on a credit card, saddling future generations with debt and deficits. The taxpayers of Louisiana are well-acquainted with Jindal’s fiscal irresponsibility, and today’s speech is simply more of the same.”

Some of Jindal’s latest and greatest in-state achievements include:



Governor “47 Percent” Hangs With Doctor “Illiterate” Today for French Quarter Fundraiser

BATON ROUGE – Two-time failed presidential candidate Mitt Romney is headed to the Pelican State today to rake in the dough for Congressman Bill Cassidy at a high-dollar New Orleans fundraiser.

“There’s no telling what Congressman Cassidy and Governor Romney will discuss at their French Quarter shindig today, but I’m 47 percent sure it won’t be about what Louisiana families actually need,” said Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “They need a fair minimum wage and equal pay for equal work. They need to be able to retire at a reasonable age and access the Social Security and Medicare benefits they’ve paid for. Congressman Cassidy and Governor Romney think it’s not their job to worry about those things, but they couldn’t be less educated about what’s really important to working families in Louisiana.”

A fundraiser was the setting for Romney’s infamous “47 percent” speech that chastised Americans who pay no federal income tax, saying, “My job is not to worry about those people.” Observers quickly noted that “those people” consists mainly of seniors, veterans, people with disabilities and low-income working families.

Cassidy had his own “47 percent” moment earlier this year when he called people without health insurance “less educated” and “illiterate” at the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association’s annual meeting.

According to the latest statistics from the Census Bureau, about 751,000 Louisianians — or about 16.6 percent of the population — lack health coverage. While the uninsured rate has plummeted in states that have accepted federal Medicaid expansion dollars, Louisiana’s uninsured rate has stayed relatively unchanged.

Before making his way to Louisiana, Romney stopped in the Bluegrass State yesterday to give his endorsement to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.


MEMO: Jindal and Boehner Dragging Down Cassidy’s Support in LA-SEN Race?

To: Interested Parties

From:  Stephen Handwerk

Date: Oct. 1, 2014

RE: Jindal and Boehner Dragging Down Cassidy’s Support in LA-SEN Race?

National pundits have to date focused on the potential impact of President Barack Obama on the outcome of Louisiana’s Senate race. The Beltway prism tends to revolve around the White House, but Republican leaders in D.C. and Louisiana could play just as big a role in holding down Congressman Bill Cassidy’s support from Louisiana Republicans and independents.

The Public Policy Polling survey of Louisiana voters released yesterday revealed that while the president’s approval numbers are underwater, Gov. Bobby Jindal has even worse numbers. Only 34 percent of those surveyed approve of Jindal’s job performance, while 55 percent disapprove. Jindal’s numbers have been creeping ever lower, and last week saw his former health secretary indicted on charges of perjury.

Another poll released yesterday by LSU’s Public Policy Research Lab found widespread dissatisfaction with Congress among both parties. However, a majority of Republican voters in Louisiana disapprove of the job their own Republican leaders in Congress are doing. John Boehner, Mitch McConnell — even Louisiana Republicans aren’t big fans.

As Jindal flits from early primary state to early primary state, some folks are starting to notice that Jindal has been conspicuously absent from the Cassidy campaign. Maybe it’s because Jindal has been kindly asked to stay away or maybe he’s covertly supporting Rob Maness, as his old ally, Tony Perkins, is overtly doing.

Whatever the reason, Cassidy can’t run far enough to get away from the failed policies that both he and Jindal have backed. Consider, for example:

  1. Hospital privatization — Cassidy prominently highlights his service as a doctor at Earl K. Long Hospital in Baton Rouge as part of his biography. What he fails to mention is that Jindal has shuttered that hospital as part of his hospital privatization scheme, a plan so shoddily crafted that the federal government shot down its financing plan earlier this year. Cassidy has supported Jindal’s privatization scheme that is dismantling the charity and university hospital system. This summer another hospital in Cassidy’s own congressional district nearly closed its emergency room because of the stream of uninsured patients flocking to their doors. Cassidy was nowhere to be found as Baton Rouge General’s Mid-City Campus almost shuttered its emergency room because of Jindal’s failed policies.
  2. Medicaid expansion — The poll released by Public Policy Polling found a majority of Louisianians support Medicaid expansion. However, both Cassidy and Jindal have steadfastly opposed Louisiana accepting more than $16 billion in federal funding to help expand access to affordable health care. More than 240,000 working Louisianians are falling into the “Jindal gap” — making too much for Medicaid and not enough for subsidies on the health insurance exchange. Despite the fact that Republicans David Vitter and Jay Dardenne have opened the door to finding a compromise on Medicaid expansion, Cassidy and Jindal continue to oppose it, and Cassidy has even said that having Medicaid insurance is “actually worse” than being uninsured.
  3. Minimum wage — Yesterday’s PPP poll also found a majority of Louisianians back raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour. Jindal opposes raising the minimum wage — despite the fact that he actually voted for a minimum wage hike during the Bush Administration when he was in Congress. Cassidy also opposes raising the minimum wage and has suggested it hurts low-income working people. The nonpartisan Louisiana Budget Project found that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would provide a direct pay raise for 360,000 Louisiana workers, create an estimated 3,300 full-time jobs and pump nearly $689 million into the state’s economy.

Even if Cassidy is hiding from appearances from Jindal (or vice versa), he can’t hide from the unpopular agenda they both support.

This March Cassidy declined to comment whether he would back Mitch McConnell for Republican Leader if he were elected to the Senate. On the other hand, Cassidy has taken partisan vote after partisan vote as directed by House Speaker John Boehner. Even though Boehner has presided over the least-productive Congress in modern American history, House Republicans have managed to pass a few poorly regarded pieces of legislation.

A few highlights from the Boehner/Cassidy agenda:

  1. Ryan Budget — Cassidy has voted repeatedly for the Paul Ryan’s budget plan, a key part of Boehner’s legislative agenda. The Ryan budget proposal ends Medicare as we know it and removes the safety net our seniors have come to rely on. Cassidy has also backed raising the age to receive Social Security and Medicare benefits to 70, while at the same time slashing benefits by tens of thousands of dollars.
  2. GOP ShutdownBoehner’s 16-day shutdown of the federal government in 2013 cost Louisiana more than $90 million in economic activity. Cassidy backed the shutdown and voted 16 times with his House Republican colleagues against efforts to reopen the government. Louisianians overwhelmingly opposed the GOP shutdown.
  3. Student Loans — Boehner’s plan for student loans ended federal subsidies for the program and tied loan rates to the whims of Wall Street. Cassidy has voted to cut billions in school funding, while opposing increases to Pell Grants and supporting increases in interest rates on student loans, which help students and their families afford college.

Ultimately, Cassidy’s record shows that he supports radical policies that have torpedoed the popularity of Jindal and Boehner. It’s no surprise Cassidy doesn’t want to be seen with either one. Maybe he could ask Eric Cantor for some fundraising help? We hear he’s got some time on his hands.


Advocates Tout Violence Against Women Act As Essential for Louisiana Women, Families

Sen. Mary Landrieu Backed 2013 Reauthorization, While Congressman Bill Cassidy Voted No

NEW ORLEANS – Advocates in New Orleans today touted the Violence Against Women Act — which was reauthorized in 2013 with the strong support of Sen. Mary Landrieu and despite Congressman Bill Cassidy voting against the bill — as essential for protecting women and families across Louisiana since its passage 20 years ago.

“On this issue, Congressman Cassidy has been negligent at best and, more often than not, hostile on this issue,” said Lynda Woolard, president of the Independent Women’s Organization. “We need legislators like Senator Landrieu who will put politics aside to protect Louisiana women.”

Congressman Cassidy skipped votes to strengthen confidentiality protections for domestic violence victims and expand protections for Native Americans and LGBT victims.

“Both Republican and Democratic presidents have supported reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act since its passage, because they understand that the law saves lives,” said Mary Claire Landry, executive director of the New Orleans Family Justice Center. “The law provides funds for organizations like mine to prevent domestic violence.”

Over the past eight years, the law has provided more than $42 million for Louisiana organizations to fight to end the cycle of abuse.

“The rate of violence against women is so high above the national average in Louisiana, and fighting it requires the support of allies that cut across class, race and socioeconomic lines,” said Deon Haywood, executive director of Women with a Vision. “Senator Landrieu should not be the only one in the Senate election who supports the Violence Against Women Act and who wants to end the cycle of violence against women.”

Senator Landrieu has consistently fought for funding to help similar non-profit organizations expand their operations and end family violence.

“Even now, many places are struggling to deal with sexual assault and violence, which makes the funding that the Violence Against Women Act provides all the more important,” said Elizabeth Wagner, a third-year law student at Tulane University. “Anyone like Congressman Bill Cassidy, who votes against the Violence Against Women Act, does not deserve a promotion.”

Since the passage of VAWA in 1994, domestic violence rates have dropped by more than 60 percent. Today’s event comes after the recent 20-year anniversary of the legislation.


New AAUW Rankings Released, Louisiana Is Dead Last for Pay Equity

BATON ROUGE — Today the American Association of University Women (AAUW) released their latest state rankings for the gender pay gap, and Louisiana is now ranked dead last for pay equity, with Louisiana women earning 66 cents for every dollar Louisiana men make.

“Louisiana no longer has the privilege of ranking higher than Wyoming — we are now the worst state in the nation for equal pay,” said Louisiana Democratic Party Chair Karen Carter Peterson. “Senator Mary Landrieu has been a champion on this issue, but Republicans like David Vitter and Bill Cassidy keep voting against equal pay legislation. When Louisiana women earn less, that translates into less money for feeding their families, paying off student loans and saving for retirement. Lawmakers like Cassidy and Vitter are denying economic security for Louisiana families.”

Just last week, Sen. David Vitter joined with 24 of his Senate Republican colleagues in voting to block the Paycheck Fairness Act.

In 2009, Congressman Bill Cassidy also voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act.

The latest AAUW gender pay gap rankings by state and congressional district are available here:



Louisiana Democratic Party Releases New Video: “LAGOP Shutdown”

BATON ROUGE — The recklessness of shutdown fever is catching in Louisiana’s 6th Congressional District, with three of the Republican candidates running for the open seat saying publicly they would back another government shutdown, like the one last fall that cost Louisiana more than $90 million in economic activity.

“The Louisiana Republican Party has become the party of reckless irresponsibility, as their candidates in the Sixth District have enthusiastically endorsed shutting down the federal government and endangering the livelihoods of thousands of Louisiana families,” said Louisiana Democratic Party Executive Director Stephen Handwerk. “But what can you expect when one of their leaders, David Vitter, blithely stated, ‘I’m all for it,’ before the last shutdown?”

At a forum held last Tuesday by the Republican Party of East Baton Rouge Parish, three of the candidates went on the record as backing another shutdown:

Craig McCulloch: “If we have to shut the government down, so be it.”

Lenar Whitney: “I would shut the government down.”

Norman Clark: “In the last government shutdown, the country ran better with the government not there.”

“The voters of Louisiana’s Sixth Congressional District deserve a representative that will work across the aisle to find solutions, not someone that merely parrots whatever the Tea Party extremists are saying,” said Handwerk.


Sen. David Vitter Votes Against Equal Pay Legislation… Yet Again

BATON ROUGE – This week equal pay advocates won a victory when the Senate voted 73-25 to move forward with the Paycheck Fairness Act, but Sen. David Vitter sided with extremists in trying to block the bill, despite the fact that Louisiana ranks second-worst in the nation for pay equity.

“Even as more and more Republicans are seeing the light, David Vitter continues to stand in the way of equal pay for equal work,” said Louisiana Democratic Party Chair Karen Carter Peterson. “Louisiana women earn only 67 cents for every dollar a Louisiana man earns, but Vitter refuses to take action to address this injustice. Louisiana’s working families deserve better.”

On Wednesday Vitter joined with 24 of his Senate Republican colleagues in voting to block the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Vitter has a long history of opposing equal pay legislation. In April, Vitter voted with the entire Senate Republican Caucus and blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act. In 2009, Vitter voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which restored protections against pay discrimination based on sex, race, national origin, age, religion and disability.

According to the AAUW, Louisiana ranks 50th in pay equity, with Louisiana women earning an average of $31,586 annually compared to $47,249 by Louisiana men.

For more on Vitter’s anti-women record, visit


Democrats Call on Jindal to Fund Health Care and Hospitals

BATON ROUGE — Leading Democratic legislators from Baton Rouge gathered Tuesday across the street from the Baton Rouge General Hospital’s Mid-City location to highlight the Jindal Administration’s hypocrisy and call for the governor to accept Medicaid expansion dollars and protect Louisiana hospitals.

Last week, the hospital announced that pressure from uninsured patients would force it to close the Mid-City emergency room. The Jindal Administration responded by claiming it found $18 million to keep the ER open.

Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, chairwoman of the Louisiana Democratic Party, also pointed out that Congressman Bill Cassidy has yet to say a public word about the emergency room crisis in his own district.

Sen. Sharon Weston Broome, D-Baton Rouge, reminded voters that accepting Medicaid expansion dollars would help fund all state hospitals.

“We are continuing to fight because more than 240,000 Louisianians don’t have health coverage because they make too much for Medicaid and not enough for subsidies. They have fallen into what we call the Jindal Gap,” Broome said.

“Now it appears our hospitals are starting to fall into the Jindal Gap, too,” Broome said.

“Many months ago Democrats stood in this very spot and warned of the consequences if Louisiana did not accept the Medicaid dollars. We warned that hospitals like Baton Rouge General’s Mid-City Campus were in danger,” Broome said.

“It’s important to remember that when a hospital closes in your community, it doesn’t just close for uninsured people. It closes for everyone. Everyone should care about what’s happening at Baton Rouge General because it could be coming to your community in the very near future,” said Rep. Alfred Williams, D-Baton Rouge.

“As we stand here today, the governor’s hospital privatization deals are still in limbo. Earlier this year the federal government rejected the Jindal Administration’s proposal. This was something that we all warned could happen,” said Rep. Patricia Smith, D-Baton Rouge.

“The hospital privatization scheme by the Jindal Administration has been nothing short of a disaster. But there is a way forward. In states that have accepted the Medicaid Expansion dollars, hospitals are thriving. In states that have not, hospitals are closing,” Smith said.

“This fiasco is far from over. The Jindal Administration claimed to have magically found $18 million to keep open Baton Rouge General’s Mid-City emergency room but they won’t tell us where the dollars are coming from,” Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge.

“I submit to you that they don’t know,” James said.

“Keep in mind that last year’s budget was $24 million out of balance. The Jindal Administration had to borrow money from this year’s budget to close out last year’s budget,” James said.

James also pointed out that projections show a $1.2 billion shortfall for next year’s budget.

“Medicaid expansion could alleviate the problems that we face today. Those are our tax dollars that are going to other states. We want those tax dollars to come to Louisiana to care for our people,” said Rep. Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge.

“Silence speaks volumes. Bill Cassidy is the congressman from this district. This hospital is in his district. He holds himself out as a doctor who cares about people. Where is Bill Cassidy today? He has been silent,” said Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans.

“He remains silent while my colleagues in Baton Rouge are struggling to meet the needs of their constituents,” Carter Peterson said. “I’m looking for Bill Cassidy to come to his district and represent the people who are in need of health insurance.”

State Rep. Regina Barrow,  state Rep. Edward "Ted" James, state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, state Sen. Sharon Weston Broome and state Rep. Patricia Haynes Smith call for action to prevent more hospitals from falling into the "Jindal Gap."

State Rep. Regina Barrow, state Rep. Edward “Ted” James, state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, state Sen. Sharon Weston Broome and state Rep. Patricia Smith call for action to prevent more hospitals from falling into the “Jindal Gap.”


Louisiana Democratic Party Statement Honoring Women’s Equality Day

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Democratic Party today released the following statement from Chair Karen Carter Peterson honoring Women’s Equality Day:

“As we recognize the 94th anniversary of the certification of the 19th Amendment as Women’s Equality Day, it’s important to remember the struggle for women’s suffrage was not an overnight victory. It took decades of hard work to enshrine this right in our Constitution, and it took decades more to extend the 19th Amendment’s protections to all women.

“Today American women exercise their right to vote at a higher rate than men, but we still lag in the numbers of women serving in elected office. Louisiana has the lowest percentage of women serving in the legislature of any state in the nation, and we must do more to encourage Louisiana women to run and then train them to win.

“Given the low percentage of women serving in the statehouse, it shouldn’t be surprising that our policies do not reflect the needs of Louisiana women and their families. Our state ranks 50th in the nation for pay equality, and this legislative session we actually went backward on this issue. We have a strong champion on the issue of equal pay in Senator Mary Landrieu, but she’s running against a GOP opponent who has actually voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and Paycheck Fairness Act.

“On this Women’s Equality Day I would encourage all Louisianians to honor this day by making a plan to make their voices heard at the ballot box in 2014 and beyond.”


Cassidy Has Been Official Senate Candidate for 24 Hours, Already Violating Senate Rules

BATON ROUGE – Bill Cassidy has been a candidate for U.S. Senate for one day, so perhaps it’s time for the congressman to brush up on Senate rules because he’s already violating a prohibition against the use of coverage of Senate proceedings for political campaign purposes to solicit donations.

“It’s no surprise when a politician like Bill Cassidy that takes his cues from David Vitter would have ethical lapses,” said Louisiana Democratic Party Executive Director Stephen Handwerk. “It’s just surprising that he’s been an official Senate candidate for 24 hours, and he’s already violating the Senate’s rules. Ultimately, Cassidy is just a partisan puppet who will do and say whatever his Republican leaders tell him to do, no matter what the rules are.”

Since last November, Cassidy has featured a YouTube clip that uses C-SPAN 2 footage from the floor of the U.S. Senate and concludes with an appeal for donations.


As recently as this week, operatives from the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Republican National Committee, apparently clueless about Cassidy’s ethical transgression, were sharing the video on social media.

Cassidy can’t exactly plead ignorance of Senate rules because the body where he has served for the past six years — the U.S. House — has nearly the exact same rule banning the use of broadcast coverage and recordings of floor proceedings for any political purpose.


Louisiana Democratic Party Statement on the 79th Anniversary of Social Security Act

BATON ROUGE — The Louisiana Democratic Party today released the following statement from Chair Karen Carter Peterson on the 79th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing the Social Security Act into law:

“Our nation took a giant step forward 79 years ago today with enactment of the Social Security Act, creating a program that has enabled millions of Americans to retire with dignity. Before Social Security, American seniors were some of our most economically vulnerable citizens. Today they can rely on Social Security to ensure a minimum level of income that has been earned through a lifetime of work. Without Social Security, about half of all Louisiana seniors would slip into poverty.

“Social Security works, but unfortunately, many Republicans, like Congressman Bill Cassidy, want to dismantle or undermine this critical program. Cassidy’s votes to raise the retirement age to 70 are callous and egregious. Louisiana’s seniors deserve better.

“That’s why I’m proud that Senator Mary Landrieu fought back against Republican schemes to privatize Social Security. We can’t leave this vital program up to the whims of Wall Street, and we shouldn’t force seniors to work until age 70 to access the benefits they’ve earned. Louisiana Democrats will keep fighting to preserve Social Security for generations to come.”

Democrats: Protecting Social Security Since 1935


Louisiana Democratic Party Statement on the 49th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

BATON ROUGE — The Louisiana Democratic Party released the following statement from Chair Karen Carter Peterson on the 49th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law:

“For far too long, the promise of America’s great experiment in democracy was a promise unfulfilled for women and people of color, who were barred from exercising their voting rights. When President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act 49 years ago today, many barriers to voting came crashing down, and so many who had been disenfranchised were finally brought into the political process.

“As a nation we’ve come so far, but in recent years, voting rights have come under attack in state after state. Burdensome voter ID laws that restrict access to the ballot box for women, people of color, seniors and low-income citizens are not just wrong — they’re un-American.

“The time is right to pass bipartisan legislation to renew the Voting Rights Act. We urge Louisiana’s members of Congress to take action on this critical legislation and ensure every eligible voter can register, that every registered voter can vote and that every vote is accurately counted.”


Louisiana Democratic Party Encourages Louisianians Living or Serving Overseas to Exercise Their Right to Vote

BATON ROUGE — Louisiana Democratic Party Chair Karen Carter Peterson today encouraged Louisianians who are living overseas, as well as service members and their families who are stationed overseas, to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming Nov. 4 election and request an absentee ballot at

“There are millions of American citizens who live and work overseas, including many men and women in uniform, and for far too long they have faced too many obstacles in exercising their right to vote,” said Louisiana Democratic Party Chair Karen Carter Peterson. “However, we have done much in the past few years to streamline the process for overseas and military voters. We encourage all Louisianians who are living or serving abroad to register and request their absentee ballots now, in order to ensure they are counted on Election Day.”

A U.S. citizen living overseas who lived in Louisiana immediately before moving abroad can claim residency for absentee voter registration as long as the voter does not maintain a domicile in another state and is not registered to vote in another state. In order to vote from abroad, U.S. voters must register or request a ballot every year.

The deadline to register before the Nov. 4 election is Oct. 6, and the deadline to request an absentee ballot is the day before the election. However, when servicemen and women are stationed in remote locations, mail service can delay the receipt and return of ballots.

The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) suggests that overseas and military voters register and request an absentee ballot using the Federal Post Card Application by Aug. 1. Louisiana allows voters to receive their blank ballot via mail, email or fax. Military and civilian overseas voters from Louisiana can complete the Federal Post Card Application using Alternatively, the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website offers its own online application:

The Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act requires election officials to send absentee ballots to overseas and military voters starting 45 days before Election Day. FVAP recommends that voters who are overseas or on a deployed naval vessel return their voted ballots by Oct. 7. FVAP suggests that stateside service members and their family members return their voted ballots by Oct. 28.

If overseas or military voters are duly registered and have not received their requested ballot by Oct. 4, they can use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot as a backup in order to vote in federal elections. The tool also helps voters properly complete the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot.

Questions about voting from abroad can be directed to:

Since the 1990s, Louisiana has used instant runoff voting for overseas and military voters, which allows them to order their federal candidate preferences in the event a runoff election is needed.


Gov. Jennifer Granholm Will “Power Up” Louisiana’s 2014 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner

BATON ROUGE — Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm will be the special guest “Power Up” speaker at Louisiana’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on Saturday, Aug. 9, at 7 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans.

“This year’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner is all about ‘powering up’ the grassroots, and Governor Granholm will be the perfect speaker to inspire Louisiana Democrats to work day and night to help re-elect Senator Mary Landrieu,” said Louisiana Democratic Party Chair Karen Carter Peterson. “Her energy and enthusiasm brought down the house at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, and we can’t wait to give Governor Granholm a warm ‘Who Dat’ welcome and second-line sendoff.”

Jennifer Granholm is a Distinguished Practitioner of Law and Public Policy at UC Berkeley and a senior research fellow at the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute. She served as Michigan’s 47th governor from 2003 to 2011 and as Michigan’s attorney general from 1998-2002. After leaving office, she hosted Current TV’s political news analysis show “The War Room with Jennifer Granholm” and co-authored with her husband, Dan Mulhern, “A Governor’s Story: The Fight for Jobs and America’s Economic Future.” She is co-chair of Priorities USA Action, a super PAC that is supporting Hillary Clinton for President in 2016.

Granholm is one of the nation’s leading authorities on clean energy policy. During her tenure, she pioneered clean energy policies, working with business, labor, Republicans and Democrats, to create new economic opportunities in Michigan. Her leadership attracted to Michigan more than 89,000 clean energy jobs and $9.4 billion in investments in that sector.

Under her leadership, Michigan had the second-highest rate of child health care coverage in the nation. While serving as governor, Michigan was repeatedly named one of the top three states in the nation for business locations or expansions and was twice recognized by The Pew Center on the States as one of the best-managed states in the nation.

The Louisiana Democratic Party previously announced that former Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell will keynote the 2014 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner.

Click here for more information about the 2014 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner.



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