At a forum last night sponsored by the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee (OPDEC), the four candidates who qualified for the House 93 legislative seat about to be vacated by incoming City Council member Helena Moreno announced their support for a ban on AR-style assault rifles like the ones used to kill 17 students and teachers in Parkland, Florida last week.
Kenneth Bordes said he is “absolutely” in favor or a ban and that it would be the first piece of legislation he would offer if elected. Bordes also supports increased background checks.
Royce Duplessis likened assault rifles to “killing machines” and said that although he supports the right of individuals to own guns for personal safety that “corporate greed” drives the gun industry. “I anticipate getting a very low rating from the NRA,” Duplessis explained.
Eldon Anderson said he is “100 percent supportive” of a ban and that assault weapons were “not designed for self-protection.”
Dan Faust, a decorated Army First Calvary Division medic who served in Bosnia, says that a registry of gun owners and increased mental health checks for prospective owners are both important. “If you own more than one gun, you need more than one mental health screening,” said Faust. Though trained by the military to operate weapons, Faust says he only carries a knife.
Regarding the need to identify new sources of revenue, Faust supports reviewing the current industrial tax exemptions of companies including Folgers Coffee, Brookfield District Entergy, Air Products, Southern Recycling, Entergy and Textron Marine to determine if they are creating enough jobs for the tax subsidy currently received. An actuary and mathematician, Faust says universal Pre-K for Orleans Parish could be almost entirely funded by the elimination of current industrial tax exemptions. “I am sick about the black male unemployment rate in New Orleans,” he said, suggesting it is related to a lack of a quality education. Duplessis believes the legalization of recreational marijuana is a potential way to generate new funds and create additional jobs. Duplessis, Faust and Bordes also support opening up casino gaming opportunities to new operators.
OPDEC endorsed Duplessis along with Civil District Court Clerk Dale Atkins for 4th Circuit Court of Appeal and Clerk of First City Court Ellen Hazeur for Civil District Court. Earlier in the week, the New Orleans Coalition also endorsed Duplessis and Hazeur as well as Criminal Court Judge Robin Pittman for Appeals Court. The Independent Women’s Organization will hold their endorsement meeting on Saturday. The Orleans Parish Republican Executive Committee will meet Tuesday, February February 27.
REPUBLICAN PARTY CHAIR ELECTION SET FOR SATURDAY
The Louisiana Republican Party will meet Saturday in Baton Rouge to select a new party chair from the four remaining candidates – New Orleans business and civic leader Lou Gurvich, State Rep. Julie Emerson, Lafayette businessman Charles Buckles and Baton Rouge political operative and mobile notary Scott Wilfong. Only the members of the GOP state central committee are eligible to vote. The winner will replace Metairie businessman Roger Villere who is the country’s longest-serving state GOP head.
SCHEDLER TO SPEAK AT CHASE FOUNDATION VOTER PANEL TONIGHT
Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler will be among the speakers tonight on a panel that will analyze patterns of voter participation and its impact on elections. Sponsored by the Edgar “Dooky” Jr. & Leah Chase Foundation and Dooky Chase Restaurant, the panel also includes voting rights attorney Ron Wilson and Appeals Court Judge Edwin Lombard. Open to the public, the event will begin at 5 p.m. at the restaurant, 2301 Orleans Avenue.
Danae Columbus, who has had a 30-year career in politics and public relations, offers her opinions on Thursdays. Her career includes stints at City Hall, the Dock Board and the Orleans Parish School Board and former clients such as District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, City Council members Stacy Head and Jared Brossett, Foster Campbell, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, former Sheriff Charles Foti and former Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell. Her current clients include District B City Council candidate Seth Bloom and At-Large City Council candidate Helena Moreno.