Edwards First Week As Governor Was A Busy One
Last week was a proverbial whirlwind of activity as far as Louisiana politics go. As the state's second most popular contact sport, behind college football, politics took center stage with football in the off season. A week ago Monday our state inaugurated John Bel Edwards as our new Governor. The political bombshells were already dropping before Mr. Edwards placed his hand on the Bible.
The first big political move of the week happened in the Louisiana House of Representatives.
It's the first time in modern history that the governor did not see his hand picked selection for speaker elected by the House.
Jeremy Alford of La Politics.com made those comments to the Louisiana Radio Network. He explained that the election of New Iberia Representative Taylor Barras and not Edwards choice Walt Leger for Speaker of the House laid down the gauntlet quickly.
Another unexpected incident for the new Governor came courtesy of outgoing Governor Bobby Jindal. The Jindal administration approved millions of dollars in pay raises for state employees in his final weeks as Governor.
This comes at a time when John Bel Edwards' administration and lawmakers are talking about furloughs to deal with the budget shortfall. I think a lot of folks were surprised to find there were pay raises in their department when they came in with this new administration.
These pay increases caught the Edwards administration off guard. Some departments saw as much as 4% merit pay raises taking effect with the new year while others were made retroactive.
Oh yeah, and President Barack Obama made a stop in Baton Rouge during the past week too. So you can't say Governor Edwards eased into the job on his first week. He hit the ground. Only time will tell if hit the ground running or if it was a face plant of epic proportions.