VIDEO: Lt. Governor Candidates Make Appearance On WWL Sunday Edition

It’s a continuation of Thursday’s League of Women Voters debate between Jay Dardenne and Billy Nungesser, with the same attacks on each side (none of which are particularly impressive)…

Dardenne seems to be pulling the majority of endorsements from the state’s media, including New Orleans Gambit

In the absence of a hotly contested governor’s race, the contest for lieutenant governor has become the main event this political season. It features two Republicans – incumbent Jay Dardenne and Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser. Though both Republicans, the two men have very different styles. Dardenne is low-key but effective; Nungesser is passionate but sometimes ill spoken. In the 10 months that Dardenne has been lieutenant governor, he has done more with less. For example, instead of appointing a secretary of the state Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, which the lieutenant governor oversees, he took the job himself and saved taxpayers $130,000. He also resuscitated the prestigious Louisiana Book Festival in Baton Rouge when it was in danger of dying from budget cuts, and he is Louisiana’s best hope for drawing visitor dollars during next year’s statehood bicentennial celebration, which has been underfunded. Most of all, should Gov. Bobby Jindal move on during his second term, we believe Dardenne is best suited to step into the Governor’s Mansion with a minimum of drama but a wealth of experience.

…The Times-Picayune

Mr. Dardenne has an impressive track record in public service, first as a legislator, then as secretary of state and currently as lieutenant governor. He was elected to the state’s No. 2 job last fall to fill the remainder of the term after Mitch Landrieu was elected mayor of New Orleans. In that time, Mr. Dardenne has streamlined the operation and eliminated some executive positions. He decided to run the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, which is part of the lieutenant governor’s office, himself instead of hiring a director. Mr. Dardenne is an expert in the history of Louisiana, which makes him a good fit for the culture and tourism work. His training and political experience also make him the best person to serve as lieutenant governor, which constitutionally is the person next in line if a governor leaves office early. Mr. Dardenne, a lawyer, represented Baton Rouge for 14 years as a state senator. Mr. Dardenne was highly respected in the Senate for his consistent stands for good government, and he pledges to continue that record of service.

…and the Monroe News-Star

As the top tourism official, Dardenne has eliminated 67 positions within his administration, including the $130,000 per year salary of secretary of culture, recreation and tourism. At the same time, he rebranded the state’s marketing slogan to “Louisiana Pick Your Passion,” putting a greater emphasis on adventure tourism.

Dardenne takes a more professional approach toward tourism. He promises to consult those in his office and tourism officials around the state, all of whom have endorsed him. In that way, Dardenne serves those with the most vested interest, the hotel and restaurant owners.

Nungesser said he would empanel a “Blue Ribbon Panel” made up of volunteers to advise him on tourism and budget matters. There’s no telling how effective that approach might be. As president of Plaquemines Parish, his attention has been riveted on hurricanes and oil spills, and his knowledge and interests do not seem to extend much beyond Interstate 10.

In addition, the lieutenant governor is next in line in case he needs to step into the Governor’s Mansion. Here, too, Dardenne has the advantage of having served in two statewide offices, having also served as secretary of state before being elected to complete the term of Mitch Landrieu, who resigned as lieutenant governor when elected mayor of New Orleans.

Dardenne says tourism has increased 5 percent since he took office, and that’s fighting the bad publicity of the BP oil spill in the gulf. Given his record, Dardenne has earned a full term as lieutenant governor.



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