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Story Archives: Self interests versus people's interests
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|Self interests versus people's interests|
House Speaker Jim Tucker of Terrytown reminded us of some advice a seasoned observer of politics once passed along: Don't talk publicly about what's said in a private conversation.
That thought came to mind in light of a published report that Tucker threatened an official with Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration over the administration's objection to a proposed pay raise for state lawmakers.
Currently, lawmakers make some $16,800 per year plus per diems and expense money for operating their legislative offices in their hometowns. A bill currently under consideration in the Regular Session would raise the salaries for most state legislators to some $70,000 per year plus diems and expenses. Legislative leaders, such as Tucker and Senate President Joel Chaisson, would make in excess of $70,000 per year and the like.
According to The Times-Picayune, Tucker said he told Jindal Chief of Staff Timmy Teepell that the "wheels would come off the train" if Jindal vetoed a bill that delivered a pay raise for state lawmakers. In other words, Tucker told Teepell the administration could expect no support in the Legislature for any legislative proposal the administration advocated in the future if Jindal carried out his constitutional right to veto a bill approved by the Legislature.
Teepell considered his conversation with Tucker to be a private affair. Apparently, Tucker felt he needed to share the conversation with The Times-Picayune.
Therein lies the problem with Tucker.
He was wrong to betray the trust of a man who would be considered his political ally, and he was wrong to blabber to the media about a conversation in which at least one participant in the conversation felt it was private, or off the record.
Apparently, the Jindal administration backed off, or abandoned any plans to veto the legislative pay-raise bill, which is expected to be approved by the Legislature.
To its credit, the Jindal administration recognized a fight that's not worth fighting, meaning the administration will step aside and allow the Legislature to give itself a fat pay raise in spite of opposition from the general public and some newspaper editorial boards.
To its credit as well, the Jindal administration realized Louisiana faces many problems that need to be addressed over the next few years, which will require the Legislature to cooperate with the administration to solve them or take steps forward in solving them.
What does that tell us about Tucker?
Obviously, the Speaker of the House of Representatives is willing to dismiss the state's best interests in lieu of his own best interests.
At least monetarily.
At the very least, Tucker needs to learn some manners.
He also would do well to listen to some of the older hands in the Legislature who know a private conversation is a private conversation and that's where it remains. In private.