Submit to Schexnayder or be Silenced

   

Louisiana’s Speaker of the House, Clay Schexnayder, has a habit of trying to silence those who do not fall in line. Citizens pointing out his inconsistencies, legislators communicating with constituents, and the media have all been subject to this attempted silencing. It’s time voters see something other than photo ops and Pinterest quotes.

In 2020 Louisiana’s governor used the pandemic as a greenlight to abuse power. Citizens expected legislators to do everything in their power to reopen the state. Many legislators signed a petition that would end the emergency. Legislators who refused to sign received calls, emails, and social media posts. People were reaching out in every way they could. This did not sit well with a handful of representatives. So, House Speaker Clay Schexnayder planned a meeting in hopes to silence citizens.

Meeting or Ambush?

Clay Schexnayder set up a meeting with a handful of ladies that offended him on social media. I declined the invitation because I knew it was an ambush. The ladies that attended were wise enough to get audio. It is a good thing they did, as the meeting was nothing more than an attempt to intimidate them into silence.

Clay Schexnayder insisted cell phones be left in a basket outside the meeting room. The ladies were bombarded by a group of legislators including Paula Davis and Buddy Mincey. There was legal staff present. Lionel Rainey, a political consultant who happens to be employed by Speaker Clay Schexnayder and Senate President Page Cortez, was also present. Even Buddy Mincey’s wife was there.

We know the Speaker and Senate President know what a terrible job they are doing. They created an organization for the sole purpose of turning around public opinion. They named it Leading Louisiana Forward and employed Lionel Rainey to manage day-to-day operations. In all likelihood, the constituent meetings were Rainey’s idea.

Gaslighting by the Speaker

While Clay Schexnayder, Paula Davis, and Buddy Mincey tried to convince these ladies that they knew nothing, they also whined about social media posts. They had printed out stacks of posts they took issue with. The theme of the meeting was basically “you know nothing and need to stop posting on social media.”

Oddly enough, this was not an isolated incident. Michael Lunsford was also a target.

I really wasn’t planning to tell you all this. The tipping point was finding out that the speaker called a group of legislators and attorneys to his office for the express purpose of browbeating four ladies who had also been invited. My meeting was probably intended to be the same kind of thing. Although I really enjoyed it, I can see how anyone else might have really been intimidated by a similar experience. If they hadn’t tried to intimidate those ladies, you might never have known about any of this.

Read his full article here.

Communication is key… to getting in trouble

While Clay Schexnayder insisted he was powerless, other legislators worked on petitions to reopen Louisiana. Most legislators had no problem communicating with constituents about what was going on. Schexnayder, however, was furious when he found out Representative Beryl Amedee was not keeping constituents in the dark. Perhaps Schexnayder felt the House should unite against the people?

Representative Amedee was punished for not obeying Clay Schexnayder’s instructions. She was banned from the Pentagon Barracks apartments. The apartments are housing accommodations controlled by the House Speaker and Senate President.

“Today the Pentagon Barracks are still used as apartments for state officials and offices for state agencies. The Office of Lieutenant Governor is located there.”

Clay Schexnayder also moved Amedee’s parking spot so she would have a longer walk to her car in the evenings. Other legislators were not to allow Representative Amedee to stay with them or they would lose their apartment privileges too.

You’ve got mail

Another thing Clay Schexnayder has been angry about is emails. Oftentimes people join mailing lists for updates throughout session. Concerned citizens are encouraged to contact legislators. Representative Danny McCormick ruffled feathers by doing this.

When Representative McCormick let citizens know the wind energy bill, HB165, was up for debate people took to emailing their concerns. After McCormick asked numerous questions, Speaker Pro Tempore Tanner Magee decided to vent about these emails. He called them “form emails” and complained about “fake concern.” He could not fathom that people were simply voicing their opinions.

Representative McCormick pushed his button to speak, but Clay Schexnayder decided to allow closing on the bill before calling on McCormick. Danny McCormick said “I don’t believe that’s right, thank you sir.” McCormick was immediately summoned to Schexnayder’s office. Was this offense worse than Representative Malinda White threatening to pull a gun on Representative Alan Seabaugh? It was handled as if it was.

No Pictures

Media is not immune to silencing by Clay Schexnayder. Citizens for a New Louisiana has been hassled by the speaker. Initially our camera lens was an issue. Then it was the red power light on the camera. We got the camera approved and covered the red light.

As soon as the next session began there was an issue with the same camera. This time it was supposedly a privacy issue. As a licensed private investigator I wonder how Clay Schexnayder expects privacy at a public meeting in a public building. Again, we had the camera approved.

We were advised to get a media badge. This badge cost $10. The first time we used the badge, it was revoked by the Speaker himself. The only reason given was the Speaker said we were not media enough. We still have not received a refund for the badge we never used.

After the badge fiasco, Clay Schexnayder had signs put up saying “photography and recording prohibited.” The Speaker of the House tried to prevent Citizens for a New Louisiana from covering what goes on inside the House Chamber. We are still there.

Why not fight back?

I asked why nobody stands up to Clay Schexnayder. The answer is that it would put legislators at risk of losing funding. It seems that is another way he keeps legislators’ mouths shut. As long as his bully tactics go unchecked they will continue. As often as he has changed up the rules in attempt to silence us, its apparent the Speaker of the House has more time for petty vindictiveness than he has for defending small business and individual liberty.

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If we’re not watching them, who will?

Citizens for a New Louisiana is the only organization in Louisiana dedicated to reforming local government. With the help of numerous volunteers we are making some progress. However, there’s much more work we could be doing. Making a difference will take a little more than reading an article every now and then. Your community doesn’t need another spectator. They need someone willing to step onto the field and become a real part of the solution. Will you join us?

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