As a non-profit, it’s not often we talk about our own successes. It’s even less frequent that I appeal to you, dear reader, to directly engage in our efforts to remake Louisiana into something new. However, I believe that occasionally you need to be reminded of all of the great work we do and what a tremendous impact it has had on our state.
Let us begin with some third-party compliments / endorsements from this year.
So, let’s do that…
Our impact echoes across the state
After we broke the story, on 13 April 2023, that the head of Louisiana’s Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries, Jack Montoucet, was identified as a co-conspirator in the Dusty Guidry million-dollar grift scandal, Montoucet resigned. That discovery was the result of timely information mixed with a foundational knowledge of how our government works. Once our article broke, the story was picked up by media outlets across the state – none of whom gave us credit for the discovery. One such outlet nearly plagiarized whole sections out of our article.
Also for the first time ever in 2023 we ran a state-wide poll for governor. It included a question about the performance of our state legislature under the “leadership” of the “Fraud Squad” speaker, Clay Schexnayder (R 1/10). Seventy-percent (70%) of respondents believed our legislature was completely irresponsible in the handling of the budget.
Within days of our July information campaign on exactly who voted to exceed the state’s statutory spending limit, Speaker Pro Tempore (and legislative freshman), Tanner Magee (R 2/10) decided not to seek re-election. As a Republican, he was held up as “a key conduit with Democrats.” His big accomplishment was getting the Democrats to caucus with the “fraud squad” Republicans to make Clay Schexnader (R 1/10) Speaker of the House. Of course, the reason for his departure was that “partisan politics have invaded Louisiana.”
More state-level transparency and accountability
Another prominent “fraud squad” member, Buddy Mincey, Jr. (R 2/10), couldn’t stop talking about us during the run-up to the October 14th election. If you weren’t aware, Valarie Hodges (R 9/10) absolutely trounced him to become the Senator-elect for District 13. Mincey said, “Citizens for a New Louisiana continues to mislead others, distort the truth, and have little regard for facts.” Like Tanner Magee, Mincey was upset that months earlier we had reminded everyone of his budget-busting vote on HCR3.
Scott McKnight (R 5/10), is another whose voting record caused him to fare poorly. He self-identified as a “fiscal conservative” for political purposes. However, his hypocrisy was exposed with a vote for HCR3, to empty the state treasury. How fiscally conservative is that? In October, he lost a bid to become Louisiana’s next state Treasurer.
In all, six of the ten people who appeared in our informational campaign will not be returning to Baton Rouge in January.
Are you ready to help? Here are some more ways you can get involved.
The Louisiana Legislature’s new “permanent record”
We all remember hearing about that “permanent record” in school. The concept was that stepping too far out of line could be detrimental to your future prospects. However, no one ever really knew if such a record actually existed. When it comes to our legislature and senate, it does exist. It’s not a one-sheet voting record for the entire legislature, either. It’s a publicly accessible dossier for each and every Louisiana legislator and senator.
To make them easier to understand at a glance, we’ve added key issue “badges.” They are a visual indicator of where a lawmaker stands on various important topics. Were they a member of the Fraud Squad, consistently voting to give government more power, raise taxes, or spend like crazy? On the other side, were they part of the 36, who consistently voted for fiscal sanity, lower taxes, or individual liberty? There’s a badge for all that and more. Clicking on one will show all lawmakers who’ve earned it. It doesn’t stop there, though. Scorecards also identify what lawmakers they caucus with and include any of our articles where they’re mentioned.
Our analysis from September shows that numerous lawmaker scorecards are top-ranked on Google. Some that come to mind include Senate President Page Cortez, House Appropriations Chairman “Zee” Zeringue, Ways & Means Chairman Stuart Bishop, Nicky Muscarello, Ryan Borriaque, and Dustin Miller just to name a few. In fact, Buddy Mincey was probably the most visited legislator profile page on our entire website this year. Failed Senate candidate Hugh Andre was also a huge organic traffic draw. None of this happened by accident. Organic search ranking was a deliberate and strategic success.
Anyone following us long enough knows that our foundational purpose is transforming the state at the local level. After all, public officials tend to do a better job when they know they’re being watched. Believe it or not, it’s local government that most lacks oversight. We’ve had an incredibly strong influence in and around the Acadiana area. However, we’re setting our sights on expanding our work in places like East Baton Rouge, Livingston, Ascension, and Calcasieu parishes. Here’s a short sampling of our local work from this year alone.
We’ve already mentioned, our information campaign that included “fraud squad” member, Buddy Mincey, Jr. (R 2/10). However, how many of you knew that we also did an information campaign on Livingston Parish Councilman Gerald “G-Boy” McMorris? When it came time to qualify for re-election this year, McMorris stayed home.
Livingston Parish is also where we experienced vicious opposition to removing erotica from the parish library system. Did you remember it was Citizens for a New Louisiana who discovered that any child with a library card had access to explicit, x-rated, erotic videos? Thanks to our work, on 6 March 2023, both the Library Director Giovanni Tairov and his assistant director resigned.
This is also the home parish of the former state president of the Louisiana Association of School Librarians. It was Amanda Jones who sued us for telling you about her speech at the parish library board. In that speech, she likened to censorship the moving of sex books out of the children’s section. I’ve been to court repeatedly and even recently had to visit the First Circuit Court of Appeals over her nonsense. It might also be a good time to mention while this library drama unfolded, the president of the American Library Association, Emily Drabinski, lamented, “Michael Lunsford and his Citizens for a New Louisiana now has full support from the Louisiana state government.”
As all of this was happening, the Livingston parish school system (of which Jones is employed) failed to pass an additional 1¢ sales tax. Related to this tax, on 20 June 2023, we also exposed an electioneering scheme perpetuated by school system employees. We’re still waiting to see if anything becomes of it.
Are you ready to help? Here are some more ways you can get involved.
Our campaign to expose Nanette Cook‘s (R 2/10) ethical issues resulted in her not seeking re-election. You might remember that after we started sniffing around, she pulled her conflicted property giveaway ordinance that would have benefitted her daughter. In another article, COOK-ING IT UP, we showed Cook voting to grant special privileges to one of her son-in-law’s business ventures.
Many of you have been following our work that led to a complaint being lodged against Youngsville Chief of Police, Rickey Boudreaux, who ultimately resigned. We also blocked a Youngsville civil service board appointment related to the Rickey Boudreaux investigation. Similar research in January forced former (and upcoming) Lafayette Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux from Lafayette’s Civil Service board.
I’d be remiss to not mention another huge victory that was birthed in Lafayette. Heather Cloud (R 8/10) and Julie Emerson’s (R 9/10) Age Appropriate Library Bill became Law on 30 June 2023. That was the culmination of years of work by Citizens for a New Louisiana to bring awareness to this issue. Remember, it was at the Lafayette Public Library where we blocked that terrible drag show for toddlers. We then worked tirelessly for six years to replace every single member of the board who thought drag shows were fine for kids. The last member was finally replaced in April 2023. Even so, we remain vigilant to defend our victories at the Lafayette Library, which remains in the Left’s crosshairs.
St. Martin / Iberia Parishes
Over in St. Martin Parish, on 25 May 2023, our article A Stench Along the Teche explained that a small group of influential political leaders meet regularly in secret over cigars and whiskey. They would decide the fate of countless criminal cases in the 16th Judicial District Court system. After our research was released, Assistant District Attorney, Robert Chevalier, was forced to resign. Similarly, our research from just last month revealed that two-thirds (2/3) of Breaux Bridge’s Civil Service board was illegally appointed. Since our discovery, Burton Dupuis and Ken Mouton resigned after consulting with the State Examiner.
We also took quite a bit of time explaining how the Port of Iberia had been engaging in its own form of electioneering. Now that they’ve bet the farm and lost, what will become of their director Craig Romero? We also told you about the beneficiary of all of those efforts, Hugh Andre. What made that whole thing even more weird was that old Hugh didn’t even live in Senate District 22 but in Lafayette’s District 23!
There’s so much more to write
It’s been an amazing year. Our work in reforming local and state government has been so successful that it might get boring to continue writing about it. There were so many places we’ve been, work we’ve done, and victories we’ve achieved. Just glancing back and reminiscing has been overwhelming. You know what, though? We’re still in early November. Months remain before this year is over. Wow, what an amazing adventure it’s been.
As Frank Pavone said in September, “There’s only one pathway back to normal. It’s victory.” As I alluded to in the beginning, our next chapter begins now. We achieved so much in 2023 with a shoestring budget and only three staff members. Can you just imagine what we could accomplish with more support from friends like you? The time for doing nothing has passed. This is your James 2:18 moment. Will you take it?