Louisiana Politics: EWE says harassment claims are 'serious problem'

The former Louisiana governor who’s fond of saying, “You’re only as young as the woman you feel,” offered up some unexpected remarks recently about the growing number of sexual harassment claims grabbing headlines around the nation.
Edwin Edwards transitioned into the issue earlier this month while addressing a reunion of the 1973 constitutional convention at Juban’s restaurant in Baton Rouge.
Edwards initially focused his comments on the lasting legacy of the Constitution, which was adopted by voters in 1974, but took a sharp turn soon after.
“All of the bad things that have been said about me, and I know some of you remember some of that, no one ever said I attacked a 14-year-old girl,” Edwards told the audience, making a reference to U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama.
It was a surprise topic from a governor who once counseled that the best thing to do with a Republican is “sleep with them.”
When asked on another occasion about the number of women he was adding to his administration, Edwards said, “The motto from here on out is up with skirts and down with pants.”
Edwards attempted to strike that same humorous tone earlier this month, while simultaneously underlining his own concerns about the claims that are surfacing.
“It’s amazing to me how much of that is going on now. I didn’t think all of that was happening. I must have missed something in my life,” Edwards told the delegates, to a sprinkling of laughter. “I really think it’s a very serious problem in America. I hope in some way the attention it’s getting will help resolve it and bring some attention to this serious problem.”

Hearing moves closer
for Kyle Duncan
Despite concerns about his nomination from U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, it appears as if Baton Rouge native Kyle Duncan will finally receive his confirmation hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Kennedy is a member.
Duncan is President Donald Trump’s choice for the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
His confirmation hearing had been delayed because Kennedy was withholding support for a vote. Kennedy has expressed some doubt in the past regarding Duncan’s qualifications.
Usually the objection of a committee member is enough to keep a confirmation hearing in limbo, but Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa broke with tradition over the weekend and signaled that a meeting is coming.
Groups like the Judicial Crisis Network have rolled out campaigns in recent weeks to drum up support for Duncan. While Kennedy hasn’t been mentioned by name in the ads, those affiliated with the pro-Duncan groups have been working reporters hard and floating the idea that Kennedy’s eventual stance will be some sort of hard-right litmus test.
Roughly a month ago, the Louisiana Family Forum urged its followers to contact Kennedy and ask him to support Duncan.
The Judicial Crisis Network spent six figures in Louisiana on TV, radio and digital ads in support of Duncan. The ad running now features Attorney General Jeff Landry praising the nominee.

Political History:
Pardoning turkeys
Louisiana politicians know a thing or two about turkeys. Especially when the hunt is on.
Just go and take a look at the social media accounts of hunter-politicians like Gov. John Bel Edwards and state Sen. Rick Ward, a Senate judiciary chairman from Maringoiun. You’ll find, among other things, some prized photos of dead birds.
And while that is certainly one way to handle a turkey, it’s a much different story up in Washington, D.C. That’s where presidents share in the rather recent tradition of pardoning turkeys.
Political history nerds really dork out over the provenance of this fowl practice. Some point to an 1863 clemency, granted to a turkey by President Abraham Lincoln. Others claim Harry Truman was the first to spare the feathered life of a gobbler, although the Truman Library and Museum has officially debunked that myth.
John F. Kennedy supposed gave a reprieve to a turkey, and the Nixon and Carter families sent the birds they received from the poultry industry to live free on nearby farms.
Ronald Reagan set some turkeys free that were destined for a White House dinner table, too, marking the moment in the 1980s when the gimmick became a ceremony and a source of journalistic humor.
Did you know that Louisiana has its own pardoning ceremony as well? It’s for a crawfish. Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and Zatarain’s started the tradition earlier this year by pardoning a crawfish named Emile. Nungesser is hopeful that the annual pardoning might one day draw national attention.

They said it
“You can heat turkey up. You don’t have to eat it right out the oven.”
—U.S. Sen. Kennedy, on the urgency of a tax reform vote, on FOX News
“This is doing my work for me, this election.”
—Secretary of State Tom Schedler, on the need for election reform in light of recent turnout, in The Associated Press
For more Louisiana political news, visit www.LaPolitics.com or follow Jeremy Alford on Twitter @LaPoliticsNow.

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