By: Kevin Boyd
Governor-elect John Bel Edwards is trying to cram a Democrat House Speaker, Walt Leger, down the throats of the Republican-controlled State House. They’re working on a group of Republican state reps and trying to get them to vote for a Democrat Speaker. They don’t have the numbers yet, but that’s not stopping them.
However, back in 2011 State Rep. John Bel Edwards had a different view about the governor picking the leadership of the Legislature. He told then Advocate reporter and current spokeswoman to State Treasurer John Kennedy Michelle Millhollon that he hopes then incoming House Speaker Chuck Kleckley would show his independence from Governor Bobby Jindal. The article is from back in 2011.
House Democratic Caucus leader John Bel Edwards said he hopes Kleckley shows a degree of independence from the governor.
“He’s always been a faithful and loyal foot soldier to the governor,” said Edwards, D-Amite.
In a Times-Picayune article from October 24, 2012; Edwards again called for an independent Legislature when he asked for a special session to stop cuts approved by Governor Jindal.
After three lawmakers delivered the petition to Alfred W. Speer, the House Clerk, who must certify the petition, Edwards said a fundamental governing principle was at stake.
“It’s a basic question,” he said. “Is this institution going to stand up for a separate, independent, equal branch of government or not?”
In an article from last week, Times-Picayune reporter Julia O’Donoghue also pointed out that Edwards once supported an independent Legislature leadership.
As a state representative, Edwards had always called for the Legislature to exert more independence from Gov. Bobby Jindal. Now that he is on the other side of that equation, it’s not clear how involved he wants to be in the leadership selection process.
“I don’t intend to tell the Legislature who they need to put in what position, but we will have communications,” said Edwards at an afternoon press conference Sunday (Nov. 22).
When Edwards called for Leger to become Speaker, he broke that post-election promise. Add that to the other broken promises so far from John Bel Edwards.
What changed for John Bel? Obviously it was he won the Big House himself. Now that he’s in charge of the Louisiana state government, he wants the power for himself.