Republican women hear from gubernatorial candidate

Published 9:28 am Friday, August 7, 2015

Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, R-Baton Rouge, said he believes he is up for the challenges should he be elected the next governor.

The primary election is Oct. 24.

Dardenne touted his experience speaking at Maria’s Restaurant as special guest of Washington Parish Republican Women. Dardenne is running against Republicans David Vitter and Scott Angelle and Democrat John Bel Edwards.

“I’ve prepared for this election my entire time in public service,” Dardenne said. “I served 15 years in the Senate and served on the Senate Finance Committee. I served as secretary of state for four years and have been lieutenant governor for over five years. I’m ready for the challenges.”

Dardenne won a special election to his current post on Nov. 22, 2010. During his speech, he touched on education, the Capital Outlay Program and tourism.

“The importance of education at all levels is the key to moving people out of poverty.  Louisiana has consistently had one of the highest poverty rates in America. We need to budget based on priorities. Post-secondary education is a critical priority for the state,” Dardenne said.

Dardenne said he would like to add funds to Capital Outlay when it comes to roads.

“There is a drive to change the Capital Outlay process to direct more dollars to highway projects,” Dardenne said. “The Capital Outlay Bill doesn’t allocate as much money for road improvements as it should, and that’s what I want to see change.”

Dardenne heads up the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, which includes the State Museum System, state parks, the State Library System, arts, the Office of Historic Preservation, Seafood Promotion and the Marketing Board.

“As for tourism, we’ve had three record-breaking years in a row. We had 28.7 million people visit Louisiana last year. They spent $11.2 billion. That translates into $836 million in state sales taxes by people who were just visiting,” Dardenne said.

Dardenne pointed out his office has supported the popular Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Festival over the last three years with grants. The fourth Bogalusa Blues Fest is scheduled for Sept. 25-26 in Cassidy Park.

“The Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Festival is a highly successful program,” Dardenne said.

During his legislative service on the Senate Finance Committee, Dardenne authored legislation establishing the motion picture tax credit, which helped Louisiana become “Hollywood South.” He created a comprehensive Board of Ethics, established the Community and Technical College System and provided funds for coastal erosion.

In 2003, Dardenne was named National Republican legislator of the year.

Dardenne is married to the former Cathy McDonald. They have two grown sons, John and Matthew.