(Baton Rouge, LA) – The Council for A Better Louisiana’s 2017 Annual Meeting and Luncheon will feature a roundtable discussion with three former members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation on the topic of “Making Government Work in Today’s Political Climate.”
The luncheon will be held Thursday, December 7 at noon at the L’Auberge Event Center in Baton Rouge.
Former Sen. John Breaux and Congressmen Billy Tauzin and Rodney Alexander are veteran members of Congress who have worked across both sides of the aisle and seen the changes that have occurred in our political discourse from inside and out. They will offer their insights on what’s needed to make government functional again in a way that better serves citizens. The discussion will be moderated by longtime political reporter and analyst Clancy DuBos, publisher of Gambit.
“Part of CABL’s mission is to foster meaningful discussion about civic life and public engagement in policies that impact the citizens of our state,” said Barry Erwin, CABL President. “We believe this panel of veteran members of Congress has many insights to share about how government has become more partisan and less functional and how we can overcome this to make it more responsive to the needs of all citizens.”
The conversation is a timely one in a variety of ways. Polls tracked on the website RealClearPolitics currently show Congress’ approval rating hovering around 13-percent. In Louisiana, LSU’s most recent Louisiana Survey indicated that nearly 60-percent of voters lack confidence in state government to address major issues.
“These perceptions are exactly what we convened this panel to discuss,” Erwin said. “We have long seen voter frustration with the Congress, but Louisiana has for the most part been immune from that. In recent years, however, we hear more and more people expressing concerns about state government’s inability to resolve major issues. We hope this roundtable will offer insights on how we can resolve public concerns and move Louisiana forward.”
Sen. Breaux has been a leader on this issue for many years. That was evident in a profile in the Los Angeles Times as far back as 1994.
In business, Breaux would be a “closer;” in chess, a master of the end game. In Congress, he represents a vanishing breed of legislator: those with the knack for threading their way through the purists, the ideologues, the unbending partisans, the special interests and political rivals to make things happen.
“I see myself not as a philosopher, but somebody who is interested in making government work,” he said. “More and more people in Congress . . . have an all-or-nothing attitude. All-or-nothing attitudes generally wind up getting nothing.”
Congressman Tauzin is currently in the process of writing a book on the subject of making government work more effectively for citizens. Congressman Alexander has been widely recognized as a legislator who could work across party lines to help pass policies of importance to Louisiana.
CABL’s Annual Meeting will also feature a morning panel of seasoned political journalists who will comment on a variety of issues from the looming fiscal cliff and the prospects for tax reform, to insider politics. That panel will include Jeremy Alford, publisher of LaPolitics Weekly and co-author of the recent book Long Shot; Melinda Deslatte, Capitol Correspondent for the Associated Press; and Greg Hilburn, Political Reporter for the USA Today Network.
In addition, CABL will honor longtime education reformer Leslie Jacobs with its second annual Robert B. Hamm Award for Distinguished Service. Jacobs is a New Orleans business woman who has received national recognition for her successful efforts to improve public education at the state and local level. She recently announced she is stepping back from her advocacy role to pave the way for “a new generation of innovative advocates and educators who have the fire in the belly to tackle our remaining challenges.” The award is named in honor of the late CABL chairman Robert B. Hamm who was a dedicated civic activist at the state level and in his home community of Shreveport.
CABL is a statewide, nonpartisan organization working on policy issues in the public interest since 1962. For more information and details of CABL’s Annual Meeting & Luncheon visit our website www.cabl.org, or contact Barry Erwin at (225) 344-2225.