Time: Is it on Louisiana’s side this go around?

December 3
December 3, 2007
Storme’ Mestas
December 5, 2007
December 3
December 3, 2007
Storme’ Mestas
December 5, 2007

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ moves on: Nor all your Piety nor Wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, Nor all your tears wash out a word of it.

—Omar Khayyam (From “The Rubiyat”)

The transition phase of the election cycle is always a pretense to reality.

Reality begins on Inauguration Day and soon after when the agendas of new governors are moved forward and the individuals they bring into power begin their learning curves. The commencement of the Jindal administration next Jan. 14 coincides with the beginning of Louisiana’s first post term-limits Legislature. There will also be a learning curve in that body as time begins to measure them.

And time will.

Team Jindal and the new Legislature have some things going for them as they begin writing their legacy.

The state treasury is flush, and revenues may continue to grow larger before they have an inevitable encounter with reality in a few years. There are ample funds available to fashion priorities that can make enduring, positive changes in education, infrastructure and economic development in Louisiana. There is also a golden opportunity for our new state leaders to reform the budget process.

If state spending becomes more transparent and less of an insiders’ game, more public confidence in government can be restored – and public confidence definitely needs to be enhanced.

Governor-elect Jindal and most of the legislators who were recently elected campaigned on a platform of change.


Because their polling told them that the public wants a new direction for a state that, over the years, has been battered by scandals and storms. Informed voters know that Louisiana is a national leader in the number of state employees on the payroll and dead last in many categories of achievement and quality of life. They want a government that works for them, produces results and gets us off the bottom of lists of quality indicators – and they don’t think we need more employees or higher taxes to get the job done.

Mandates from the voters are sometimes overstated; however, Bobby Jindal did carry 60 of the state’s 64 parishes and defeated a large field of challengers without having to go to a runoff.

Many new faces are coming into the Legislature, sent by voters who want less bickering, more results and new ideas. One would bear a heavy burden to prove that the recent elections were about preserving the old order and maintaining the “uniqueness” of Louisiana’s brand of politics. The election results would indicate that a majority of those who voted (which, by the way, was not a majority of the voters) see opportunities for a better way of doing things in Louisiana, and less of a fertile field for corruption and political chicanery.

Now the elections are over and the legacies will begin to take shape. The leadership teams in the House and Senate will be finalized in the next few weeks, and the department heads who will form Jindal’s executive branch leadership will be announced between now and the beginning of the holidays.

The new governor’s first special session will likely begin by the middle of February, around the same time his first executive budget must be submitted to the Legislature.

The moving finger of history that will capture the legacy of the new governor and Legislature will soon begin writing. There are no edits when history is written, and success is illuminated by good ideas forged by careful planning, bold implementation, and successful partnerships with divergent coalitions.

The clock is ticking, and the pen is in hand.