As the US Senate race draws to a close, forums were held at two universities with far different results.
The Beta Xi Chapter of Delta Tau Delta at Tulane University sponsored a forum for Louisiana Senate Candidates Charles Marsala, Beryl Billiot, Troy Hebert, and Donald Crawford. Marsala and Crawford are both Alums of Tulane. The same day forum started just as a separate forum was ending across town at Dillard University. The Dillard forum, organized by Raycom, consisted of Charles Boustany, Foster Campbell, David Duke, Caroline Fayard, John Fleming, and John Neely Kennedy.
Hosted on AWE News
The Forum at Tulane was filmed by Telemundo and is hosted on the You Tube channel of AWE NEWS. Jeff Crouere of WGSO Radio, WLAE-TV, and Ringside Politics moderated the Forum. Jimmy Delery of the St. Bernard Voice and Rachel Wulff posted questions.
Marsala’s opening remarks were critical of Louisiana’s Pension Policy pointing out the plan has been listed as “serious concern” by the PEW Institute. Marsala went on to say that Louisiana’s Unfunded Pension Liability has increased from 35% to 42% in two years, and is more than twice the National goal of 20% for unfunded pension liabilities. Marsala stated that both Moody’s and Bloomberg have suggested Louisiana bases its future funding on unrealistic future earning of 7.75% annually per Treasurer Kennedy. Lowering the expected rate of return adds over $10 Billion in new debt. Marsala expects that Louisiana will only be able to pay about 77% on the dollar to state pension retirees.
Marsala commented on the votes of Congressmen Fleming and Boustany who have voted to allow expanded Fertilizer and weed killer use and run-off into the rivers, causing a higher cancer rate, 6,400 square mile dead zone in the Gulf, and Harmful Algal Blooms. At the same time Boustany drafted a bill which will increase Opioid prescriptions given by doctors. Marsala noted the large campaign donations by fertilizer companies and drug companies to their campaigns and expressed concern at the merger of Monsanto and Bayer.
On the war on terror, Marsala noted that both Boustany and Fleming failed to endorse HR-2494 which was designed to protect elephants, rhinos, and lions and defund ISIS which is in eight countries in Africa and using Wildlife Trafficking to fund over $5 billion annually in operations. HR-2494 was passed in November without support of either Boustany and Fleming. HR-2494 has a sister bill in the Senate as S-27, which has sat idle since January 2015.
Marsala presented excluding and eliminating Medicaid clawback on homes and IRAs to qualify for aid to seniors in nursing homes. On jobs and employment, Marsala, who had been Mayor of Atherton, California, suggested working out tax plans to incentivize high tech companies to relocate offshore operations into Louisiana. Marsala referenced the success of the IBM-LSU partnership which will create 900 jobs in Baton Rouge and the Century Link -ULM association in Monroe.
Protests at Dillard
In comparison the forum at Dillard was described in The Advocate by Tyler Bridges as a “contentious debate” of “Arguments, Attacks, and more.” Greg Hilburn of USA Today and the Monroe Newsstar titled it, “Police and protesters clash as David Duke joins Senate debate.” Hilburn quoted Boustany as saying, “I’m not sure what was accomplished.” Rebekan Allen of The Advocate added that Dillard President Walter Kimbrough tweeted: “Pretty clear polling rigged as Trump would say for ratings.” Richard Rainey of NOLA.com authored: “One Candidate overshadows final debate in Senate Race.” The story by Melinda Deslatte of the Associated Press was titled: “David Duke’s inclusion Derails Louisiana Senate Race Debate.”
Jimmy Delery noted that the audience at Tulane was larger than at Dillard. At Dillard students were pepper sprayed when they tried to enter the auditorium. Hebert, Billiot, and Crawford, who offered creative solutions to all questions, noted the lack of press covering the forum at Tulane. #Election 2016 #Environment