by Jeff Thomas
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry is a Tea Party Conservative. His surprising election to that post was bolstered by unexpected support from African Americans in NOLA and across the state. Since being elected, Landry has scuffled with Gov. John Bel Edwards over language in state contracts, falsely testified before Congress and now finds himself at odds with the Mayor and police chief in New Orleans. IN NOLA, Landry has sent a band of “AG police officers” into New Orleans to provide “law enforcement services to the community.”
TEA PARTY MANTRA
The Tea Party was formed in in 2009 as a protest to the election and inauguration of Barak Obama. Central tenets were established around the need to reduce the national debt and reducing the size and reach of government into the lives of people. In Louisiana, Jeff Landry is the only avowed Tea Party loyalist ever elected to statewide office. Landry has been a lifelong conservative, and his Tea Party membership is an indication of how conservative his political leanings are.
Landry has run for office four different offices. After losing a state Senate election, Landry preached his ultra conservative message to the constituents of the 3rd Congressional district and become a US Congressman. There he spread his Tea Party wings and aimed at stopping the Obama administration, pushing hard to limit oil and gas regulation in the Gulf of Mexico. But redistricting pushed Landry into a newly formed 3rd district and he lost to the more seasoned Charles Bostany. Immediately, Landry set his sights on the former Democrat turned Republican state Attorney General, Buddy Caldwell. Caldwell was vulnerable across many political fronts – from being a former Democrat who was still chummy with the Party to making racially insensitive statements- and the fierce campaigner struck hard and often.
Truthfully, Landry’s defeat of Caldwell was more a testament to Landry’s skilled backdoor dealings than his legal acumen. [JT1] Landry was not only able to secure the backing of the state Republican Party but also the endorsement of many African American political insiders during the runoff. In office, Landry has been drunk with power. He acts impulsively and without regard for the consequences of his actions.
You can add hypocritical to the list of descriptions of Landry. That a Tea Party leader would unleash more and oppressive government in sovereign municipality without their consent or approval is heresy. Imagine Obama sending Justice Department lawyers to court and just begin arguing cases that the Louisiana AG’s office was handling. And if Obama said, “At the end of the day, this is about safety,” “The numbers do not lie. When you look at the cases won or lost in Louisiana, they are twice as bad as they are in Illinois, per capita. And, of course, we’ve been at this for quite some time now. When you continually do the same thing over and over again and get the same result, yet expect a different one, that’s the definition of insanity.” Landry’s head might explode. Yet this is exactly what he said when asked why he thought sending in a police force was necessary in NOLA.
But arresting more Black men in NOLA is not the solution. Landry sent his undercover “force” into black neighborhoods and managed to arrest 11 people for possession of marijuana. Landry completely disregarded the will of the citizens of NOLA (marijuana is decriminalized in NOLA, but the state has harsh penalties regarding possession of the substance) as his “officers” charged the black men in NOLA with the much stiffer state possession charge. Now, 11 men will have to try to post bail, may lose days from work or their jobs and face fines and fees that could cause homelessness or even real criminal activity to raise new income. Preventing this is why the city changed its marijuana laws.
DO SOMETHING POSITIVE
If Landry really wants to solve crime in NOLA, then he should send lawyers into schools and mentor young men about options. A proven technique is to adopt a classroom of kids and guarantee them a college education. These programs have 98% success rates. Landry’s actions only make NOLA more unsafe. He is destabilizing precarious families and family structures. In fact, multitudinous studies show that arresting people form nonviolent “crime” only increases crime.
To date, Landry has trampled on the rights of LGBT people and increased crime in NOLA. Hummm.