JAY DARDENNE, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR FOR THE STATE OF LOUISIANA, DISCUSSES THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR’S JOB AS “SALESMAN” FOR THE STATE, AS WELL AS THE OIL SPILL

Interview with Jay Dardenne | 

LOCKE MEREDITH: Hello, I’m Locke Meredith. I’d like to invite you to join me on our next Legal Lines where we’re very pleased to have on the show the Lieutenant Governor for the State of Louisiana, Jay Dardenne. Jay’s going to talk to us about what he’s doing as our Lieutenant Governor. He frankly is the salesman for the state. He’s even traveled to New York to sell this state and make sure folks know that Louisiana is a great place to come visit and tour and move to. He’s making sure also that folks know that our seafood is wonderful, and it’s clean. And finally, he’s making sure that BP pays us all the money that they need to make sure that we get back on our feet. So join me on the next Legal Lines with Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne.

 

LOCKE MEREDITH: Welcome to Legal Lines. I’m Locke Meredith and I’m very pleased to have on the show today Jay Dardenne.

JAY DARDENNE: Locke, good to see you again.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Good to see you again. You are now the Lieutenant Governor of the State of Louisiana, and that’s quite a position to hold.

JAY DARDENNE: Well, it’s a great job. I’m real honored to be in this position running the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, so I get to spend every day talking about the great things in Louisiana that people ought to enjoy.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Explain to the folks how it’s kind of broken down, the governor has various departments, and then under those departments there are agencies. So explain to them basically how that works.

JAY DARDENNE: Well, a number of years ago the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism was placed under the Lieutenant Governor, so that department operates completely independently of the Governor’s agencies. For example, the Governor is in charge of the Department of Health, Transportation, Economic Development, various components of state government. He appoints the secretaries. In the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, the Lieutenant Governor is responsible for that. So I’m responsible for that. In fact, I decided when I got elected November I was not going to fill the highest paid position in the department. I feel like I was elected to do that job and I’m going to save the taxpayers $130,000 that that person was being paid and I’m doing the job.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Excellent.

JAY DARDENNE: I’ve got some very capable assistants who are helping. Randy Davis is our Undersecretary for Management Finance. Kathy Berry is our Chief of Staff, and the three of us are kind of coordinating the activities of the various entities under the department. And they include the State Library, the State Museum System, the Office of Tourism, the Office of Cultural Development, which includes the arts and the office of state parks. So it’s a broad range of activities that involve Louisiana’s cultural recreational life.

LOCKE MEREDITH: And let’s talk about each one of those. Basically I’m not sure the folks maybe even know about a particular agency and what they do and how they can access the benefits of that.

JAY DARDENNE: Well let me tell you about each one of them. The Office of State Library. We have one state library, one building in Louisiana. It’s downtown right in the shadow of the State Capitol. It’s not a circulating library in that you can’t go in a check out books. State employees can do that, but the general public doesn’t go in and check out books.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Can you access information via web?

JAY DARDENNE: Absolutely. And that’s what the library does. We provide internet access to every public library in Louisiana. And a lot of people will be surprised to hear that less than 50% of the people in Louisiana have internet access at home. That’s kind of an alarming number, but they’re dependent upon their local public libraries to access information, to download forms and what have you, and the State Library is responsible for making certain those public libraries have internet access. So it’s a very important function that they perform.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Well, and the bottom line is, knowledge is power.

JAY DARDENNE: That’s right. And there’s also a tutorial service that’s offered through the State Library and through the internet at every public library so that kids who are looking for help for the LEAP exam, for example, can talk to a teacher online as they prepare for those studies. So that’s an important thing that we do. We have the State Museum System. Now we have two museum systems in Louisiana. I used to operate the Secretary of State Museum System, and we created the Heroes and Heritage Trail when I was there to kind of link those 17 museums, but what’s called the State Museum System is under the Lieutenant Governor’s office. It includes the Cabildo and the Presbytere, the U.S. Mint in New Orleans. And the Capitol Park Museum, which is downtown right next to the State Capitol as well as a number of other facilities.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Jay, why do we have two sets of museums?

JAY DARDENNE: Well, it goes back to a political answer many, many years ago when there was a split between the old state capitol primarily in New Orleans and there was a desire to move the old state capitol under the office of the Secretary of State, and so that split occurred. There’s always been some discussion about whether we ought to have two systems and frankly, they are working well with these two systems right now. We’ve determined that it would not be a huge monetary savings if there was some kind of a consolidation.

LOCKE MEREDITH: So there’s a coordination and communication between the Lieutenant Governor and the Secretary of State?

JAY DARDENNE: There is now, because we certainly have been there, and we have a close working relationship, and we’re going to continue that. But the State Museum System also includes a number of historic sites. Places that are not necessarily museums, per se, but that are important sites in Louisiana.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Like archaeological sites?

JAY DARDENNE: Well, I’m going to come to archaeological sites. They’re not under the State Museum System, but, for example, the E. D. White house in Thibodaux where the only Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court from Louisiana. His home is a beautiful home, right outside of Thibodaux. It’s a historic site. Rosedown Plantation is a historic site that is operated under our auspices, so historic sites and museums are a part of that. The state park system; we have more than 20 state parks in Louisiana that are very reasonably priced and accessible, and really great treasures for the people of Louisiana who own those parks.

LOCKE MEREDITH: In fact I have an RV and we would load up the four kids occasionally, of course it was a lot more when they were young, and head out to the state parks and lakes, and all the amenities they have.

JAY DARDENNE: They’re all over Louisiana. And very interesting, one of those sites I want to mention just briefly, Poverty Point in the northeastern part of the state right up near Epps, Louisiana outside of Delhi, Louisiana, in the very northeast corner. It is being considered to be a world heritage site, one of 21 sites that would be selected because archaeologically it existed before there were Aztecs and before there were Mayans there were native Americans in this state that had a very sophisticated society, and there’s a historic park there, there’s a state park there, there’s the #1 rated golf course in Louisiana, the Black Bear Golf Course, all part of that little small rural community.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Very interesting. I’m not sure anybody knew about that on this side, anyway down here.

JAY DARDENNE: Well, I talk about it a lot in South Louisiana because we don’t appreciate a lot of the treasures we have in North Louisiana. It’s part of my effort to try and link north and south Louisiana more so that all people in the state appreciate the fact that we can do a lot more as one state if we think of ourselves in that way.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Well, and we’ll talk about it later, but a … literally millions and millions of dollars are spent in tourism.

JAY DARDENNE: Absolutely.

LOCKE MEREDITH: What other agencies do you have under you?

JAY DARDENNE: Well, the Office of Cultural Development, which is responsible for the arts in Louisiana, the visual arts, the graphic arts, the performing arts. Depending on funding that’s available, and that funding is greatly threatened in the current budget situation we make grants available to every parish of the state, what’s called the Decentralized Arts Program, that allows local municipalities to make decisions on where to invest some dollars in artistic efforts that enhance the quality of life in those communities.

LOCKE MEREDITH: So the State gives money to local folks who then decide what artists or group of artists they’re going to pay to generate some type of art work.

JAY DARDENNE: That’s right. And what kind of artistic efforts benefit the communities. There are an awful lot of festivals or an awful lot of programs that are arts related.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Ahh, so it’s not limited to artwork. I’m thinking of making a painting or something.

JAY DARDENNE: That’s right. A lot of it is, but it’s also the ballet, the symphony, the music groups that may perform in local communities. There’s a very formal process … grant process, and a group of peered judges who decide where these grants are going to be allocated, so it’s not just done on a political basis. It’s done based on merit. And it’s also done on a local level so people can make decisions as to what’s best for their community.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Excellent. Any other agencies?

JAY DARDENNE: Well, the big one, the last one is the Office of Tourism. And that’s the office that is responsible for promoting Louisiana and making certain we get the message out to people all across the country about great things that take place in Louisiana.

LOCKE MEREDITH: And, in fact, I know that you have recently gone to New York to basically pump up the state, so to speak.

JAY DARDENNE: That’s right.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Tell us about it.

JAY DARDENNE: Well, we’re doing a lot to get the message out about Louisiana. Our new, our new brand for Louisiana, I said when I ran I wanted Louisiana to have a new identity, a new brand. And we introduced that about 60 days after I took office, and it’s Louisiana, the word Louisiana, with the I’s in Louisiana as exclamation points.

JAY DARDENNE: And beneath Louisiana is the phrase, “Pick Your Passion,” because we’re passionate about so many things in our State. Our food, our music, our culture, or recreational life, and that’s what we want to communicate to people.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Extraordinarily unique state.

JAY DARDENNE: It is, and whatever your passion may be, you can indulge it in Louisiana. So we’re getting that message out.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Alright. We’ll continue this on our next segment. This is Locke Meredith with Legal Lines and our Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne will be right back.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Welcome back to Legal Lines. I’m Locke Meredith, and again we’re very pleased to have on the show today our Lieutenant Governor for the State of Louisiana, Jay Dardenne. Again, Jay, thanks for coming back.

JAY DARDENNE: Nice to be with you, Locke.

LOCKE MEREDITH: We were talking about basically you being the ambassador for the state and promoting tourism by folks out of the state and in to the state, and also folks in the state itself. Explain to the folks.

JAY DARDENNE: We’re going to try to put a new emphasis on our tourism effort to bring people from outside of Louisiana into Louisiana to spend money. Most people don’t realize for every dollar we spend on tourism, we’re going to generate $17 for the state of Louisiana. It’s a great return on investment, and that’s why I’ve been pretty passionate about trying to tell the legislature give us the opportunity to spend this money because we’re going to make money for you. It’s one of the few areas of state government where if you spend a dollar you’re going to make $17.

LOCKE MEREDITH: I can’t tell you … I think about the state as being a business venture, you know, making money for the folks.

JAY DARDENNE: Well, it’s going to generate revenue that we can use to support education and healthcare. That’s why we feel like it’s important to make sure we tell people about Louisiana.

LOCKE MEREDITH: It’s almost like a business.

JAY DARDENNE: It is a business. And tourism is an industry and we’ve tried to treat it as such. And we’ve tried to rally those who were involved in the tourism industry to deliver this message that we really are an economic engine for Louisiana. One out of every ten people in the state is employed in the tourism industry. When you think about restaurants and hotels and the events that we have in Louisiana, it’s a real driver of our economy.

LOCKE MEREDITH: And our population’s what, about 4.4 – 4.5 million folks, so that’s …

JAY DARDENNE: That’s a lot of people.

LOCKE MEREDITH: That’s a lot of people.

JAY DARDENNE: And we’re uh… our budget for the Office of Tourism is entirely driven by a dedicated source of revenue. We get 3/100ths of a penny of sales tax that goes to fund the tourism effort in Louisiana. We don’t get any state general funds, so there’s no money coming out of the general fund to support tourism. It’s all based on this 3/100th of a penny of tax.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Is there any chance of getting federal grants or anything like that?

JAY DARDENNE: Uh, no, no federal grants that will go directly to our tourism expenditures, although obviously there are grants available in state government that people use that are related to promoting things that help with our tourism effort, but there’s no money directly from the federal government to help us in that effort.

LOCKE MEREDITH: So do you have to say, coordinate efforts with some other departments or, or governmental agencies at times?

JAY DARDENNE: Well, sure. We are working closely with local governments to promote activities that they have within their own communities and, in fact, we have developed some programs where we’re sharing advertising opportunities with local convention and visitors bureaus where they can piggyback on the ads that we may be running to promote individual events in their communities.

LOCKE MEREDITH: So if your funds are generated solely by sales tax and we know the economy has been in the tank for a couple of years at least, I imagine funds are down.

JAY DARDENNE: Oh, we’ve got a fairly steady budget to promote tourism. Our problem has been, and this is an argument that’ll be made during the debate on the legislative budget …

LOCKE MEREDITH: They cranked up today, didn’t they?

JAY DARDENNE: They’ve already started, and what’s happened is they’ve started to intrude on this dedicated money for purposes other than what we think it ought to be spent for. We think it’s an advertising and marketing fund to spend money outside of Louisiana to bring people into Louisiana, and there’ve been some efforts to intrude on that money and use it for things we don’t believe are the appropriate uses.

LOCKE MEREDITH: What are they suggesting it should be used for?

JAY DARDENNE: Well, for example, one of the proposals it to use the dedicated tourism money to fund the arts. We feel like the arts absolutely need to be funded. They are a driver of our economy as well, but they should be funded as they have been in the past with state general fund dollars, not with our dedicated tourism money. There’s also been a trend in the past couple of years to use the dedicated tourism money to pay for the operational expenses of particular events, like the Final Four that’s coming to New Orleans next year; the Essence Music Festival. These are great events for tourism in Louisiana, and I support them and I want to see them enhanced. But I don’t think the dedicated money for advertising and marketing ought to be used for those operating expenses. So these are policy decisions that will be discussed during the course of the legislative debate. But the key fact is, we’ve got a dedicated source of money to promote Louisiana. I want more of it to go to advertise and market our state outside the borders of Louisiana. And we’ve initiated a pretty aggressive $3.2M campaign this spring and this summer to try and help Louisiana rebound from the devastating effect of the oil spill last year.

LOCKE MEREDITH: BP. Absolutely.

JAY DARDENNE: And so that’s an effort to introduce our Pick Your Passion brand and to encourage people this summer to appreciate everything great that Louisiana has to offer.

LOCKE MEREDITH: I’ve certainly seen all kinds of advertisements for Florida or Alabama, or any number of other states.

JAY DARDENNE: That’s right.

LOCKE MEREDITH: And basically, we’re going to start competing in that market, so to speak.

JAY DARDENNE: That’s right. And we’ve been there in the past. We haven’t been there to the degree I want to see us there over the course of the next several years. And we’re going to be a lot more aggressive in our campaign effort. We’re going to broaden our footprint a little bit and try to reach some areas other than our traditional drive markets, the Houston and close proximity areas. We’ll venture out into Little Rock, for example, and Memphis and Atlanta, as well as some national advertising on some of the cable networks, the travel channel, the food channel, just as examples where people who watch those show are prone to want to go to places that they find exciting and interesting and passionate. And that’s what Louisiana is.

LOCKE MEREDITH: And so, really what we’re talking about primarily in that venture is just to spend some advertising dollars and get folks coming here.

JAY DARDENNE: That’s right.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Alright. Well, what kind of budget do you have?

JAY DARDENNE: Well we have about $22M that is coming from that dedicated source of revenue. That has to pay for the entire operation of our tourism effort in Louisiana. It pays for our retirement effort as well because we’ve got a program called the Encore Program designed to help drive retirees into Louisiana. And we don’t spend as much on direct advertising and marketing as we need to. I’m going to change that. I’m going to redirect these monies so that we spend more on advertising and marketing because that’s where the rubber hits the road, and that’s where we think we can get people into the state.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Now, BP, you mentioned it. We had the oil spill; it really hurt our state. Are you able to access any of the funds that they’ve sent our way to compensate us for the losses?

JAY DARDENNE: Yes, yes we have. And the oil spill had a dramatic effect, as you would imagine on the entire state.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Sure, nobody wanted to eat the seafood. I’ll admit it. I didn’t want to eat it immediately after.

JAY DARDENNE: Well you need to start eating it now, because there was never anything wrong with it, and there certainly is not now. And I’ll mention that in a minute, but the entire gulf coast, of course, got affected in a negative way, and we’re dealing with misperceptions now. It’s like after the hurricane there was a sense that Louisiana was entirely under water, which was not the case. Right now, perceptions nationally still exist of those oiled pelicans and the belief that oil is washing on the shore of Louisiana on a daily basis, which, of course, is not happening. So, we’ve got to correct these misperceptions and convince people that Louisiana seafood is the most tested seafood literally in the history of the world. Three hundred thousand individual pieces of seafood have been tested. Not a single one has been found to be contaminated or adversely affected. So our seafood is abundant, it’s delicious, it’s fresh, it’s plentiful, it’s healthy, we want people to enjoy it.

LOCKE MEREDITH: And it provides a ton of jobs for folks here in Louisiana.

JAY DARDENNE: Absolutely.

LOCKE MEREDITH: That industry.

JAY DARDENNE: It does, and an industry that was directly negatively impacted by the spill because commercial fishing obviously fell off. Recreational fishing was devastated.

LOCKE MEREDITH: You couldn’t fish.

JAY DARDENNE: People cancelled trips.

LOCKE MEREDITH: They limited where people could go.

JAY DARDENNE: You couldn’t fish, people felt like there was no need to come down here and fish, and I’m working closely with recreational fishermen and marina owners and tour guides along the coast who are trying to build back their business. And so we’re helping them try to do that and get recreational fishermen from all over the country, particularly those with a lot of disposable income, to come to Louisiana. To think about coming to Louisiana in the dead of winter where they’re forced to ice fish. Where they can come down here, they can saltwater fish, freshwater fish – all in the same day during the wintertime.

LOCKE MEREDITH: And Jay, are all the bodies of water now open to fishing? There’s no limitations?

JAY DARDENNE: Ninety-nine percent of fishing waters are now open. And we’re very close to having them all open, but yes. The answer is yes, our bodies of water are open. Fish are plentiful, they’re being caught, we’ve got to deliver that message. Now, BP has provided some funds to help with this advertising effort. Last year in the wake of the spill, the State got $15M. The City of New Orleans got $5M. A coalition of convention and visitors bureaus from the affected areas on the coast got $5M, and the Office of Tourism got $5M. All of that money has been spent. It was spent last year, and that was a good thing because we needed to do it in the wake of the spill. So we’ve got some money to spend this year that I’ll tell you about as well.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Well let’s talk about that and maybe going after them a little bit more. Alright, this is Locke Meredith with Legal Lines. Our Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne will be right back.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Welcome back to Legal Lines. Again, I’m Locke Meredith. I’m very pleased to have on the show our Lieutenant Governor for the State of Louisiana, Jay Dardenne.

Jay, we were talking about BP and the spill and how it really devastated our communities in the state at large. That they’ve given different parts of our agencies and departments in government money. Continue to explain to the folks how that’s being used and what we have left to get from them.

JAY DARDENNE: Well, this year we’ve got an additional sum of money. In fact, there was a memorandum of understanding signed literally three days before I took office, so I didn’t have the opportunity to be a part of the negotiation on this. I would have done things a little bit differently, but we’re getting a significant amount of money this year.

LOCKE MEREDITH: And when you say we, you’re talking about the entire state?

JAY DARDENNE: Well we’re talking about the state, but I’ll tell you who gets it.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Okay.

JAY DARDENNE: We’ve got $18M that is going to ongoing seafood testing to be handled by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. The Seafood Marketing and Promotion Board, which under the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, is getting $30M. It’s a huge amount of money to promote Louisiana seafood.

LOCKE MEREDITH: It shows you how valuable that industry is.

JAY DARDENNE: It is, and they’re taking Louisiana chefs all across the country and literally all across the world to serve Louisiana seafood. To market Louisiana seafood. The tourism efforts of Louisiana are also getting an additional $30M. Every parish in the state is getting some money, depending on their location compared to where the spill occurred and their size. The Parish of Orleans gets $6M; more than any other parish. The affected parishes on the coast get $2.1M. The other coastal parishes get $500,000 each, and every other parish in the state gets a certain amount of money ranging from as small an amount as about $4,000, and some of the $2,000 in some of the small rural parishes in the north. That is being paid in six $5M installments over the next 18 months.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Okay.

JAY DARDENNE: So from a cash flow standpoint, this is being paid out over a period of time. It’s not all coming in one fell swoop. Our office, the Office of Tourism, is getting $5M to promote our advertising and marketing effort and an additional $1.5M to help with events to promote Louisiana. So when you add all that up, it’s $30M. Our office, and I am charged with the responsibility of coordinating this effort with an organized tourism program. So we have required all the parishes to submit to us a plan for how they want to spend the money. We are requiring them to incorporate our Pick Your Passion brand on any print and broadcast ads that they do. We’re trying to create a focus. We’re giving them a lot of flexibility. I’m not trying to micromanage what those parishes do. I want them to do what they believe will be best in their individual locales. But we want to make sure that we’re coordinating these efforts; we’re not duplicating our efforts, and that we’ve got a concentrated message that focuses on our brand: Louisiana Pick Your Passion. Those passions are different in different parts of the state. And we want to afford the flexibility, and we’ve done that, for the various parishes to do so.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Jay, does the state and does your agencies and departments still have the right to go after BP for more money?

JAY DARDENNE: Oh, absolutely. And you know this, obviously. This is all in the context of potential litigation. There’re lawsuits that have already been filed by individual claimants who have been damaged individually and from a business standpoint. The State of Louisiana has a claim. The various affected parishes have claims. There’re going to be penalties imposed on the parties who were responsible for the spill. And Louisiana is negotiating at the federal level through our congressional delegation to try and earmark those penalties to help with that.

LOCKE MEREDITH: So it’s not penalties the state’s imposing. It’s federal.

JAY DARDENNE: It’s federal penalties. And there are going to be multiple levels of penalties, but we’re trying to get those federal dollars to help with our coastal erosion incidents.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Sure. It makes sense.

JAY DARDENNE: Because they’re dramatic, as you know. And we’ve talked about that before. Louisiana’s coastline is threatened. It’s America’s wetland. We all need to be concerned about the plight of the coast, and that’s going to be part of the overall litigation as well. But all of these payments are made in the context that they know litigation is out there. And there will be offsets, obviously, based upon payments that have been made to the state to help with our efforts.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Okay.

JAY DARDENNE: Ummm… it’s an ongoing …

LOCKE MEREDITH: A potential source of revenue.

JAY DARDENNE: That’s right. It’s a lot of money.

LOCKE MEREDITH: It should be.

JAY DARDENNE: It’s one-time money. And that’s the very important thing for us to remember. Like we’re talking about the debate about the budget, this is one-time money. It’s not going to be coming back, and coming back, and coming back.

LOCKE MEREDITH: So we’d better make it count.

JAY DARDENNE: We need to make it count and we need to make certain it doesn’t supplant what we’re doing with our ongoing advertising and marketing efforts that need to continued and be increased year to year.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Alright. Let’s talk about the fact that you are the Lieutenant Governor, which means if Governor Jindal becomes incapacitated or is out of the state and some type of event occurs that requires action, you’re the man.

JAY DARDENNE: That’s right. That’s the constitutional mandate of the Office of Lieutenant Governor – to be prepared to step in and serve in the event that circumstances would present themselves for that to happen.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Now there were, I believe, other constitutionally mandated committee ex officio positions. Explain to the folks what that’s about.

JAY DARDENNE: Well, they’re not constitutional as much as they are statutory. The Lieutenant Governor serves as an ex officio member of every commission that the governor otherwise would serve on, so for example, I’m on the bond commission as a voting member of the bond commission, which is a very important and unheralded part of what Louisiana does. And I’m on a number of other boards or commissions as an ex officio member as the Lieutenant Governor.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Now, you took office in November, and here we go again, right?

JAY DARDENNE: Yeah, I’ve got to run again this fall. Now obviously I was elected to serve the remaining one year on the term that became vacant when Mitch Landreau was elected mayor of New Orleans. So I’m serving this one year. I’ve got to run again this fall for the full four-year term. And I certainly will be a candidate this fall.

LOCKE MEREDITH: And are there term limits for the position as there are, sometimes, for the legislature?

JAY DARDENNE: You know, they’re not, and I don’t understand why they’re not. Frankly, there was a bill filed last year to impose the term limits on statewide elected officials. And one day I think that will happen. I think it probably should happen. But it there are no term limits right now on the statewide elected officials other than the governor, who can only serve two consecutive terms.

LOCKE MEREDITH: That’s really interesting.

JAY DARDENNE: Yeah.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Tell the folks. You’ve got some other issues that you’re concerned with. You talked about coastal erosion, but also litter.

JAY DARDENNE: When I was Secretary of State I really started an informal campaign to fight litter in Louisiana, and I have continued that now in my role as Lieutenant Governor where it’s even more prominent because litter is such a disincentive to economic development and a disincentive to tourism. We’re the sportsman’s paradise. We spent a lot of time and energy and money to promote the beauty of our state for folks to come bird-watch and hunt and fish and paddle and canoe and hike and enjoy the splendor of Louisiana’s very landscape. And when it’s marred by styrofoam and paper and trash …

LOCKE MEREDITH: That doesn’t help sell the state, does it?

JAY DARDENNE: So I’m spending a lot of time telling people pick up after yourself. Encourage your kids to pick up after themselves. Be educated on the negative aspects of litter and let’s make sure our state is clean.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Jay, how do folks learn more about what the Lieutenant Governor’s office does?

JAY DARDENNE: LouisianaTravel.com is the website to go where you can find out everything about our tourism efforts, where you can get links to state parks and museums and everything that we do to promote Louisiana. LouisianaTravel.com is the website to go to.

LOCKE MEREDITH: And I presume since the legislature is now in regular session, you’re pretty much down at the capitol fighting for your part of the limited pie.

JAY DARDENNE: Well, I will be. You know, it’s a session where the budget is predominant, and it’s a fiscal only session, limited number of bills, so there’s not a lot of legislation that we’re tracking as you would normally have in a legislative session.

LOCKE MEREDITH: So not as many bullets coming at you, I guess.

JAY DARDENNE: That’s right. We’re not firing very many, and we’re not stepping aside from as many, but we are following the budget closely. And we’ll certainly be involved in the debate on the budget to make certain that we are focused on promoting Louisiana and helping us generate dollars for Louisiana, because every dollar we get, we’re going to general $17 for the state.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Jay, as I understand it, there’s a $1.6B difference between what we got in revenues and what the government wants to spend. You were a legislator for, what, fifteen years?

JAY DARDENNE: Yes.

LOCKE MEREDITH: You’ve been in about near every position that you can have. How would you deal with that?

JAY DARDENNE: Well, it’s tough to do. I chaired the senate finance committee and was vice chair for four years and dealt with a lot of tough times economically. We had good times and we had bad times. We all have to do our part and we’re doing our part and recognize that we have to do so. It’s going to be a tough time, but we’ll be okay.

LOCKE MEREDITH: Jay, thank you so much.

JAY DARDENNE: Thank you, Locke.

LOCKE MEREDITH: I appreciate it. This is Locke Meredith with Legal Lines and the Lieutenant Governor, Jay Dardenne. Thank you for being with us.

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