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article imageLouisiana State Senator Vitter Swims Against Liberal Tide of Dems Special

By Carol Forsloff     Apr 7, 2009 in Politics
Senator David Vitter met with the Natchitoches community on April 6 at the Natchitoches Art Center. He presented an agenda radically different than that of the Obama administration, swimming against the current Democratic liberal tide.
Approximately 75 to 100 people were in attendance to listen to Vitter speak on Monday morning. Several local officials including Sylvia Morrow and Jack McCain as well as Mayor McCullen were in attendance, in addition to Representative Rick Nowlin and State Senator Gerald Long, the chief of police of Natchitoches and parish officials.
Vitter began his presentation with his concerns about jobs and the economy. He said that he disagreed with many of the decisions that have been made by the Obama administration. Specifically he doesn't believe that the stimulus bill provides the appropriate balance of cost and benefits and declares that the costs far outweigh the benefits citizens will derive from the package. Vitter also maintains that the stimulus bill adds to the national debt. He is concerned about the economic future. Furthermore he worries that the bill does not focus enough on immediate job creation, which he sees is essential in the present economy.
The Senator went on to review his recent record and stance on political issues facing the country. He voted against the bailout bills and has been concerned because they represent certain large companies and big banks that are believed to be too big to fail. There is a concern that the government will be taking over more and more of the economy. The third issue is the present budget that Vitter believes expands government spending and expands the role of government in too many areas as well as raising taxes and increasing debt. For example, Vitter explained, the budget will in five years double the U.S. Debt.
Energy is important to the Louisiana economy, Vitter underlined. He is concerned about the tax on energy production, especially the Haynesville Shale. He believes that Louisiana is doing fairly well by comparison with the rest of the United States but that the new budget could move the state to the worst part of the spectrum. He has introduced an energy bill that would create jobs and not expand debt which he explained would involve a number of benefits. First of all, he believes that the bill would increase domestic energy production. He also believes it is important to do more to promote offshore drilling and drilling in the ANWAR. Secondly, he wants to see a new federal royalty on energy production put in a trust fund. The third leg of the program is to streamline the energy delivery process so that it gets to market sooner and isn't held up in fights with government agencies. He maintains that the delivery process can be streamlined.
After his presentation, Vitter managed questions from the audience on a broad number of issues. He promised to explore possible corruption in a government agency in Baton Rouge that concerned one audience member. He is unsure, he says, that unemployment benefits can be extended again, recognizing the concerns one person from the audience stated that would impact many people economically without income. $100 billion annually was quoted as the cost of extending unemployment benefits.
Through questions and answers from the audience, Vitter reaffirmed his position against gun control. He maintains that he opposed the appointment of the present attorney general as well as Clinton for Secretary of State. He declared his passion for levee development and said that the Army Corps of Engineers has said that by 2011 the levees will be in place to protect the City of New Orleans from devastating storms. He went on to say that the city needs higher levels of protection that involve coastal restoration and protection against storm surge. He explained that the area loses a football field amount of land every 38 minutes, which is at an alarming rate. These issues not only affect New Orleans but also the rest of the state because of how flood maps are impacted and flood insurance rates increased.
With reference to President Barack Obama's recent trip overseas, Vitter said he doesn't believe that Obama should apologize for U.S. Behaviors. He said that the United States is an example for the world and that the President should uphold that example. As for voting issues, he agreed with a member of the audience that ACORN's activities in the last election, where fraudulent registrations were discovered, should be carefully monitored. He is concerned that in some places photo identification is not required for voting.
Vitter's audience was responsive, but didn't appear as demonstrative nor as angry as they were after the presentation made by Representative John Fleming who appeared in Natchitoches several weeks ago. Clearly Vitter has a very conservative agenda, but he presents it with clarity and a degree of pleasantness and consideration that seemed to make the more liberal audience members be less defensive in their questions during the town hall meeting. He resisted name-calling and labeling and seemed to stick to what he believed and was doing in Congress. That ability is likely why Vitter stays in favor with many Louisiana voters despite remarks about his personal life in the national press. If he is seeking redemption, he seems to have found it with the reception he received in Natchitoches.
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