Sunday, December 07, 2008

Louisiana voters oust indicted Rep. Jefferson

Wow! This gives me some hope in our voters. Rep. William Jefferson was indicted for bribery in 2007. I have heard that Louisiana is as corrupt a state as Illinois although Jefferson was a US Congressman, so perhaps his bribes may have nothing to do with Louisiana politics.

All the same his replacement in Congress is a Republican who just so happens to be of Vietnamese descent. Interesting, Republicans have opened the door to two ethnic minorities with and Indian-American as Governor and a Vietnamese-American going to Congress. Ever better we see this in an unlikely state because I never would have thought Louisiana was open to electing ethnic minorities to political positions in the state. Well Congress shouldn't have been a big feat but Governor? Could anyone have imagined?

In anycase in reading this AP article this sort of disappointed me:
In a speech that was gracious but stopped short of concession, Jefferson blamed low voter turnout for his showing and said supporters may have thought he was a shoo-in after he won a Nov. 4 primary in the predominantly black and heavily Democratic district.

"I think people just ran out of gas a bit," he said. "People today flat didn't come out in large numbers."

Greg Rigamer, a New Orleans political consultant, said his analysis showed turnout in predominantly white sections of the district was double that in black areas. He said that helped push Cao to victory over Jefferson, who became Louisiana's first black congressman since Reconstruction when he took office in 1991.
New Orleans voters had long been loyal to Jefferson, re-electing him in 2006 even after news of the bribery scandal broke. Late-night TV comics made him the butt of jokes after federal agents said they found $90,000 in alleged bribe money hidden in his freezer.

"People are innocent until proven guilty," said Faye Leggins, 54, an educator and Democrat who moved back to the city six months ago and still has fresh memories of Hurricane Katrina. She voted for Jefferson on Saturday. "He has enough seniority, so he can do a lot to redevelop this city."
Well disappointed yes, but probably not surprised. I hated to think black folks would have continued to support a politician who was indicted for corruption. If nothing else this revelation should give any voter pause before they cast a ballot. Do Blacks want to stick it to Uncle Sam or do they want honest politicians?

Like I've said already Jefferson hasn't been convicted but now he won't have his seat on Congress while he fights this in court. The fact is that since he's already been indicted, he may not be guilty, but it doesn't look good if the suspicion becomes eventually a day in court when you're headed to trial. At least a scandal tainted Congressman won't still be in office so that he'll find himself ineffectual in helping to rebuild New Orleans as one of his voters would have hoped.

The next question is what will the new guy do? If people are concerned about clout and seniority in the US Congress, Representative-elect Anh "Joseph" Cao might have a problem and even worse Republicans are in the minority. What do you suppose that being a bright light in an otherwise dismal year for Republicans might give him a little clout? And if it turned out that Cao might have some staying power in that district, then who knows he might be able to do more to rebuild New Orleans than Jefferson would have been if he stayed in his position.


Villager said...

I am glad to see William Jefferson ousted. His congressional district deserved better. I wish Mr. Cao well in his new leadership position...

btw, thank you for the 'link-love' in the sidebar!

peace, Villager

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