By: Clancy DuBos
Wendy Vitter, wife of embattled U.S. Sen. David Vitter, weighed in against the controversial legislative pay raise last Wednesday (June 11), just as the raise was being considered and ultimately approved by the House and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Vitter sent a pointed email to 10 individual state representatives, most of them from metro New Orleans and all of them Republicans, expressing her complete opposition to the pay raises. The job of a state legislator is not and was never meant to be a full-time job. It should be paid as such, Vitter wrote. I have complete confidence that you will loudly oppose this raise and speak boldly on behalf of your constituents who struggle every day to make ends meet. Vitters confidence was misplaced, however. Of the 10 GOP lawmakers she emailed, four sit on the House and Governmental Affairs Committee and three of them voted for the pay raises: Reps. Pat Connick of Marrero, Cameron Henry of Jefferson and Tony Ligi of Kenner. The lone recipient of Vitters email to vote against the raise in committee was Rep. Jane Smith of Bossier City. Of the 13 representatives voting for raises in committee, eight are Republicans. The raises were up for final vote in the House on Friday, as Gambit Weekly was going to press. The most poignant comment on the raises may have come from veteran legislative critic C.B. Forgotston, who noted, The leges are so overworked and underpaid that they want their pay raise effective July 1, 2008. However, they voted to delay the taxpayers a small increase in their paychecks [via an income tax break] until July 1, 2009.