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After arriving in the Louisiana Senate following a 2009 special election and currently in his first full term, state Sen. Norby Chabert, R-Houma, has confirmed he is being courted to oppose U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu's re-election next year. But Chabert — until two years ago a registered Democrat — added he is focused on his work in the state Senate for now and any kind of significant thought on the proposition would have to be given later. Moreover, Chabert said the U.S. Senate race isn’t the only one in his sights. “I’m being asked about a couple of different races,” he said.
Chabert's experience of working on coastal issues and with the oil and gas industry are among the reasons that sources say energy interests are encouraging him to run, in an effort to undercut Landrieu's similar strengths, although the senior U.S. senator unarguably has a longer record of service in that regard than does Chabert.
But there’s another connection between the two: Chabert served as a trusted consultant to Landrieu during her 2002 re-election campaign. In 2009, he told the Houma Courier, “Doing everything I could to see Sen. Landrieu get elected was a major accomplishment for me... And I’ve learned a lot from Sen. Landrieu as well.’”
When asked about his former gig, Chabert said, “It's only fair to say that I worked for her over 10 years ago and I've served for years in elected office and that is a lot of time to change your views on something — or somebody.”
Restore Our Republic, which Politico calls a "hard-core PAC for hard-right Republicans," aims to raise money to support fiscal and social conservatives in races for the U.S. House of Representatives, though it hasn't announced formal support of any candidates yet.
Landry, who expressed his disgust with Washington on his way out the door (some of his fellow legislators say the feeling was entirely mutual), told the media his first priority upon returning to Acadiana was getting back to duck hunting. That didn't stop speculation that Landry might stand against Sen. Mary Landrieu in the 2014 election, a notion that Landry himself has never quite discouraged. But Politico speculates the establishment of the SuperPAC makes a Landry candidacy less likely:
Last month, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu addressed her position on same sex marriage as the U.S Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. U.S. Senate Democrats had only a handful of marriage equality opponents — Landrieu among them. Today, Indiana's Joe Donnelly and North Dakota's Heidi Heitkamp came forward in support.
Donnelly wrote the following on Facebook: "With the recent Supreme Court arguments and accompanying public discussion of same-sex marriage, I have been thinking about my past positions and votes. In doing so, I have concluded that the right thing to do is to support marriage equality for all."
"After speaking with North Dakotans from every corner of our great state, and much personal reflection, I have concluded the federal government should no longer discriminate against people who want to make lifelong, loving commitments to each other or interfere in personal, private, and intimate relationships," Heitkamp wrote. "The makeup of families is changing, but the importance of family is enduring."
Landrieu has not outright opposed the concept — she even has acknowledged the "progression" of public opinion and its influence. Last month, Landrieu told Buzzfeed that she feels "very strongly that people should be allowed to love who they love," but added, "unfortunately my state has a very strong ban against gay marriage constitutionally."
When asked if they have a higher opinion of either Congress or a series of unpleasant or disliked things, voters said they had a higher opinion of root canals (32 for Congress and 56 for the dental procedure), NFL replacement refs (29-56), head lice (19-67), the rock band Nickelback (32-39), colonoscopies (31-58), Washington DC political pundits (34-37), carnies (31-39), traffic jams (34-56), cockroaches (43-45), Donald Trump (42-44), France (37-46), Genghis Khan (37-41), used-car salesmen (32-57), and Brussels sprouts (23-69) than Congress.
The good news for Congress: America's august legislative body is more popular than telemarketers, North Korea or gonorrhea. So there's that. But overall:
Congress’s overall favorability rating stands at just 9% favorable and 85% unfavorable. Women (13-81) view Congress slightly more favorably than men (6-89), as do Democrats (13-82) than Republicans (9-87), perhaps reflecting Democrats’ higher level of satisfaction with the recent fiscal cliff deal.
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Sen. David Vitter, R-La., was named the Humane Senator of the Year for his leadership on securing needed funding to strengthen USDA enforcement of key animal welfare laws, as well as on bills to require licensing and inspections of puppy mills selling directly to the public via the Internet or other means (the PUPS Act, S. 707) and to prohibit interstate and foreign commerce in nonhuman primates for the pet trade (the Captive Primate Safety Act, S. 1324). Sen. Vitter helped get a bipartisan group of 34 Sens. to join in seeking funding for USDA to improve its oversight of puppy mills, laboratories, zoos, circuses and other regulated facilities; rein in the illegal “soring” of show horses (where trainers inflict severe pain on the animals’ legs and hooves to make it hurt them to step down, so they will exaggerate their high-stepping gait and win prizes); strengthen enforcement of the humane slaughter law; prevent illegal animal fighting; ease a shortage of veterinarians in rural areas and USDA positions through student loan repayment; and help address the needs of animals in disasters. Sen. Vitter also has been a champion over the years on legislation to require accurate labeling of fur apparel regardless of dollar value, to crack down on dogfighting and cockfighting, to ban the creation and distribution of obscene animal torture (“crush”) videos, and to strengthen the law against shark finning (cutting the fins off and throwing the rest of the living animals back in the water).
Vitter announced the news himself on his Twitter feed, noting "My fmly adopted rescue dog-Elle-in '09."
Last month, the Humane Society named Sen. Mary Landrieu its "Humane Horsewoman of the Year":
because of her tireless efforts to introduce and gain support for the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (S. 1176/H.R. 2966) in the U.S. Senate. We also recognized her successful efforts as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee to help secure a 40 percent increase in funds for the enforcement of the Horse Protection Act to crack down on criminal soring of Tennessee walking horses in show competitions."
God's speed, Rodrigue
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