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Inside Jeff Parish 

Hot Talk With Treen
Former Louisiana Gov. and Congressman Dave Treen is taking a page from the Mike Foster script and has begun his own weekly radio program on the Louisiana Radio Network.

According to a Treen aide, this program will allow the former governor to present his views to the public and outline some specific ideas on how to solve the state's many problems. In addition, the Treen associate says that the former governor will spend the next year traveling the state, talking to the voters and clearing his desk of remaining legal work.

All of this is in preparation for another political campaign, but what race? Although Foster is reportedly trying to find a candidate to run against Congressman David Vitter this fall, an aide states that Treen has no interest in challenging Vitter for Congress again, reprising the 1999 match that saw Vitter narrowly defeat Treen.

He might, however, challenge Vitter in a race for his old job, governor of Louisiana. Vitter is very publicly considering running for governor and so is Treen, according to his associate, who believes the state desperately needs his leadership: "Louisiana is broke, and we need an experienced man to fix it. We don't have time for on-the-job training. We have a real need for maturity and judgment."

Although Treen is 73 years old, the Treen aide dismisses the age factor, citing Ronald Reagan's election as president at 73. "Reagan was elected for a much bigger job than governor of Louisiana," he says.

New Republican Leadership for Jefferson Parish
In a hotly contested vote among Republican Party State Central Committee members, John Treen, the brother of former Gov. Dave Treen, was elected the new regional chairman for the Republican Party of Louisiana in Jefferson Parish.

With a margin of just one vote, Treen defeated party activist Tony Ligi, who previously served as the party chairman for the East Bank of Jefferson Parish. Highly critical of the former Jefferson Parish Republican Party leadership, Treen says his focus will be on creating new Republican clubs and organizations and bringing young activists to the party. "There has been no precinct organization and no effort to organize service clubs," he says. "This has starved us of future leadership." Treen will also be negotiating for a new and bigger Republican headquarters in Jefferson Parish.

While Treen takes over the official Republican party leadership in Jefferson Parish, other activists are planning to organize a new club, independent of the state or parish Republican party. "This action has not been caused by the election of John Treen, but it certainly has been expedited by his election," says one party activist.

The new group will most probably be affiliated with a network of Republican Pachyderm clubs that is recognized by the Republican National Committee. One major difference with other Republican clubs, however, is that this organization will not endorse candidates for office. "One of the problems of our party has been the official endorsements that are made," says one activist. "There are a lot of opinions in our party and no endorsements will foster party growth."

One More Time
A friend of Gov. Mike Foster reports that the nomination of Fred Heebe for the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana will go forward after all. Several weeks ago, Heebe officially withdrew his name for consideration for the position; his appointment had been delayed by allegations of physical abuse and alcohol abuse presented by his former wife and a former girlfriend.

In spite of this controversy, Foster and key Republican leaders in the state are still committed to Heebe, and a Foster aide predicts that Heebe's name will be resubmitted to the U.S. Senate for approval sometime this summer.

One Heebe critic is amazed: "This plan is asinine. Do they think that the National Organization for Women will just go away?"

Broussard Looking Strong
With term limits kicking in at the end of this term, Parish President Tim Coulon will be vacating his office. Coulon's departure could have created a stampede of candidates for the most important administrative position in the parish. Yet the only person consistently mentioned as a candidate to be Coulon's successor is current Council Chairman Aaron Broussard.

Broussard will be a formidable candidate, as he is given universally high marks for his tenure as Council chairman and, previously, as mayor of Kenner. Broussard has also built up a strong political base from his years in political office.

One Jefferson Parish political insider, however, reports that a challenge could come from the camp of Jefferson Parish Councilmember Butch Ward. In the past, Ward has tangled with Broussard, and he may try to field a candidate against him. According to this political insider, one Ward ally who could be enticed into the race is Fred Heebe, but only if he is ultimately rejected as U.S. Attorney. Whether Heebe will be a formidable candidate after receiving such controversial exposure during the entire U.S. Attorney saga remains to be seen.


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