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State Dems Bump Buddy for Karen Carter-Peterson
After the Louisiana Democratic Party left last fall's statewide elections for the Republicans to fight amongst themselves, there was a feeling that a change was gonna come. Today, the Democrats' governing committee made the most visible of those changes so far, ousting Chairman Claude "Buddy" Leach in favor of New Orleans state Senator Karen Carter-Peterson.
Carter-Peterson's election ends the brief term of Leach, a former state lawmaker and Congressman from Leesville. He served since a special election in 2010. If the nickname wasn't a giveaway, Leach showed which wing of the Party he is from when he infamously gave former Gov. Edwin Edwards a job at one of his companies when the former governor got out of house arrest. Under his tenure, the party watched members defect to the Republican side of the aisle to save their conservative credentials with voters.
Carter-Peterson's election brings the party's center back to New Orleans, where the only Democratic Congressman (Cedric Richmond) and U.S. Senator (Mary Landrieu) are from. During this legislative session, Carter Peterson is behind measures to create the Equal Pay for Women Act and repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act. She voted against Bobby Jindal's main charter schools legislation, and offered bills that would make it illegal to operate a charter school in a portion of existing schools, and offered a bill that would allow public schools to create indepdenent public benefit corporations for funding.
When becoming Party Chair, however, viewpoints and legislative offerings typically take a backseat to organizing and winning elections. Ultimately, those two areas are likely to be the criteria on which she is judged in taking over a party that needs a fire lit underneath it.
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B. E. Mintz
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