[StBernard] Boasso makes gubernatorial pitch in Alexandria

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Fri Jul 27 21:56:14 EDT 2007

Boasso makes gubernatorial pitch in Alexandria By Warren Hayes
whayes at thetowntalk.com

(318) 487-6317

State Sen. Walter J. Boasso brought his gubernatorial campaign to Alexandria
on Thursday night, visiting with Central Louisiana residents to discuss
local and state issues.

He hosted a dinner at the Alexander Fulton Hotel and Convention Center, and
more than 300 attendees asked questions concerning health care, education
and the job market in the state of Louisiana.

The Town Talk conducted a question-and-answer interview with Boasso,

Q. Bobby Jindal has a big lead in all of the polls and a lot more money in
his campaign war chest than all of the other candidates. What makes you
believe you can pass him up?

Boasso: The reason he (Bobby Jindal) had a big lead in the polls is because
people didn't know there were other candidates in the race.

People are tired of hearing political rhetoric and want solutions. I'm in
the solution business, and that's what we have to do to fix this state.

Q. You've already spent $1.4 million of your own money. How much of your own
money are you willing to spend on the campaign?

A. God has blessed me. I grew up with nothing. I'm where I am today because
I work hard and have great parents, and I got to live the American dream.
Most people who achieve the success I did go and leave on vacation and go on
some island somewhere. I love my state, and I got into politics four years
ago. The only way I could fix this is to be a leader strong enough to have
the courage to make the hard decisions and not worry about the consequences.
We will spend what we need to spend to get our message to the people
themselves. We will win this thing this fall.

Q. What is the one key burning issue that is at the heart of your campaign?

A. The one thing is honesty. You learn politics and tell people what they
want to hear to get elected. I'm the kind of person that all I know is the
truth, and I'm going to be honest and give them the truth. My dad always
told me: "Son, all you have is your word," and all I have is my word.

Q. Would you sign a compact with the Jena Choctaw Tribe for a casino in
Grant Parish? If your answer is no, would you reconsider if it looked like
the tribe would get permission from the federal government, so that the
state could get some economic benefit from the casino?

A. I don't care what the federal government has to say about it. I'm
interested in what the people of Grant Parish have to say about it. That
leads me to whatever decision I have to make.

Q. Your home was flooded by Katrina and Rita. Did your dealings with the
system in the wake of those disasters influence you in wanting to become
governor so you could make changes?

A. What I got a chance to see -- I was one of the first people back in the
city of New Orleans. Until you see dead bodies floating in the street and
people hanging on for their life with nothing to eat and no medication and
no help -- it changed me for the rest of my life. I realized not to forget
where I came from, and that's why my passion is so great in becoming a
leader of this state.

I'm not worried about the consequences. I just want to solve the problems
and give the little guy a chance.

Q. Has your switch to the Democratic Party in April helped you broaden your
political base and helped your fundraising?

A. There's three things you do in campaigns: One, you reach out and meet
people; two, you have to raise money; and the third thing is you have to get
your name out through the whole state. When I changed to the Democratic
Party, I had 122,000 reasons why I changed -- it was all the people that
lost everything in their whole life in my district.

The Republican leadership in Congress has failed us dramatically. If you
compare what Mississippi has got compared to Louisiana, all that had to do
with partisan politics. The only way to bring Louisiana where it has to go
is we don't need partisan politics. I've been very-well embraced by the
Democratic Party.

Q. What are the significant differences between you and Bobby Jindal?

Why would you make a better governor than Jindal?

A. My family has been in Louisiana over 200 years. I have a passion to make
my state what I know it can be. I here to fix the problems. I have real life
experiences and know what it is to be creative and have an imagination.
Coming up on food stamps and starting a company when I was

19 years old -- I have a 28-year-old resume in the community and business
world, and therefore people see I have real-life experience they want to see
as a leader in this state.

Vision -- I've been there, and I know what it is to be on both ends of the
spectrum, and I can have a great vision and see that vision completed,
because I physically did it in my own life, and that's the transformation
I'm going to make into the state itself.

Q. What do you think about Foster Campbell's call for a series of five
debates among the gubernatorial candidates? Do you think Jindal is avoiding

A. Several months ago, I requested that we started having debates. I wrote a
letter to the Louisiana Public Broadcasting system to start having debates,
because it's a historical time in Louisiana's history because of false
economy, huge turnover in Legislature and whether or not we can recover from
the recovery. I'm in total agreement we should be doing one issue a month
and we should've started months ago. Is Bobby Jindal afraid to debate? Yes
he is afraid to debate. We show up at forums all over the state and he
doesn't show up. He doesn't want to tell people where he stands and what the
issues are, because of lack of his real-life experiences.


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