M.V. "Vinny" Mendoza

1. What plans do you have to keep our high school students from becoming drop outs and staying in school?

First of all, I will pass legislation that gives 20 years to life to anyone that buys and/or sells drugs in school property (public and private schools).

Second, I will extend school hours from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and half day Saturday. The new schedule would be for Pre-K to the 12th grade in High School. The problem with high school drop outs starts an early age, and we must tackle the root of the problem to prevent it from happening later on. These students will receive ½ day of academic curriculum and ½ of vocational and technical training from Pre-K to the 12th grade. On Saturdays, the students go to field trips, practice sports or the arts or remedial tutoring for those that are falling behind. From Pre-K all students would receive total quality management training as it was developed by Dr. Richard Deming and as it was adopted by the Japanese educational system. All children learn team work and quality circles at an early age and by the time they graduate from High School they know team work by heart and become successful at whatever they do in life.

Third, those that do drop out are sent to the Louisiana National Guard Youth Challenge program at Camp Beauregard in Alexandria or to the one in Gonzales. This is a six month military training that teaches discipline, team work and one of the best academic environments in the nation. The cadets attending this training receive the necessary preparation to pass their GED exam. Upon graduation some of the cadets choose to join the military and others receive scholarships to some colleges or are sent to the Louisiana Job Challenge program where they learn a trade. Two of my children have gone to this training and it turned their lives around-I recommend it to every parent.

2. What are your views on hunter's rights and do you feel any changes need to be made to the state's current hunting laws?

I don't think that any changes are need at this time.

3. One state employee says this the first time in 16 years that Classified State Employees got a raise. She wants to know that since it is the norm for raises to go to faculty or higher education, what is the plan for raise incentives for Classified State Employees?

I believe that faculty or higher education and Classified State Employees should receive an annual performance report from at least two but preferably three levels of supervisors above them. I believe that top performers deserve pay raises at least every other year and outstanding performers deserve promotions. However, lethargic employees that normally earn their wages without production then they do not deserve to be part of a norm. There are some employees that ignore you when you come to them for customer service, there are others that sit around and do not produce any work at all and they are more concerned about answering their cell phone or about going out for their smoke or coffee break. Louisiana is in a desperate need to trim our work force, we need to get rid of the dead bits and give incentives to those that are go getters and produce more than what it is expected of them.

4. People and businesses across northwest Louisiana want to see interstate 49 finished, yet only bits and pieces of it are being worked on. What are your plans for getting I-49 finished in northwest Louisiana and what is your timetable to get it done?

With or without federal funding, I plan to order five (5) Louisiana Army National Guard Engineering Battalions to complete the I-49 corridor, rebuild the levees in south Louisiana to a 1,000-year protection and to restore our coast. In addition to the military engineers, I plan to put to work all the inmates that are incarcerated in Louisiana. We are wasting millions of dollars in manpower that sits around doing nothing. With two battalions, one working South to North and the other north to South, 12 hours a day, I believe that we can complete the job within 24 months.

This decision may create some dissatisfaction at the White House because I plan to re-deploy all the members of the 739th Engineer Battalion with the Louisiana Army National Guard that left for Iraq on 23 July 07, as well as any other military members from Louisiana. We are going to rebuild Louisiana first whether others like or not.

5. State economists said this week the next governor could possibly see an extra one-billion dollars in revenue for the next year. What would be your plans for the extra funding?

The most important investment that we can ever make is in providing the highest quality education to our children if not think about them being ignorant all their lives. For this reason, I would provide training to all teachers in the school system the same way that Japanese teachers receive training. I am prepared to speak to the Japanese Congress and to the Imperial Family and seek their assistance in Japanese for I learned to speak enough Japanese during my 9-year tenure in Japan-I know their customs and courtesies and I believe that I can receive more help from Japan than from our own federal government.

6. In the last session the legislature made long-term commitments on short-term "one time" money. If it becomes necessary, to either cut government spending or increasing taxes....which would you do and why?

Cutting government spending will be my first step-there is a lot fraud, waste and abuse. I will order a mandatory review of all state and local government contracts of more than $200,000. Any contracts with out of state companies will be withdrawn and given to local businesses through an online bidding process. Even if the contracts have been made through FEMA and for which the state of Louisiana has some kind of liability, we are going to cancel those contracts, particularly if they deal with shady out of state companies. We are not going to give any major contracts to companies that do not have headquarters here in Louisiana I will evaluate all programs. We will use all our resources for: Education, infrastructure and healthcare of all of our citizens.
My second step will be to abolish individual income taxes for all Louisianans. I will generate enough revenue from making all ships that use the Mississippi river to pay a 3% toll for the merchandise or oil that they carry through Louisiana. We are going to search each and every vessel that comes into Louisiana from the Gulf or from the North. No more free rides.

The only area that I would consider raising taxes will be for Sales taxes of luxury electronics, luxury vehicles, alcohol and tobacco products.

I will repeal any tax increases for more than 10% of taxes assessed before Katrina and Rita.

I would consider cutting all corporate income taxes and other corporate taxes and have them pay a 5% flat tax of everything that they made to be payable monthly. This will pay for free healthcare for all Louisianans.

7. What about the Stelly tax?

Eliminate it.

8. Do you support the continued use of tax credits like the movie production credit? Are there any you would discontinue?

I will balance out the temporary jobs that they provide for our people versus the advantages that we are giving them.

9. Do you believe that the teacher pay strategy should place more emphasis on teacher performance and student achievement, or on teacher seniority and degree level?

My goal is to provide the highest pay in the nation to our teachers. At the same token, we are going to demand that highest results in the nation from our teachers through student achievement. This can only occur when teachers receive advanced training even when they are senior teachers with the proper credentials. We are going to train all of our teachers to mirror and instruct the Japanese educational system.

10. Do you think the state should continue to operate 10 charity hospitals? If so, should LSU maintain authority over them?

My goal is to provide for the state of Louisiana to operate 20 charity hospitals and to give free healthcare to all our children (up to 21 years old), senior citizens (over 55), veterans and disabled persons within 24 months and for all Louisianans within 48 months. Since LSU is producing the doctors, why not give them control over their facilities.