Norris "Spanky" Gros, Jr.

Tourism has always been a big part of New Orleans. What ideas do you have for helping the city rebuild its tourism industry?
Tourism is a major industry for our state and New Orleans has always drawn crowds from other states. Our history, our culture, and even our color politics attract and lure tourist here. The first step in rebuilding the city is to clean up the crime using the most drastic means necessary. Tourist will not come to an unsafe place and now New Orleans is not safe for tourist, families and the general public. Once we have gained control of New Orleans back, the cities natural attractions should be "cleaned up" and "polished" and advertised like a rebirth, a rebirth of a historical city with a colorful past and an exciting future. The Audubon Zoo, the river boats, the Aquarium, the Superdome and the Saints are all part of the New Orleans that attract and capture the attention of the United States.

Answer this question as if it were asked by someone outside the state: Why should I spend my tourism dollars in Louisiana?
My answer would be this: What other state can you see such a thriving culture from the past. Our French heritage is still being taught in our schools in south Louisiana, our children are in French immersion and learning our history and our future every day along with the education that they deserve. Our state offers a variety of tourist attractions and we still have some "hidden" agendas that we plan to uncover in the near future. The Audubon Zoo is a masterpiece created by an artist with a vision. Our state parks offer an insight to the natural resources of Louisiana. South Toledo Bend state park is a beautiful place to vacation, to fish, to have family reunions as we do each year. What other state can you see Cotton fields, Sugarcane fields, rice fields and old fashioned "red clay"? Louisiana offers crabbing, craw fishing, alligator hunting as well as the traditional hunting of deer, squirrel, rabbit, etc.

What tourism initiatives do you have planned to increase tourism in North Louisiana beyond people coming here to gamble at the casinos?
North Louisiana's natural resources are its greatest tourist attractions. Professional Bass fishing tournaments would be an ideal start for Lake Bisteneau, Lake Darbonne, Lake Claiborne, and Caney Lake. Although some tournaments are currently touring on these lakes, additional ones can be persuaded to "come see" what we have to offer. Shreveport has a large Bass Pro Shop, so this is a great start. Luring Cabellas and others to the area where hunting and fishing abound, will attract all sportsman alike. My personal favorite is the Motocross tracks, opening tracks like these and holding races for qualifying nationals and sectionals would introduce an entire new industry to north Louisiana.

The current office holder has used his office as a strong proponent of Social Entrepreneurism. Will the effort continue with you as Lt. Governor, will it increase or will it decline?
The current office holder has misused this office for too long. This office will not be used for social entrepreneurism any longer. This office should be used to represent Louisiana's Tourist attractions to all surrounding states as well as those afar. This will decline and we will focus on Louisiana, on promoting our great state and all of its valuable assets. Louisiana's assets, it people, are the greatest promotion factor of all. The pride each Louisianan has should be brought out. Make our citizens proud to be a part of this state, a part of its history, and most important, and a part of its future.

Because you will be one heart-beat away from the Governor's Mansion, it would be nice to know your answers to some of the questions we posed to the candidates for Governor.

• 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?
I-49 not only needs to be completed in north Louisiana, but in south Louisiana as well. This should be done together, complete the northern section as well as the section below I-10 in south Louisiana. Based on the remaining miles to complete and the timeframe it took to complete the current I-49 section that is open, a very optimistic schedule needs to prepared and adhered to strictly! If allowed to propose an aggressive schedule and all contracts are assigned without "under the table issues" I can see this being complete within 18 months. Yes, 18 months, for both the northern remainder and the south remainder of unfinished portion.

• State economists said this week the next governor could possibly see an extra one-billion dollars in revenue for next year. What would be your plans for the extra funding?
How about tax breaks for Big business donations to the state of Louisiana? Big Business, Corporations, and others are always requesting breaks for this or how about us ask them for some state donations - not personal donations, but something for our state and our future.

• 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 increase taxes....which would you do and why?
I think both should be done, but only on certain parts of each.

• If the answer to the above is "cut spending"-in which departments and programs?
How about our government representatives and senators take a slight pay cut and give it to help the state. After all, each one campaigns that they are doing certain things and promoting ideas for the "best" of the pay higher taxes if you are employed by these. In short, give some back, like your campaigns suggest. Another saving measure could be to limit our elected official's travel. Our Governor and Lieutenant Governor seam to travel regularly around the world and the US. This travel seems to never bring any income for the state. Only promises and bills. Another way would be to eliminate all of the different high paying positions on the board of director for state hospitals and other state agencies. Do we really need these high dollar board of directors?

• If the answer to the above is "increase taxes" which one?
o Property taxes
- A slight increase
o Sales taxes - A slight increase, such as on cigarettes & liquor.
o Individual income taxes - Lower the income tax rate or completely do away with. This will instill loyalty among our citizens and in turn the other tax increases will pass easily.
o Corporate income taxes - Increase
o Other corporate taxes - Depending on the issue these will be identified separately.

• What about the Stelly tax....eliminate it, further modify it, or leave it as it is?
Eliminate IT! Vic Stelly is an elite statesman.

• Do you support the continued use of tax credits like the movie production credit? Are there any you would discontinue?
I fell that that these credits should have "restrictions" placed on them, such as they will receive these credits and in turn the state of Louisiana is guaranteed so many movies to be filmed here or throughout the state. Give them, yet get something for our state in return.

• 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?
Teachers pay strategy should be based on their performance with their seniority and degree level being the main emphasis. If you base it on their seniority and degree level, you teachers will be loyal to their parish, their schools and their students. You will persuade them to continue their education and in turn pass this on to our children. Teachers are our greatest asset in this state, yet they are the lowest paid! Teachers are in short supply and our demand of them is often unreasonable, we need to give them incentives to further their educations and to remain loyal to the Great state of Louisiana.

• Do you think the state should continue to operate 10 charity hospitals? If so, should LSU maintain authority over them?
I think the number of charity hospitals should be reduced to at least 50% of the current number. We have to give incentives to the citizens of our state to work, to earn their way, to receive insurance just as the majority of the state does. I do think that LSU should maintain authority over them, with the help of the medical society of Louisiana. It should be a joint effort with at least two parties to monitor and maintain them.