Local legislators react to Gov. Jindal's pay raise veto

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

By Fred Childers - email | bio

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - When asked if the veto of the legislative pay raise upset her, Representative, Barbara Norton responded, "No, I'm not upset."

Norton voted for the controversial legislative pay raise at the end of the year's session. On Monday, Governor Bobby Jindal vetoed it.

"I didn't go to Baton Rouge because of a raise," says Norton.

State Senator Lydia Jackson also voted for the pay raise. "I'm going to continue to work hard for my constituents as I've always done," declares Jackson.

While joining the general consensus of 'let's move past this,' Jackson offers a little more criticism of Governor Jindal. "I'm more concerned about the governor's veto for funding of the Robinson Film Center that was included. This was a regional initiative."

In a move that shook his most ardent supporters and possibly signaled the end of the honeymoon, Jindal had said a few weeks ago that he would not veto the pay raise. Some pundits even believe that was part of a deal to get his ethics reform pushed through.

"Ethics reform, as Governor Jindal calls it, came at the expense of a vote swap, just like that," says Elliot Stonecipher, a political analyst.

"I really doubt that was an issue. I don't think that had anything to do with it," says Representative Henry Burns. He voted against the pay raise, and said he's relieved that it was vetoed. But he doesn't suspect backroom politics.

Lawmakers who voted for the pay raise became the subject of much criticism throughout the state. Representative Roy Burrell said, "It's an insult, the rhetoric, and uproar."

"His staff needs to take this issue as a wake up call and to be more engaged in the legislative process," says Jackson. She and other legislators point to a future re-visiting of the pay raise issue.

But for now, the question is: Did Governor Jindal restore his image, and did he do so at the cost of his relationship with legislators?