By Dayne Sherman
Speech at the Enough is Enough! Rally
Steps of the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge
See video here and clips at WAFB. Media coverage here, here, and here.
I was born in the great state of Louisiana. I dropped out of high school and took my GED, and I enrolled in one of Louisiana’s fine universities, Southeastern in Hammond. They gave me an emergency loan and then a Pell grant and I was on my way. That was almost 25 years ago.
Today, I stand before you with three college degrees all earned at Louisiana universities. I stand before you today as a writer and a professor and a librarian at one of our great Louisiana universities. I stand before you today as a family man and a productive member of society, and I thank Louisiana higher education for it.
But I am fearful today. I am fearful that our governor does not believe in educational opportunity for Louisiana citizens like me and like you. I am fearful today that he would have us turn back the clock to a time when only the elite could attend a university in Louisiana.
Today is a day when we must double down on Louisiana higher education. Today is a day when we must fully fund higher education, which has been cut $650 million under Governor Jindal. Though I am here to represent higher education, we are not alone. Colleges are not alone. We are a part of the great tapestry that makes Louisiana a great state.
But our governor has his eyes on the White House and not on the state house. He cares about Washington, DC, and not about the Bayou State.
By his actions we know it’s all about “Bobby” and not about Louisiana. But I have good news today. The chickens are coming home to roost, and Governor Jindal is about as popular as a pulled pork sandwich at a vegetarian picnic.
Many wonder how long it will be until federal indictments come down over the Medicaid contract fraud case, and how close the probe will get to the governor’s office on the fourth floor of this building.
Many wonder about BESE, that foul group that runs Louisiana education policy. Have you heard that one of its long-time members is under investigation by the FBI?
Oh, how the chickens are coming home to roost.
We’re seeing a legislative session this spring nothing like the one last spring. Legislators are starting to listen to their constituents, and old Bobby Jindal hardly has a friend anywhere in Baton Rouge.
But listen closely, we’re not out of the woods yet. I believe there are five serious issues that the legislators have to deal with during this session in order for us to survive Jindal’s assault on Louisiana.
First, we have to repeal the tax giveaways passed under Jindal. We now give away an extra $2 billion a year since Jindal took office. This is unsustainable, it’s immoral, and just plain crazy. Make no mistake, if we don’t address the corporate welfare in this state, we are toast.
Second, the federal Medicaid expansion has to begin sooner rather than later. If we don’t accept the Medicaid expansion, your local hospital will struggle or fail, and the state will be in the red for decades to come.
And shame on us if we let Jindal and Greenstein close the Charity Hospitals. Wait, Greenstein or Greenbeans, whatever his name is, the man is on a permanent vacation.
Third, we have to stop selling the state piece by piece. We have to stop giving away state assets at fire sale prices, and it needs to stop now.
Fourth, if we don’t fully fund higher education we will hamstring the Louisiana economy and harm our children and our children’s children.
My last point is this: Governor Jindal, stop waging an attack on public school teachers and college professors. We’re not the enemy of Louisiana, you are.
Please listen everyone. It’s important. We can create the change we need. The chickens are coming home to roost for this governor. It’s time to be bold and it’s time to be courageous, my friends.
Let’s take back this great state for the people of Louisiana once and for all.
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***This message speaks only for the writer, a citizen, not for any present or past employer.***