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Calling All Pro-Reform Louisiana Democrats Consider Running for the Democratic State Central Committee

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If you follow this blog, you know I’ve repeatedly called for the Louisiana Democratic Party to once again wholeheartedly embrace common sense education reform policies.

Instead, over the past four years, LaDemos have said things like this:

As well as this:

And, unfortunately even this:

While we have plenty of pro-reform Democrats in elected office, we still need to change the conversation within the party itself. If Democrats want to build upon Governor-elect John Bel Edwards’ victory going forward, the Louisiana Democratic Party needs to drop its ambivalence about school reform and stand behind education policies that put the needs of children and families first.

That’s why we need pro-reform Democrats to stand as candidates for the Democratic State Central Committee (DSCC) on March 5, 2016.

The DSCC is the governing body of the Louisiana Democratic Party. It establishes LaDemos’ official positions on various issues, decides how those positions are messaged to the public, and endorses party candidates running for public office. Two DSCC members – one male and one female – are elected from each of the 105 state legislative districts for a four-year term.

The qualifying period for DSCC elections begins today, Wednesday, Dec. 2nd, and ends this Friday, Dec. 4 at 4:30 p.m.

In order to qualify, you must be:

  • At least 18 years of age as of March 5, 2016
  • A registered Democrat
  • Live in the district you wish to represent

You can qualify at your local Clerk of Court office. You will need to bring a valid I.D. and $112.50 for the qualifying fee.

If you’re interested in getting involved in politics, serving on the DSCC is a great way to get your feet wet. You can determine which legislative district you live in by checking the map below. You can also see who currently represents your district on the DSCC on the list at the bottom of the page.

If you’re considering running for DSCC or decide to qualify, please let me know.

Find Your State Legislative District

Find Your Current DSCC Representative

TITLE FIRST LAST DISTRICT CITYZIP
Ms. Helen Godfrey-Smith 001A Gilliam 71029
VACANT VACANT VACANT 001BVACANT VACANT
Ms. Frances Kelley 002A Shreveport 71104
Mr. Frederic Washington 002B Shreveport 71135
Hon. Barbara Norton 003A Shreveport 71109
Mr. Steve Jackson 003B Shreveport 71106
Ms. June Phillips 004A Shreveport 71107
Mr. Larry Ferdinand 004B Shreveport 71119
Ms. Nita Steele 005A Shreveport 71135
Mr. Artis Cash 005B Shreveport 71106
Ms. Allison McClung 006A Shreveport 71104
Mr. Lee Jeter, Sr. 006B Bossier City 71112
Ms. Cynthia Williams 007A Mansfield 71052
Mr. Johnny McFerren 007B Shreveport 71129
Ms. Linda Pitchford 008A Bossier City 71111
Mr. Ronald Griffing 008B Benton 71006
Ms. Deborah Knapp 009A Bossier City 71112
VACANT VACANT VACANT 009BVACANT VACANT
Ms. Pattie Odom 010A Minden 71055
Mr. John Agan 010B Minden 71055
Mrs. Tara Hollis 011A Haynesville 71038
Mr. Glenn Hollis 011B Haynesville 71038
VACANT VACANT VACANT 012AVACANT VACANT
VACANT VACANT VACANT 012BVACANT VACANT
Ms. Janice Simmons 013A Jonnesboro 71251
VACANT VACANT VACANT 013BVACANT VACANT
Ms. Brenda Smith 014A Monroe 71201
Mr. Fred Huenefeld 014B Monroe 71201
Mrs. Mary Kincade 015A West Monroe 71291
VACANT VACANT VACANT 015BVACANT VACANT
Hon. Katrina Jackson 016A Monroe 71203
Mr. Ronnie Traylor 016B Monroe 71201
Dr. Billye Burns 017A West Monroe 71291
Hon. Marcus Hunter 017B Monroe 71202
Ms. Dollie Wright 018A New Roads 70760
Mr. Stephen Juge 018B Erwinville 70729
Ms. Linda Turner 019A Monroe 71202
Mr. Charles Cochran 019B Rayville 71269
Ms. Mary Cooper 020A Columbia 71418
Mr. Gregory Richardson 020B Columbia 71418
Mrs. Leslie Durham 021A St. Joseph 71366
VACANT VACANT VACANT 021BVACANT VACANT
Ms. Mary Bonier 022A Chestnut 71070
Mr. Johnny Cox 022B Coushatta 71019
Ms. Mozella Bell 023A Campti 71411
Mr. Larry Paige 023B Natchez 71456
Ms. Gloria Ruffin 024A Many 71449
VACANT VACANT VACANT 024BVACANT VACANT
Mrs. Nancy Fields 025A Alexandria 71303
Mr. Chris Roy, Sr. 025B Alexandria 71301
Ms. Mary Wardsworth 026A Alexandria 71301
Hon. Herbert Dixon 026B Alexandria 71302
Ms. Gloria Hearn 027A Pineville 71360
VACANT VACANT VACANT 027B VACANT VACANT
Ms. Caina Green 028A Baton Rouge 70802
Mr. Dan McKay 028B Bunkie 71322
Hon. Regina Barrow 029A Baton Rouge 70812
Mr. Rawlston Phillips, Jr. 029B Port Allen 70767
Ms. Frankie Williams 030A DeRidder 70634
Mr. Reginald Seastrunk 030B Leesville 71446
Ms. Denise D'Amato 031A Lafayette 70508
Mr. Anthony Fazzio 031B Lafayette 70508
Ms. Patricia Jones 032A Oakdale 71463
Mr. J. Jones 032B Oakdale 71463
Mrs. Myra Bennett 033A Sulphur 70663
Mr. Charles Bennett 033B Sulphur 70663
Ms. Edwina Medearis 034A Lake Charles 70602
Mr. Davante Lewis 034B Lake Charles 70601
Ms. Evia Hodge 035A Lake Charles 70611
VACANT VACANT VACANT 035BVACANT VACANT
VACANT VACANT VACANT 036AVACANT VACANT
Mr. David Darbone 036B Lake Charles 70605
Ms. Torrie Thibodeaux 037A Jennings 70546
Dr. Kieran Coleman 037B Jennings 70546
Hon. Jennifer Vidrine 038A Ville Platte 70586
Hon. Dirk Deville 038B Ville Platte 70586
Ms. Valerie Boston 039A Lafayette 70501
Mr. Danny Uriegas 039B Cankton 70584
Ms. Leona Boxie 040A Sunset 70584
VACANT VACANT VACANT 040BVACANT VACANT
Ms. E. Lynn Lejeune 041A Eunice 70535
Mr. Marshall Thibodeaux 041B Eunice 70535
Ms. Dianne Granger 042A Rayne 70578
Mr. James Proctor 042B Crowley 70526
Ms. Evanette Richards 043A Lafayette 70508
Mr. Frank Flynn 043B Lafayette 70508
Ms. Tonya Bolden-Ball 044A Lafayette 70501
Mr. JosephCormier 044B Lafayette 70501
Ms. Sally Donlon 045A Lafayette 70506
Mr. Haywood Martin 045B Lafayette 70506
Ms. Lynda Guidry 046A Cecilia 70521
Mr. Shane Riddle 046B Abbeville 70510
Ms. Cynthia Campisi 047A Abbeville 70510
Mr. Ronald Darby 047B Abbeville 70510
Ms. Melba Braud 048A St. Martinville 70582
Mr. Perry Segura 048B New Iberia 70562
Ms. Aquicline Arnold 049A Jeanerette 70544
Mr. Elbert Dawson 049B Abbeville 70510
Ms. Thai Browder 050A Franklin 70538
Mr. Anthony Dennis, Jr. 050B Franklin 70538
Mrs. Anna Cunningham 051A Morgan City 70380
Mr. Wayne Thibodeaux 051B Gray 70359
Ms. Karen Dillard 052A Houma 70363
Mr. Clarence Williams 052B Houma 70361
Ms. Arlanda Williams 053A Houma 70360
Mr. S.P. LaRussa 053B Houma 70363
Mrs. Nell Guidry 054A LaRose 70373
Mr. Albert Guidry 054B LaRose 70373
Mrs. Carol Leblanc 055A Raceland 70394
Mr. Romal Garrison 055B Thibodaux 70301
Ms. Judy Songy 056A Laplace 70068
Mr. Joey Murray 056B Destrehan 70047
Ms. Lynncal Bering 057A LaPlace 70068
Hon. Randal Gaines 057B Laplace 70068
Hon. Barbara O'Bear 058A White Castle 70788
Mr. Oliver Joseph 058B Donaldsonville 70346
Ms. Felicia Hawkins 059A Prairieville 70769
Mr. Armand Link 059B Baton Rouge 70820
Hon. Karen St. Germain 060A Pierre Part 70339
Mr. Edward Songy, Jr. 060B Plaquemine 70765
Hon. C. Marcelle 061A Baton Rouge 70802
VACANT VACANT VACANT 061BVACANT VACANT
Ms. Ardith Sanders 062A Ethel 70730
Mr. Jim Parker 062B Jackson 70748
Mrs. Elaine Davis 063A Baker 70714
Mr. Ronald Rodgers 063B Baton Rouge 70714
Ms. Juanita Sanford 064A Zachary 70791
Mr. Roger Sanford 064B Zachary 70791
Ms. Maura Lewis 065A Greenwell Springs 70739
Hon. Dalton Honore 065B Central 70739
Mrs. Jane Scheuermann 066A Baton Rouge 70817
Mr. Brett Jackson 066B Baton Rouge 70810
Hon. Patricia Smith 067A Baton Rouge 70820
Mr. Ben Jeffers 067B Baton Rouge 70821
Ms. Robin Shelbia 068A Baton Rouge 70809
Mr. James Bullman 068B Baton Rouge 70809
Ms. Elizabeth Powers 069A Baton Rouge 70806
Mr. Kirk Green 069B Baton Rouge 70815
VACANT VACANT VACANT 070AVACANT VACANT
Mr. Brandon DeCuir 070B Baton Rouge 70802
Ms. Paeton Burkett 071A Denham Springs 70726
Mr. Ronnie Wilson 071B Denham Springs 70726
Ms. Linda Phillips 072A Greensburg 70441
Mr. Nathaniel Adams 072B Independence 70443
VACANT VACANT VACANT 073AVACANT VACANT
Mr. Robert Hammond 073B Ponchatoula 70454
Ms. Alicia Breaux 074A Covington 70435
Mr. Alan Tusa 074B Abita Springs 70420
Mrs. Patsy Ritchie 075A Franklinton 70438
Mr. Brad Orman 075B Franklinton 70438
Ms. Elsie Burkhalter 076A Slidell 70459
Mr. Lionel Hicks 076B Slidell 70459
Ms. Della Perkins 077A Covington 70433
Mr. James Harlan 077B Covington 70433
Mrs. Gilda Reed 078A Metairie 70003
Mr. Anthony Behan 078B Harahan 70123
VACANT VACANT VACANT 079AVACANT VACANT
Mr. Reuben Detiege 079B Kenner 70065
Ms. Dwan Hilferty 080A Metairie 70005
Mr. David Gereighty 080B Metairie 70002
Ms. Debbie Craighead 081A Reserve 70084
Mr. Tomy Acosta 081B LaPlace 70069
VACANT VACANT VACANT 082AVACANT VACANT
Mr. DonaldBlum 082B Metairie 70003
Ms. Sharlayne Prevost 083A Marrero 70072
Mr. Kyle Green, Jr. 083B Marrero 70072
Ms. Nora Romano 084A Marrero 70072
Mr. Patrick DeJean 084B Marrero 70072
VACANT VACANT VACANT 085AVACANT VACANT
Mr. Rudy Smith 085B Gretna 70053
Mrs. Carolyn Brown-Spiller 086A Hammond 70403
Mr. Kelly Wells 086B Hammond 70401
Ms. Danielle Duffourc 087A Marrero 70072
Mr. Paul Johnson 087B Harvey 70058
Ms. Leslie Jackson 088A Gonzales 70737
Mr. Kyle Gautreau 088B Gonzales 70707
Ms. Erin Powell 089A Mandeville 70448
Mr. Dana Colombo 089B Covington 70433
Ms. d'Andrea Chatman 090A Slidell 70460
Mr. T.J. Smith, Jr. 090B Pearl River 70452
Ms. Diana Bajoie 091A New Orleans70175
Mr. JayBanks 091B New Orleans70113
Ms. Malinda Hills-Holmes 092A Kenner 70064
Mr. Keith Hutchinson 092B Metairie 70003
Hon. Karen Peterson 093A New Orleans70112
Mr. James Perry 093B Winston Salem27127
Mrs. Deborah Langhoff 094A New Orleans70119
Mr. Nolan Marshall 094B New Orleans 70122
Ms. Cassandra Butler 095A Independence 70443
Mr. Randall Albin 095B Walker 70785
Ms. Maggie Daniels 096A New Iberia 70560
Mr. Marlon Lewis 096B New Iberia 70563
Hon. Cynthia Hedge-Morrell 097A New Orleans 70122
Hon. Arthur Morrell 097B New Orleans 70122
Ms. Irma Dixon 098A New Orleans 70118
Mr. Marshall Hevron 098B New Orleans 70118
Ms. Elaine Boutte-Yost 099A New Orleans70177
Hon. Wesley Bishop 099B New Orleans70126
Ms. Jerrelda Sanders 100A New Orleans70128
Mr. Willie Jones 100B New Orleans 70187
Ms. Dawn Collins 101A Baton Rouge 70814
Hon. Edward James 101B Baton Rouge 70814
Ms. Ericka Edwards-Jones 102A New Orleans 70131
Mr. JosephBroussard 102B New Orleans70131
Ms. Barbara Keller 103A New Orleans 70129
Mr. Reed Henderson 103B St. Bernard 70085
Ms. Brenda Palmer 104A Lacombe 70445
Mr. Carlo Hernandez 104B Mandeville 70448
Ms. Lisa Diggs 105A New Orleans 70131
Mr. Morris Reed, Jr. 105B New Orleans70131

Pete became involved in education reform as a 2002 Teach For America corps member in New Orleans Public Schools and has worked in various capacities at Teach For America, KIPP, TNTP, and the Recovery School District. As a consultant, he developed teacher evaluation systems and served as a strategic advisor to school district leaders in Cleveland, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. He now writes about education policy and politics and lives in New Orleans.

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Louisiana

After Janus, The Drought? LAE & LFT are downplaying the impact of the Janus v. AFSCME decision, but both are subsidized by their national unions

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The United States Supreme Court handed public sector unions – including the teachers unions – a major defeat on Wednesday with their decision in Janus v. AFSCME, in which a majority of justices agreed that mandatory agency fee laws violate the First Amendment rights of non-union public employees.

In the 21 states with agency fee laws, public employees covered by collective bargaining agreements were required to pay fees to the union to cover bargaining costs, even if they refused to join. Because agency fees only offered a small discount when compared to union dues, many individuals felt compelled to become members.

Screenshot from Education Next.

Now that the Supreme Court has struck down those laws, many observers expect that public sector unions will lose anywhere from 10-30% of their members, and by extension, a big chunk of their revenues. In a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, National Education Association (NEA) president Lily Eskelsen García admitted her union expects to lose at least 200,000 members over the next 18 months, depriving them of around $28 million in funding.

What about Louisiana?

Louisiana, of course, is a right-to-work state, meaning that public sector unions here are unlikely to see a drop in their membership, but the Janus decision could have a significant financial impact on the state’s two teachers unions, the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) and the Louisiana Federation of Teachers (LFT).

In an article in The Advocate on Wednesday, officials from LAE and LFT sought to downplay the potential fallout from the ruling, insisting that any impact on their organizations would be minimal. They also wildly exaggerated the size of their respective unions, with both LAE and LFT claiming around 20,000 members.

LAE president Debbie Meaux and LFT president Larry Carter.

Mike Antonucci, a researcher who has been writing about teachers unions for decades, released figures on Wednesday showing that LAE had 10,461 members in 2016-17, of which only 9,416 were full dues-paying members. While precise numbers are not available for LFT, data from tax filings and public records requests show that the union receives far less in dues payments than their counterparts at LAE, while charging their members more on an annual basis. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that LFT is even smaller than LAE’s 10,000 members.

Those tax filings, along with annual reports filed with the U.S. Department of Labor, also reveal that both LAE and LFT are heavily subsidized by their national unions. According to tax returns, LAE reported $3,291,199 in revenue in F.Y. 2016, although Department of Labor reports show that nearly 30% of that money came from the National Education Association.

Data from IRS 990s and U.S. Department of Labor annual reports.

Likewise, LFT reported $1,809,239 in revenue in F.Y. 2016, but nearly 27% of that total came from its parent union, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Moreover, as I’ve noted in previous posts, AFT also provides substantial funding to its local affiliates, like the United Teachers of New Orleans, Jefferson Federation of Teachers, and Red River United.

Will the money dry up?

Up to now, LAE and LFT could depend on their national unions to provide a substantial portion of their annual budgets, but the Supreme Court’s decision this week means that steady stream of funding could begin to dry up in the not-too-distant future. While It’s unlikely that AFT and NEA will completely cut-off subsidies to their affiliates in right-to-work states like Louisiana, there’s no escaping the fact that there will be less money to go around.

How that will ultimately impact the activities of Louisiana Association of Educators and Louisiana Federation of Teachers is yet to be seen.

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Louisiana

The Red River Ripoff Shreveport's AFT Affiliate Uses Bureaucratic Obstacles To Keep Dues Coming in

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Red River United (RRU), the American Federation of Teachers-affiliated union representing educators in Caddo, Bossier, and Red River Parishes, is using bureaucratic hurdles and subterfuge in an attempt to prevent members from leaving the organization.

A reader forwarded me a series of emails regarding three of the union’s current members who submitted a union drop request to Red River officials in October, indicating that they wished to end their affiliation with RRU and stop the monthly deduction of dues from their bank accounts.

The sign outside Red River United’s offices in Shreveport.

The receipt of those forms was acknowledged by the union. Nevertheless, when the three teachers checked with their banks at the end of the month, Red River United had once again deducted dues payments from their accounts. On November 1st, an email was sent to RRU officials notifying them of their mistake and requesting that the union refund those dues to the three individuals.

An emailed response from RRU’s in-house counsel, Elizabeth Gibson, flatly refused to refund those payments, explaining that the three teachers “executed a confidential agreement with Red River United (Membership Form), wherein the individuals authorized Red River United, or its designee, to draft their bank account each month for the amount indicated in the agreement for each billing period.”

She continued:

“Further, they acknowledged that they must give at least 30 days written notice to Red River United to cancel future automated debits. Red River United did not receive written notice at least 30 days in advance personally from the individuals indicating they had chosen to cancel their automated debits/membership. They must physically come to the offices of Red River United to cancel the bank draft due to the confidential nature of the information contained therein. These individuals have not done so. Accordingly, they are not entitled to a refund of the monies they authorized to be withdrawn from their bank accounts.”

Gibson added that the teachers needed to physically go to the union’s offices to provide a so-called “wet signature” in the presence of a Red River United employee in order to officially withdraw from the union and stop the monthly bank withdrawals.

Gibson’s emailed response in which she refused to refund dues to the three teachers.

A ridiculous (and dishonest?) response

Gibson’s response is not only ridiculous, but possibly dishonest. It’s also clearly an attempt by Red River United to make it as difficult as possible for current members to dropout of the union.

To start, the union’s “confidential agreement” – i.e., RRU’s membership form – isn’t all that confidential (in fact, I’ve included a copy of it at the bottom of this post). Nowhere on the membership form does it say anything about the requirement to provide a “wet signature” in the presence of an RRU employee to leave the union and stop monthly payments.

The small print from Red River United’s membership form.

Moreover, Gibson’s contention that the three teachers needed to physically go to RRU’s offices to cancel the bank drafts “due to the confidential nature of the information contained therein” is laughable. Anyone who has ever had a subscription to a newspaper or magazine can tell you that you don’t need to go to their offices to cancel it. Plus, there’s nothing “confidential” about the process. All Red River United needs to do is notify their bank to stop the monthly automatic withdrawals for those three individuals. End of story.

So why is Red River United trying to make these three teachers jump through bureaucratic hoops when they clearly don’t want to be part of their organization anymore? I suspect the union is trying to force them to come to their offices so they can pressure them to remain members, which is the kind of behavior you might expect from a dodgy timeshare broker, not a teachers union.

Nevertheless, teachers unions in other states have increasingly employed similar tactics to stem the departure of their members. For example, after Michigan became a right-to-work state in 2012, the Michigan Education Association (MEA) changed their opt-out policy to mandate that teachers withdrawal in August and force them to send their resignation requests to an obscure P.O. box address hidden on their website. The union subsequently refused to honor opt-out requests that were sent directly to MEA headquarters or were received outside of the month of August.

The United States Supreme Court is set to decide Janus v. AFSCME this spring.

I expect that we’ll see even more of these sort of schemes in the coming months. In September, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Janus v. AFSCME, a case which argues that requiring public employees to pay agency fees to unions (including teachers unions) is unconstitutional. It is widely expected that the Court will end up striking down the laws in the 22 states that currently mandate agency fees, meaning that teachers unions across the country will soon be scrambling to come up with ways to keep their members from dropping out.

Because Louisiana has long been a right-to-work state, the Janus case should have little direct impact here. At the same time, that’s exactly why Red River United’s efforts to make it as difficult as possible for members to leave their organization needs to be called out. Louisiana’s public school teachers have the right to join a union or not. Therefore, they should be able to leave a union just as easily as they signed up. If Red River United wants to salvage some of its integrity, it should immediately accept the resignation of the three educators in question and refund their dues as soon as possible.


Read Red River United’s membership form:

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Peter C. Cook
Peter C. Cook @petercook
New Orleans, Louisiana peterccook.com
Education Reformer • New Orleanian • Progressive • Democrat • Proud TFA alum • Check out my new side project: @retortonline
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