Governor and House Speaker targets of recall efforts
By Lauren Rodgers
BATON ROUGE, LA: Two Louisiana public school teachers in Calcasieu Parish have begun an effort to recall Gov. Bobby Jindal and state House Speaker Chuck Kleckley. Angie Bonvillain and Brenda Romero began circulating the recall petition three weeks ago.
The pair has taken issue not only with Jindal's education reforms, but also his proposed changes to the state's retirement system. Term limits prevent Jindal from seeking a third term in office, and Romero has accused him of taking advantage of this position by pushing changes for which he will not be held accountable in a general election: "He waited until he was elected for a second term and then unleashed this entire change of the education system. Now he is going after the retirement system. This is all very fascist to me."
Under Louisiana state law, citizens of Louisiana are granted the authority to perform recall elections by Section 26, Article 10 of the Louisiana Constitution. Once the initial recall petition is filed with the Louisiana Secretary of State, the petitioners have 180 days to collect the required number of signatures (33.3% of the eligible voters for the office at the time of the last election) and submit the completed petition to the Secretary of State's office. The teachers will need to collect approximately 900,000 signatures to move forward with the recall against Jindal and 10,000 for Kleckley.
No fewer than five recall efforts against Jindal have failed in the past, and this latest effort will likely meet a similar end. Jindal's statewide popularity is consistently above 50% and he won re-election in last year's blanket primary election, held October 22, 2011, with 65.8% of the vote. The second place finisher in the race, Tara Hollis (D), garnered only 17.9% of the vote.
Nevertheless, Bonvillain and Romero are pressing on with their efforts, and have launched a website to promote their petition. A spokesperson for Jindal's office said the governor is not worried about the effort, noting "We're not concerned and not surprised that the coalition of the status quo is trying to intimidate folks who want to reform our schools and make them better for our children."
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