Friday, April 17, 2009

Traveling with Bobby Jindal

Yesterday I posted a link to a funny t-shirt that rather mocked Gov. Bobby Jindal's national travels, and I indicated that there are plenty of people in the state that disapprove of his travels and wish he'd stay in the state more.

The Advocate has a story this morning on the cost of Bobby's travels noting that the security that must accompany him is paid out of the taxpayer pocket. I'm not sure why that's news to anyone, but that's beside the point.

"The state spent nearly $25,000 in eight months on plane tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars and meals on trips related to the governor’s out-of-state campaign fundraising efforts, according to a review of Louisiana State Police invoices and receipts. State Police also incur the cost of fuel and car rentals to shuttle the governor to events."

In February, the Advocate reports, Jindal went to Florida, Arkansas and North Carolina; then he visited four cities in California and then on to Washington D.C.; in April: New York, Boston and Florida. He has also visited Iowa and during the presidential campaign famously went to Arizona.

Jindal repeatedly denies that he's running for national office in 2012, insisting that he is concentrating on his re-election campaign for Governor and that he is mindful of the fact that he had to run against two millionaires when he was elected.

Nevertheless, he still continues to garner criticism for being out of the state so often. The state legislature convenes April 27 and by law he is forbidden to conduct fundraising activities during the two months of the session and for as long as he is acting on bills after the session.

Jindal was fundraising on the East Coast on Wednesday so he attended no Louisiana Tea Parties. Professor Jeff Sadow surmises that Jindal may have wanted to distance himself from the Tea Parties in order to not be seen as an extremist should he actually decide for a national run later on:

"...if Jindal fancies himself to have a national political career where he calculates winning the political center that haphazardly pays limited attention to politics and mainly through the mainstream media is the eventual key to victory, he may have believed in the tactical necessity of a distant approach."

While Jindal travels a great deal nationally in fundraising efforts, he is also the most-traveled governor within the state. The Alexandria Town Talk did an analysis of Jindal's in-state travels and determined through "Records secured from the governor's office and State Police... show Jindal has taken about 130 helicopter trips since he took office Jan. 14, 2008.

"Between Jan. 7, when he took his first helicopter trip this year, and March 5 (the date the record request was submitted to State Police), Jindal spent 64.1 hours in the air in 26 trips within the 60-day period. The governor has spent more than 200 hours in flights around the state since taking office a little over 15 months ago."

Jindal often helicopters to Sunday church services around the state to deliver a message or visit with congregations.

As far as Jindal being out of state so often, I agree with Professor Jeff Sadow who said, “Unless somebody can demonstrate exactly how Jindal is putting too much time into talking and not enough into doing, this criticism seems pointless.” I see no harm in Jindal's travels and see that this could actually benefit the state as well as raising his profile.

Related Posts: Romney/Jindal in 2012?
Bobby Refuses Porkulus
Bobby Finds His Legs

No comments: