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Story Archives: Alexander's responsibilities extend beyond 5th District now
|Alexander's responsibilities extend beyond 5th District now|
While it's not too late for Sen. Mary Landrieu to extend some pleasantries to U.S. Reps. Richard Baker, William Jefferson and Jim McCrery, 5th District Congressman Rodney Alexander may want to give the aforementioned members of the House a swift kick in their rear ends.
Or he may want to treat them to lunch.
If you recall, it was suggested in this corner one week ago that Landrieu should pass along some gifts in the spirit of Valentine's Day to Baker, Jefferson and McCrery. She should do it in light of the congressmen's plans concerning their tenure in the House of Representatives, whether those plans entail voluntary retirement or the possibility of going to prison for a spell.
When Baker and McCrery leave the House to become highly paid lobbyists, overnight Landrieu will become the most powerful member of the state's congressional delegation. Though Jefferson has served in the Congress longer than the senior senator, his credibility on Capital Hill is shot. Fighting an indictment over bribery charges will do that to you.
How does all of this affect Alexander?
Better stated, why should Alexander contemplate kicking Baker, Jefferson and McCrery in their hind sides or picking up the tab on lunch for four at Commander's Palace?
The answer, or answers, to those questions vary.
First of all, Alexander is the only member of the state's congressional delegation who holds a seat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. That's the committee in the House that spends the people's money on endeavors on the home front such as highway construction projects, water and sewer improvements and building new airports.
While Alexander has done a commendable job in securing federal appropriations for the 5th District in spite of his party being in the minority in the House, the expectations of him to deliver money from the federal government for pet projects all over the state will skyrocket once Baker and McCrery join the private sector.
That's fine and dandy as long as Alexander realizes the work he conducts for voters who don't live in the 5th District won't produce much goodwill among the people who do.
And it's the people who live in the 5th District who matter the most to Alexander's career in politics.
So much for being the big man on the block.
Or the member of the House from Louisiana who has the most seniority if we overlook the congressman who's spending a great deal of his time huddling with defense attorneys or arguing with a U.S. attorney.
Yet, Alexander can rest a bit, knowing his constituents—minus the folks at the Monroe Chamber of Commerce—don't demand a great deal from Big Brother. Instead, they seem somewhat content as long as the new race track off Interstate 20 east Monroe opens on time or as long as one doesn't get arrested for urinating in public at a Mardi Gras parade in the heart of the Bible Belt.
That leaves the remainder of the populace in Louisiana, which, in many regards, expects the federal government to pay for everything the state can't afford or isn't willing to pay for itself.
Now serving his sixth year in the House, Alexander is about to discover he has a host of friends who were nowhere to be found a few months ago. Most of them will want something, too.
Those new-found friends also will be more than happy to write a check to the Alexander for Congress Campaign Committee.
What's it going to be?
Should Baker, Jefferson and McCrery line up for a swift kick in their hind sides or should they make plans to break bread with the congressman from Quitman?