Jim Donelon¹s first round victory in the primary caps off a political career that has had highs and heartbreaks. Donelon is a decent guy whose pedigree is from a once prominent Jefferson parish political family. His uncle was Tom Donelon the reform parish president who presided over the parish in the late 1970s and Œ80s. Breaking into politics at age 29 Donelon ran for District Attorney in what was a close and contentious loss to another aspiring politician, John Mamoulides. For most of his career Donelon served in the state house of representative but did suffer another setback when he ran for a district court judgeship. In an upset, Donelon was defeated by a lesser known politician named Robert Bodenheimer. Had the election gone differently politics would be different; Donelon would not likely be state insurance commissioner today and Bodenheimer might not be in federal prison.
Having specialized in insurance issues, Donelon should be the guy to stabilize the office that has experienced much turnover. Having served as chief consul and as the number two in the office, he is the first elected Insurance Commissioner whose background is actually in the insurance commissioner’s office.
One little known secret about Donelon is that he is a lifelong Los Angeles Dodgers fan. He may have been too busy campaigning to notice it, but on the same weekend that he was elected the Dodgers clinched a spot in the play-offs. The commissioner and the team have something in common- both have had to play hardball and won.
Back in the 1960s the state had a problem. Anytime constitutional amendments were put before voters they were rejected, even those that deserved to be passed. That stirred on the creation of a new constitution which was supposed to lessen the number of amendments, nevertheless, there are still plenty. Lately, however, voters have had a change of mood. They have tended to approve just about everything, even those that deserved to be defeated. That happened again Saturday when all thirteen proposals were approved, most by a lopsided margin. There was only one close vote, that was Amendment 6 having to do with expropriation of property which was widely opposed because of flawed wording. Yet that squeaked by too by 3500 votes.
All of this bodes well for the amendments that will be on the November ballot including one that will merge the New Orleans assessors offices form seven to one.
Voters may be in a better mood because they are less suspicious of their government. The eight years of the Mike Foster administration were scandal free and so has been the Blanco administration to date.
Turnout for the election was very low which means the chronic voters carried the day. They are the ones who are more committed and who are more civically involved. If they’re content, that is good news for those who govern. More amendments please
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