Nathan Stubbs

Democrats get their own KLFY health forum

by Nathan Stubbs

After taking heat for airing a health care forum last month with an all-Republican panel, KLFY has announced it is teaming up with the local Democratic Party for another hour-long health care forum that promises a different point of view. KLFY has begun running promos for the "TV 10 Health Care Town Hall meeting" to take place this Saturday, Oct. 24 at 4:45 p.m. at the Clifton Chenier Center. Tickets are free and can be obtained through either KLFY or the Lafayette Parish Democratic Executive Committee. KLFY will broadcast the forum on Monday, Oct. 26, at 4 p.m. The forum's three panelists are all Democrats: U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, who has emerged as a key swing vote in Congress for any health reform bill; Dr. Mike Robichaux, a physician and former state senator from Raceland, and Dr. Nellie August-Prudhomme, a nurse and member of the LSUE clinical faculty.

The event comes on the heels of last month's health care forum, conducted by Shreveport TV station KTBS, which featured a trio of Louisiana congressmen — John Fleming of Minden, Bill Cassidy from Livingston, and Charles Boustany of Lafayette. All three are Republican physicians who oppose President Obama’s plans for health care reform. The forum prompted members of the Lafayette Parish Democratic Executive Committee to fire off a letter to KLFY General Manager Mike Barras and News Director Dwight Dugas demanding equal time.

According to DEC secretary Mike Stagg, the program could be considered an in-kind contribution that went unreported by the three congressmen. "The only way that any kind of balance can be restored here would be to give us our shot and that's what we've asked for and that's what Channel 10 has graciously awarded us," he says. Shreveport's KTBS, the only other station to carry the Republican town hall, has agreed to also air the Democrats forum the following week. Stagg adds, "We're going to follow the same format as the first event, except that there will be Democrats included this time."