Sangisetty gets good government nod

by Walter Pierce

The Alliance for Good Government announced Wednesday that it will support Democrat Ravi Sangisetty of Houma in the contest to capture the 3rd Congressional District. The Alliance for Good Government announced Wednesday that it will support Democrat Ravi Sangisetty of Houma in the contest to capture the 3rd Congressional District. It is the second time this election season that the alliance has decided against endorsing the campaign of Republican Jeff Landry of New Iberia.

The alliance endorsed Landry's opponent in the Oct. 2 Republican primary, Hunt Downer of Houma, a lawyer and former National Guard major general. Landry and Sangisetty will face off in the Nov. 2 general election.

Sangisetty, a Houma attorney, said he is proud to have the official seal of the Alliance for Good Government, especially since he has made accountability a central plank in his platform. "I'm running for Congress to fight to make the 3rd District better," he said. "We need an open and accountable government that works for south Louisiana."

Julienne Uhlich, Sangisetty's campaign manager, said as far as good government goes, "the contrast between Ravi and Jeff Landry couldn't be clearer." She cited instances where Landry "broke federal election laws" while he worked on the failed campaigns of Craig Romero of New Iberia. Romero, a former Republican state senator, opposed U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-Napoleonville, in 2004 and 2006.

Melancon won both battles and is now vacating the 3rd District this year to run for the U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent David Vitter.

During the course of the Romero campaigns, for which Landry served in various roles from manager to treasurer, a number of judgments were handed down by Federal Election Commission. Romero's campaign was once fined $5,800 for a late report, "admonished" for inadequate disclaimer notices on signs and was found to have "accepted prohibited corporate and excessive contributions" and paid a related civil penalty of $5,000, based on federal records.

"Jeff Landry is known for running corrupt campaigns," Uhlich said. "He took illegal contributions and failed to document spending. That's unacceptable and the voters deserve an honest and transparent election."

Asked to comment on the Sangisetty campaign's remarks, Brent Littlefield, Landry's chief strategist, said most of the FEC infringements came in early 2004, before he or Landry ever joined the Romero campaign. Additionally, at least one of the instances - inadequate disclaimer notices on signs - was a mistake on the FEC's part, Littlefield said.

As for the endorsement, he noted that the alliance's backing did a lot of good for Downer, who lost the Republican primary runoff by 9,100 votes to Landry and carried only his home parish of Terrebonne. "The Alliance for Good Government, based in New Orleans, still has the endorsement of one of our previous opponents on their website," Littlefield said. "The voters selected Jeff. Jeff has been recognized as the candidate for good government."

Littlefield added that Landry has other nods that speak to his conservative credentials, like endorsements from National Right to Life, Concerned Women for America, the American Conservative Union and Family Research Council. "However, the endorsement we are most proud of is that of the tens of thousands of Louisiana voters who have already - and who will continue - to select Jeff Landry as their next congressman," Littlefield said.