Fayard fires back

by Walter Pierce

Former lieutenant governor candidate Caroline Fayard loves you, and she's willing to give you a sticker stating as much. Former lieutenant governor candidate Caroline Fayard loves you, and she's willing to give you a sticker stating as much.

Under near relentless attack from the Louisiana Republican Party over comments she made at a Washington Parish Democratic Party banquet in Bogalusa recently, Fayard is offering "Caroline Fayard Loves Me" bumper stickers for free.

At that banquet in late March, Fayard told the crowd, among other things, "I hate Republicans. I hate Republicans. They are cruel and destructive. They eat their young. They don't think. They don't allow people to think. They are bullies." She was evidently unaware that a reporter from Bogalusa's Daily News was there. The state GOP seized on the comments and began distributing "Caroline Fayard Hates Me" bumper stickers. Fayard has since insisted her comments were taken out of context and were not part of her prepared remarks.

As a first-time candidate for statewide - and any other - office last fall, Fayard ran a surprisingly close race against eventual lieutenant governor winner and then Secretary of State Jay Dardenne.

In an email appeal last week to supports titled "I am a daughter of Louisiana and it is here I take my stand," Fayard fired back at Republicans:

In recent weeks, a small group of Republican insiders in Baton Rouge have been wildly distorting comments I made about some Republican policies and campaign tactics.
Why would these insiders breathlessly attack a private citizen who is not currently running for office?

Well, last year our campaign for Lieutenant Governor surprised a lot of people with our strong showing. These attacks are especially odd since I've been approached by a wide range of Republicans in recent weeks about switching parties. Then, Republican Party insiders demanded I reveal my future plans for public office. When it became clear I would not switch or meet their demands, the attacks began.

I guess they figure if they could not switch me or bully me they would try to smear me.

Unfortunately for my attackers, their bullying has not had the desired effect. The attacks have only served to give me clarity about my future, and the future I see for Louisiana.
They have wrongly claimed that I said that I hate all Republicans. That's not true. I don't hate anybody. I love America. I love Louisiana, and I love Louisianans. I love going fishing with my little brother on the Tickfaw River, to church on Sundays, and to a Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.

I love the rhythm of Louisiana. I embrace life here. We work hard, and we play hard. We love our families, cherish our faith, and celebrate each other.

My party affiliation is only one part of who I am. And, while I'm proud to be a lifelong Democrat, my grandfather was a Republican, a veteran, and small business owner from Livingston Parish where I grew up. One of my earliest childhood memories is writing President Reagan a letter, and the President sending me back a signed photo in return.

What I said in my comments about certain Republicans related to the self-serving policies promoted by a handful of Baton Rouge insiders and the way they strong-arm those who oppose them. In an attempt to speak candidly, I chose my words carelessly. The sentiment behind my words, however, remains. Their actions have hurt us and our future, and they are dead wrong. I don't back off that belief one inch.

I was also making a point about the scorched earth tactics of a few of these same people. They responded to my criticism of deceptive attack dog politics with more deceptive attack dog politics.

They made my point.

When I sought office before -- and if I seek it again -- I will do so not running for or against any party. I will run to make a difference for the people of Louisiana.

It is time to put an end to the politicians that put special interests and the powerful in the driver's seat and put Louisianans in the rearview mirror.