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For Governor-Elect Edwards, Jindal has One Request

Wallis Watkins

Governor Bobby Jindal and Governor-Elect John ‘Bel’ Edwards met Tuesday at the Governor’s Mansion as part of the transition process. 

"We’ve told the governor-elect's team that they have full access to cabinet officials, to the agency heads, to any other officials or information they need," Governor Jindal told reporters.

Jindal stressed the importance of making the transition as smooth and seamless as possible. During the hour-long meeting, Jindal and Edwards discussed both big picture and day-to-day issues. There will be follow-up meetings leading up to Edwards' inauguration on January 11. 

Edwards said the conversations he has had with Jindal are an example of the bipartisan approach to governing he intends to take. Edwards spoke of Jindal's cooperation, saying "it started the night of the election when the Governor called me and that set the tone for the transition." 

To ensure the Legislature works across the aisle as well, Edwards has backed Democratic State Representative Walt Leger for Speaker of the House. Edwards called Leger "a very capable and talented young man who has been [Speaker] Pro-Tem under a Republican Speaker and for a Republican Governor."

"It’s part of having a bi-partisan approach to governance in Louisiana," says Edwards, "both in the Executive branch and in the Legislature." According to Edwards, Leger offers the best chance to continue that bi-partisan approach and lead an effective Legislature.

Jindal did ask Edwards for a favor, regarding the K-12 school voucher program. "One of the things that’s been important to me is the scholarship program. I just asked that, before they made any decisions, to meet with children and parents who are involved with that program to hear from them.  He readily agreed to that and says he’s already begun to do that," says Jindal.

Edwards, who is supported by the teachers unions, has been a strong critic of some of Jindal’s 2012 education reforms, and while in the Legislature, tried to tweak the voucher programs.