Yesterday, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand, a Republican, delivered a fiery, no-nonsense speech about the state’s partisan deadlock, and spent most of his time excoriating the former Republican governor, Bobby Jindal, and Republican members of the state legislature for their negligence and dereliction of duty. It’s a great read, and since no one else has published the full transcript, I thought I could provide a much-needed public service.


What a mess. Bobby Jindal was a better cult leader than Jim Jones. We drank the elixir for eight years. We remained in a conscious state; we walked to the edge of the cliff, and he watched. And guess what? Unlike Jim Jones, he did not swallow the poison. What a shame.

The fact of the matter is that he’s now out there on Twitter and on public spaces trying to rewrite history, and we hadn’t even figured out what history is. We know we face a $2 billion to $2.2 billion budget shortfall next year, somewhere between $700 million and $900 million between now and June 30. And he’s trying to get everybody to believe that he did a phenomenal job.

We have to just say no.

I’m a Republican, but I’m not a hypocrite. We have to look at ourselves critically as a party and figure out where we are, what we’re going to be about.

The fact of the matter that the Republican leadership in this state is now saying and trying to blame Gov. John Bel Edwards, whose only been in office a little bit over forty days, is absolutely incredulous to me.

This guy’s a friggin genius. In less than 45 days, he has screwed this state up so bad- in the history of the state, the largest budget deficit. That’s what they’re trying to get us to believe.

Come on folks; we have to wake up. Let us be honest about what we’re doing.

We did this to ourselves, myself included, because I endorsed that idiot (Jindal).

And now, we’re going to try and play partisan politics as it relates to this. And as Leon pointed out: Mental health, going to get cut. Bigger problem for criminal justice, right?  We’re talking about shutting down five state prisons that house 8,000 inmates. I think it’s just under a third that come from our region.

You think they’re going home to Bunkie?

We better get concerned. We better wake up. We better be honest. We better talk about the issues because we are going to pay the price, and we’re going to pay dearly. And we’re going to pay more than any other region in the state of Louisiana.

So I asked you last year, I made the same call, a call for action. We better get all over this thing. We better be honest about our approach.

We cannot cut our way to a balanced budget, because some of the programs that are on the chopping block are the ones that are going to affect everyone of us up here. And we do not have the assets or the resources necessary to make up for it.

We’re facing enough challenges today. We do not need to face the stupidity of our leadership as it relates to how we’re going to balance this budget and talking about these silly issues because we’re worried about what Grover Norquist thinks.

To hell with Grover Norquist! I don’t care about Grover Norquist! We’re worrying about the ATR report card? Give me a break.

We are the folks that are seeing the degredating (sic) situations out on the streets of this state, each and every day. Seven officers shot and killed last year. Officers getting hurt every day. And the few and little resources we have and the services that try to deal with the illnesses of drug addition and others, they are going to be cut, is absolutely incredulous to me.

Medicaid expansion, for example, provides significant sustenance for us to deal with some of those issues within the walls of the prison and our local jails.

And I have to sit there and listen to my Republican counterparts talk about gobbledygook- blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah- and I’m so sick and tired of hearing “Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama.” You know how much intellect it takes to blame something on somebody else? This much (motions a zero with his hand).

Propose a solution. Let’s work together and collaboratively and toward an outcome that’s going to make sense for us as a society. That is what we need to do, and that needs to be the call of action in this state. Because Leon’s right.

We are at not only a crossroads maybe in the city of New Orleans; we’re at a crossroads in the state of Louisiana, as to who we’re going to be, what we’re going to be, and how we’re going to be.

We have some systemic, fundamental issues that need to be addressed, and it can’t be handled by parties. It’s got to be handled by intellectual individuals, void of a party, void of an overarching philosophy, working together. And what’s really incredible to me? Compromise is now a dirty word.

How many people in this room are married?

How many people in their marriage don’t compromise? Raise your hand.

9 thoughts

  1. Thank you, Lamar, for publishing Sheriff Normand’s comments.

    Thank you, Sheriff Normand, for your bold and truthful remarks.

    Legislators and voters: listen to this man and heed. We are teetering on the brink. Time to grow up, accept responsibility for the role we all played in allowing the fiscal disaster we face to happen and FIX THIS.

    If you don’t like the fact that we need to raise revenue through taxes, accept the fact that the bills for your allowing jindal to wreck state finances have come due, and now you must pay for the folly of the past eight years.

  2. Thank you for bringing this very important speech to our attention. It should be mandatory reading for our legislators. I will be forwarding this on to my representative.

  3. Excellent, Lamar!! I called Sheriff Normand’s office to thank him for speaking out about this insanity. His Secretary seemed surprised…. Keep up the great work. Babs

    Sent from my iPad

  4. Sheriff, you’ve served the citizens of Jefferson Parish very well. Without scandal and make us proud to reside under your watch. Even though we would never want to see you go elsewhere, maybe you could serve more of us on a larger stage and voice with a larger swath of helping more. No matter what, we support you and your men and women who serve all of us and protect us while we sleep, at work or at leisure. God Bless You and all of J.P.S.O.!

  5. This absolutely needs to be on the front page of every paper in the state like so very many things from cenlamar.

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