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Start getting prepared for the election ahead

Allen Lottinger -   Oct 19, 2006

St. Charles Parish residents will go to the polls November 7 probably in lesser numbers than they did on September 30. At that time, almost 7,000 people voted here. But there were five local school board races on the ballot, along with two statewide races. There were also 13 state constitutional amendments to be voted upon.

The upcoming election will have only two races for U. S. Congressman and 8 amendments on the ballot. Hopefully, those who voted last time will continue their dedication to the democratic process and coax others not so dedicated to change their ways.

The two congressional districts in St. Charles will join districts throughout the nation in electing congressmen for the next two years. On part of the east bank, there is a race in the First Congressional District. Candidates are Peter Beary, David Gereighty, Bobby Jindal and Stacey Tallitsch. In the rest of the parish, there is a race for congressman of the Third Congressional District between James Lee Blake, Olangee O. J. Breech, Charles Melancon and Craig Romero. At stake could be control of Congress for the next two years. Will it remain in the hands of the Republicans who also claim the President or will the Democrats take over one or two of the houses and bring a split in the higher echelons of government?

The answer to that question could cause a disruption in the comparatively steady way that federal government has operated in the last six years. With the President and Congress under the banner of one party, its is not hard for that party to get agreement on any one issue. Only a filibuster can stand in the way of a unanimous party having its way.

If Congress is split or united in a different party from the administration, the President can still veto its legislation and only with a two-thirds majority can it be overrided. In other words, there is no way we would have a harmonious relationship up in Washington unless the Democrats can amass a two-thirds majority in the senate which is near impossible.

One of the questions facing people will be whether to vote along party lines or for the candidates of their choice. If they like what one party does on the national scene better than the other, they may choose the first alternative. That could prove most beneficial in getting Washington to legislate in the way they want. But if they think the opposing candidate is better qualified, they may take the independent path even though he may oppose their party on many issues.

Washington has become very party conscious. It used to be Democrats and Republicans would fight openly among themselves. It still happens but not very often.

So when you go to the polls in two weeks, you will have your work cut out. First of all, study the amendments. The Herald-Guide will publish an explanation of them next week and will give you our selections.

Secondly, decide if you want the party you favor to control Congress and/or the country more than you want to elect the individual candidate you prefer on the ballot. If the candidate you favor belongs to the party you prefer, you have no problem.

Then your job will be done until you enter the voting booth and press your selections. Thatís the way the two-party system works.

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