Filed Under:  Politics

Rep. Hollis seeks to upset U.S. Senate race

9th June 2014   ·   0 Comments

By Christopher Tidmore
Contributing Writer

With the announcement by LAGOP Chairman Roger Villere before dignitaries and potential Presidential candidates on May 30th that the Louisiana Republican Party had opted to endorse Baton Rouge Congressman Dr. Bill Cassidy as their candidate against Mary Landrieu, the other GOP Senatorial contenders were ostensibly put in a difficult position. There are two other Republicans running in the November Open Primary against Cassidy and Landrieu, Ret. Air Force Col. Rob Maness and St. Tammany State Rep. Paul Hollis.

Maness responded to Villere’s announcement at the Republican Leadership Conference with his own news. The Tea Party Express, one of the loudest groups on the activist right, had chosen to endorse the former Colonel’s candidacy. That left Rep. Hollis, a relatively recent addition to the Louisiana State House, but possessor of a name well known to the crucial constituency of Jefferson Parish voters, as well as his own district.

Mary Landrieu has won her last three races in this increasingly GOP state by swinging the sons and daughters of Orleans Parish voters, now living in the immediate suburbs of Jefferson, to vote for the local girl over their ideological bias. Generally, it has worked. She carried Jefferson against a Baton Rouge candidate like Woody Jenkins, a fellow New Orleanian Suzie Terrell, and a Central Louisianian in John Kennedy. Hollis bets that it won’t work against a native Jeffersonian who moved — like many second generation suburbanites — to the Northshore. That coalition, he reasons, is enough to deny Landrieu a first primary win, and propel him, thanks to his St. Tammany core electorate (the most GOP in the state) into a December runoff with her.

In an interview with The Louisiana Weekly, Hollis explain?ed, “The path to victory is simple: Encourage Louisiana voters to back a candidate who has consistently put Louisiana — not Washington or any special interest group — first. By November, voters will know which candidate puts Louisiana first and which candidates have personal and/or political agendas.”

“I ran for the State House in 2011 to ensure a bright future for my children and grandchildren. I’m running for the United States Senate, not to serve as a nuisance to the hand-picked candidate in the race, but to protect, promote, and preserve freedom for generations to come.”

Hollis was not daunted by the prospect of a Landrieu first primary victory thanks to three Republicans dividing the conservative, anti-incumbent vote. Unlike Maness’ sympathy for a return to the closed primary, the State Rep said, “My goal is to earn the most votes on Election Day. Louisiana is a unique state with wonderful traditions and customs. The ‘jungle primary’ is one of them and I support the current elections process.”

Hollis lists three issues motivating his campaign, “Empowering small business, stopping Obama-care, protecting freedom for future generations.”

Like many GOP candidates, opposition to the Afford-able Care Act plays hugely in the rhetoric of the stump. The GOP moniker for the 2014 elections has been “repeal and replace,” with few details as to what would substitute for the ACA. When asked about his legislative plan to provide universal access to affordable health care, Hollis replied vaguely, “Several members of Congress have introduced market-based healthcare plans that enhance care and accessibility at an affordable price. In the U.S. Senate, I will work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to craft legislation that addresses the needs of the American people without compromising my conservative values.

Even if he wins, and the GOP captures the majority, effectively there will be an evenly divided US Senate, roughly 50/50. When asked, on what issues will you break party and back the Democrats? Where are the realistic changes of cross-party legislation, that you endorse, Hollis answered, “Bi-partisan jobs bills from the House should be considered and passed in the U.S. Senate. Unfortunately, Majority Leader Harry Reid is too concerned with being an obstructionist to progress, and common sense legislation is piling up like two-by-fours. America deserves better. At the very least, Republicans and Democrats can work together to enhance economic growth and investment by repealing ridiculous regulations and mandates.”

He also supported Louisiana issues such as sugar price supports, repealing Biggert-Waters, and having federal reinsurance for hurricane damage, similar to policies in place on terrorist insurance coverages. He also added, “We need a storm barrier at the Chef Pass and Rigolets [to stop storm surge from entering Lake Pontchartrain] and yes I can work to secure [$2 billion] funding in Washington.”

In fact, Hollis promised to accelerate the flow of recovery dollars to New Orleans, hardly a popular issue in the Senate GOP caucus, by stating, “In Washington, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. I will be an outspoken champion for our state and won’t rest until we receive every dollar promised.”

The State Rep. also took a hard swerve to the right in rejecting any compromise on immigration. He does say the defense budget might need to be smaller, and “To remain a viable superpower, the United States must reign in out-of-control spending and balance the budget.”

As for calls for fundamental tax reform, the State Rep. attacked the administration, “Our country doesn’t have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. Under President Obama’s failed leadership, work has been discouraged and small business owners and investors demonized. This must end. We can fire up the national economy by lowering marginal incomes rates permanently and creating a clear, consistent playing field for businesses and investors.”

Hollis concluded, touching on his experience operating a successful, multi-million dollar rare coin business, “Louisiana needs a proven leader in Washington. Of all the candidates for this race, I’m the only one who fits the bill. I don’t talk about job creation in some haphazard way. I’ve actually created jobs. I don’t talk about stopping Obamacare, reckless spending, or tax hikes. I’ve actually worked to do these things in the State House. And I don’t just talk about the importance of reviving the American Dream. I’ve actually lived it.”

This article originally published in the June 9, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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