In the past few months, as Monica Monica has been weighing whether to run for Congress against Republican 1st Congressional District incumbent David Vitter, patients, friends and strangers have approached her to offer their unsolicited opinions. In 1999, Monica ran fourth in a multi-candidate field to replace the retiring Bob Livingston.
This time, after looking over the race and reviewing her own feelings about the campaign, Monica had begun to lean against a race until her patients began imploring her to run for Congress and make health care her primary issue. Now, Monica seems open to the possibility of running for Congress this fall.
Monica believes that Congress needs more diversity and especially needs more representatives who are doctors and medical professionals. She makes clear that if she runs, health care will be her top issue. In fact, she doesn't even cite many disagreements with Vitter. "It's not me running against him." she says. "It's me running for health care." Once in Congress, Monica believes that her background as a physician can help her save money in Medicare and bring about more personal responsibility to the system, as well as upgrade it.
In her last race, Monica spent large sums of money on television advertising and political consultants, but this time she envisions a different type of campaign. "Last time, there was a large field of candidates and very few people knew me," she says. "This time I will have no big entourage; it will be just me." Monica has no illusions about the type of campaign required to unseat an incumbent. "Do I think it will be an uphill battle? Yes, but I am concerned about the horribly difficult hurdles facing patients and doctors today."
If she runs, part of Monica's appeal will be her ability to relate to the working-class citizens in the district, who are concerned about meeting health-care costs and paying their bills and taxes. Although she has been courted by top Louisiana Democrats like U.S. Sen. John Breaux and State Party Chairman Ben Jeffers to switch parties, Monica confirms that if she runs it will be as a Republican. She adds: "I wish there was a mainstream party. A bipartisan attitude is the way to go." She lists Republican Sen. John McCain and Breaux as her political role models. She particularly admires McCain's style. "I like the way he stirs the pot, and he brings out the issues," she says.
Qualifying ends Friday, Aug. 23. With Monica leaning toward a run, Vitter might have more of a challenge for reelection than expected. The other candidates already in the race are Republican radio talk show host Robert Namer and Democrat sales representative Michael Armato.
Republican Party of Jefferson Parish to Endorse
On Thursday, Aug. 29, at 6 p.m., the Republican Party of Jefferson Parish will hold an endorsement meeting in the Grand Ballroom of the Wyndham Hotel in Metairie. The group is composed of the elected members of the Jefferson Parish Republican Executive Committee; the chairman of the Republican Party of Jefferson Parish is longtime Republican activist Bob Deviney.
At this meeting, members will examine candidates in all parish races, the U.S. Senate race and the congressional race in the 1st District. In each case, the committee may decide to endorse a candidate or withhold an endorsement. According on one Republican insider, serious campaigning has begun, as committee members are already being solicited by many of the candidates in the hotly contested races.
Select New Parish Leadership
Michael M. Davis, a public school educator with more than 20 years of experience, has been elected chairman of the Jefferson Parish Democratic Executive Committee, the official Democratic Party organization in Jefferson Parish. Davis has many years of experience working for Democratic candidates on national, state and local levels and served as a Louisiana delegate at the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.
Along with Davis, the Jefferson Parish Democratic Executive Committee elected the following officers: 1st Vice Chairman Anne Gauthreaux, 2nd Vice Chairman Michael J. Fahrenholt Sr., 3rd Vice Chairman Lisa Marie Lucidi, Secretary Carol Braun, Archivist Elaine Appleberry, Treasurer Karen Wiedemann and Sergeant-at-Arms Oscar Cade Sr.