Boustany, Durel endorsing Vitter for La. governor

en. David Vitter is receiving an endorsement today from U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany. (Photo: Leslie Westbrook, The Advertiser)

U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, and Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel endorsed the gubernatorial campaign of U.S. Sen. David Vitter on Wednesday

At a news conference at Palmetto’s in the Oil Center, both men praised Vitter, R-Metairie, as a pragmatic conservative best positioned to build an effective team in Baton Rouge.

Vitter himself said he has spent much of the last year thinking in terms of assembling his administration, should he win election Oct. 24.

“I am very proud of the Acadiana team we are building,” said Vitter, alluding to the two men who stood by him at the podium.

Vitter is locked in a four-man race for governor. Also competing are Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, R-Baton Rouge; Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, R-Breaux Bridge, and State Rep. John Bel Edwards, D-Amite.

Durel, who is completing 12 years as the city and parish’s chief executive, and Boustany, the senior House member in the Louisiana delegation to Washington, said Vitter will have a short learning curve as a chief executive, although his political experience has been in the legislative branch. Both Dardenne, who served as secretary of state before becoming lieutenant governor, and Angelle, former secretary of the state’s Department of Natural Resources, have executive experience.

Durel said he trusts Vitter’s intellect, experience and leadership skills, which he said will make Vitter an effective administrator. Boustany said that Vitter has run statewide political campaigns, which he said requires executive leadership.

“It’s lonely at the top,” Durel said. “We need a serious, courageous leader to turn the state around.”

“David has deep knowledge of federal and state government,” Boustany said. Vitter served in the Louisiana Legislature for seven years before winning election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1999.

Durel said Vitter has been a friend to Acadiana, helping with such projects as promoting completion of Interstate 49 South to New Orleans. Boustany praised Vitter’s efforts in securing a new health clinic for veterans in Lafayette, as well as for attempting to secure funding for a new clinic in Lake Charles.

Vitter said the state’s looming budget problem — the state faces a budget deficit of some $1.6 billion in fiscal year 2016 — has not lessened his enthusiasm for seeking the governor’s seat.

“For big crises, you get big opportunities,” he said.

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