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To force the recall elections would require signatures from one-third of registered voters in the official’s district within 180 days. Four previous recall efforts against Jindal have failed since 2008. The teachers won’t say how many signatures they’re received so far, but claim they’ve been bombarded with requests for copies of the petitions.
Targeted lawmakers include Kleckley and St. Tammany Parish Reps. Kevin Pearson and Greg Cromer, all Republicans. A new recall petition was filed Friday against freshman Rep. Ray Garofalo, R-Chalmette, but the Secretary of State’s Office rejected the filing, saying the paperwork was incorrect.
Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, said he has no concerns about the recall elections. He said he and his colleagues represent their districts well and won’t be ousted.
“The people in my district will look at my success as a public servant over the last several years and measure me on my successes and the good things that I’ve done for the district and the positive things I’ve done for the area, and they won’t measure me on just one single issue,” he said.
Recall leaders say the lawmakers haven’t listened to their own constituents and were arrogant in their responses to educators’ concerns about the changes.
“We trust them to make good laws, and they did not,” Bonvillain said.
The teachers are promoting the recalls on Facebook and websites, they’ve established a hotline and they’ve held signature drives in several parishes. They’re printed t-shirts and bumper stickers. In Kleckley’s district, they’re walking neighborhoods, seeking signatures and putting up yard signs.
“We’re organized. We’re doing our best to reach as many people as we can,” said Lee Barrios, a retired teacher from Abita Springs who is working on the recalls.
Jason Dore, executive director of the state Republican Party, claims the state’s teacher unions are behind the petition efforts. But the teachers in charge say they started on their own and while they’ve gotten support from union leaders, they haven’t received union money for the recall efforts.
The Republican Party of Louisiana filed complaints against the Jindal and Kleckley recall efforts with the state ethics board, accusing the teachers of not filing the proper campaign-finance documents disclosing who is paying for the advertising, yard signs and other materials being distributed.
“We will not stand idly by while union leaders and their allies abuse the recall process for political purposes by attacking those who supported reforming Louisiana’s broken public education system,” Dore said in a statement.
Bonvillain said the teachers group has talked to the state ethics office and been told financial reports are due in July.
She said the group will file on time, and she accused Dore of attacking the recall efforts because they’re gaining momentum.
“This is like Goliath complaining that David has a sling shot,” Bonvillain said.
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