Jindal's education cuts inspire super PAC formation

Young people 'not being heard' says Louisiana Young Democrats official who co-founded new group

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Two leaders of the Louisiana Young Democrats have launched a super PAC dedicated to advancing the interests of young professionals, such as education and jobs — and the duo says the new operation will be bipartisan.

“In Louisiana, our voice has not been heard,” said 30-year-old co-founder Jerry Jones, a former Alexandria, La., city council member. “We want to change that.”

Jones — who is also the national committeeman for the Louisiana Young Democrats — launched the True Louisiana Leadership PAC with Timothy Pickett, who serves as the treasurer of both groups. Both men graduated from Southern University, where they were active in student government.

Jones told the Center for Public Integrity that he and Pickett were motivated to take action after seeing repeated budget cuts to higher education by Bobby Jindal, the state’s Republican governor who may be considering a 2016 White House bid.

“We decided to say ‘ouch,'” Jones said. “We needed to be heard.”

Jones offered no fundraising estimates for his super PAC. But he said the committee is “looking forward to playing a role” in a range of upcoming elections, including the state’s contentious U.S. Senate race. The True Louisiana Leadership PAC has yet to make any formal endorsements.

Incumbent Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is up for re-election in 2014 and is already facing challengers, including GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy.

A March report from the nonprofit State Higher Education Executive Officers found that Louisiana’s higher education funding cuts in 2012 ranked as the third largest in the country. The budget Jindal signed into law earlier this summer cut an additional $11 million from higher education.

In contrast, Jindal has also supported sizeable higher education infrastructure investments since he took office in 2008, according to The Advocate in Baton Rouge.

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