Posted: Sep 5, 2012 6:34 PM by Michael Shingleton
Updated: Sep 5, 2012 6:34 PM
BATON ROUGE - With just two months until East Baton Rouge Parish voters head to the polls to decide who will be mayor-president for the next four years, the race to be the parish's top leader is heating up.
Tuesday afternoon at 3:25, Mayor-President Kip Holden's office sent out a press advisory alerting the media of a press conference "to make an important announcement" scheduled for Wednesday at 1:30pm.
Roughly two hours later, Mayoral candidate Mike Walker posted to his Facebook page and his website alerting followers the BRAVE Project had received a $1.5 million federal grant.
The announcement read: "BREAKING: After reaching out to our Congressional delegation for their assistance, I received word today from Senator David Vitter that East Baton Rouge will receive a $1.5 million federal grant to fund Project BRAVE."
Mike Walker's office emailed the Metro Council with the same news at 2:57 p.m., 30 minutes before the Mayor's Office made their announcement to media. Walker is the president pro tem of the Council.
Today, Holden said the move was meant to undercut his "important announcement."
"He wants to jump out and give credit for himself and our congressional delegation, and that's simply not how it happened." Holden said after Wednesday's BRAVE Project news conference. "For him to then turn this into a political gain on his part is childish especially when you're looking at all these professional, law enforcement and others who virtually worked around the clock to make this happen."
Walker denied taking credit and laughed it off saying, "I'm just trying to pass along information given to me by United States Senator David Vitter's office that we received the grant. Now he can look at that any way he wishes. Bless his heart."
The $1.5 million BRAVE funding will span three years, and pay for violent crime research data and analysis to be conducted by LSU, caseworkers to provide substance abuse and job training to 25 at-risk youths who choose to leave behind criminal lifestyles, and general funding for BRAVE staff.