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Mayor Kip Holden blasts political opponent, defends lack of visibility

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BATON ROUGE- Freshly back from a trip to Taiwan, East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President addressed reporters during a news conference about the parish's flood response.

For much of the news conference, Holden's right hand men and women praised his leadership and thanked one another for the great job they were all doing.

When asked why he didn't go to Washington D.C. last week when Governor John Bel Edwards and three local mayors went to talk to congress, Holden said he wasn't invited. That's when Holden went on the defensive.

"I'm a firm believer that Congressman Cedric Richmond had a hand in this," Holden said. "The governor should have stood up and said we are all in this together."

When asked whether he's talked to Congressman Richmond to back up those allegations, Holden responded, "Why should I talk to him. He didn't even give us the courtesy to know we weren't invited."

Holden admitted during his trip to Taiwan, the Taiwanese Government pledged no money for flood relief to the thousands of victims recovering here. When asked if the trip had anything to do with flood recovery, Holden said it was an economic development trip in terms of building the community back up and recruiting jobs. Holden and only one other Mayor from Hawaii were the only mayors in attendance.

He said the government of Taiwan paid for the trip, and his non-flood related travels aren't over.

"I'm going to John Hopkins," Holden said. "You don't have to do research and look. I'm telling you."

Towards the end of the news conference, we asked Holden to address Congressman Richmond since he made many bold statements.

"I'm not saying anything to Cedric Richmond because I'm not going to lower my IQ," Holden said.

We requested a statement from Congressman Richmond.

Richmond said: "I am grateful for the state and local leaders who journeyed to Washington, D.C. last week to help me make the case to our federal partners the need for swift investment of additional federal resources. Regarding last week’s Congressional hearing, as is customary, Democratic members were offered one witness.  My colleagues and I agreed to invite Governor Edwards to testify so he could make the appropriate request for the more than 100,000 Louisiana residents impacted by last month’s flooding.  Honestly, there was nothing the Mayor of Baton Rouge could offer last week aside from what the other Mayors and the Governor provided during testimony.

I appreciate the great relationship I have with President Obama and his Administration.  The President has expressed his support for Louisiana to me on a number of occasions.  I had a number of calls with Administration officials last week on various points of interest related to the recovery.  Additionally, because of the leadership of the Governor, the support of our Congressional delegation, and the efforts of the local officials who came to Washington last week—some of whom did not testify—to press the case, I am certain the President will announce his support for additional federal resources for our state soon.”

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