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WWL>Topics>>5-27-14 2:10pm Angela: with Jimmy Fitzmorris

5-27-14 2:10pm Angela: with Jimmy Fitzmorris

May 27, 2014|

Angela sits down with former lieutenant governor Jimmy Fitzmorris.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

-- the life of Jimmy Fitz Morrison could be a movie. Scrappy messenger boy at Kansas City Southern who becomes the youngest railroad executive in the nation. The army private who goes into world war two and comes out a major. The man who finds the love of his life and enjoys fifty years of marriage he would call perfection. Add to that political careers described as brilliant. Twelve years as a new Orleans city councilman. Than eight years as lieutenant governor of Louisiana. And to this day not one political enemy. When politics ended it was the beginning of the second act that have businessman. These last thirty years in his -- street office have been a stellar as the first forty in public service. Jimmy Fitzmorris has had a complete life as anyone I've ever known. A life full of victories. But not without losses and sadness. Yes what has never changed in his 93 years. Is his faith. His passion to make things better and his genuine love of people big and small. Jimmy Fitzmorris is an original he has helped shape the city we are the state we are and the business community weekend. Whenever that scrappy messenger boy had so long ago lives today. And for that we can all be grateful. The next hour we have the special man in studio to talk about the past the present and the future. And at long last have you in the studio. It's his delightful to be with you and -- we go back so far. I'm in luncheon with great interest we don't Korea -- initially to -- dollars in. The young reporter many -- you'll just can't just kissed. And how many shows we did together on on TV eons. March usually moved over here and coalition Demi Demi analysts had a very powerful role to play and the community KP communication alive from a city and how much paid. That's such a powerful network goes out over. If I am wondering get a message out to anybody politically and business wise. -- -- BO would be in my area in which I would go and seek. The kind of people that I wanted to seek by talking them through W Serbia. You are wonderful to say and let me tell you my many bosses are just. Are cheering in the background well and I'm not that I'm excited saying -- -- as it is it's the absolute truth than. You know Pete in which nations have coming on and people have coming -- But -- Dem BL has been around a mellowing on the minute power strands. I used to always come into an abuse on their veto veto because I know mom Messi who's getting out not only to people here in the audience. But people all over the whole area oh that's right absolutely absolutely. But this hour is about you and say I wanna start. I loved the story of getting this job is just a kid with the railroad and it was that emerged. 11 of the top executives so young what was it in -- then. Well let me say this I want to wait for the railroad. I finished as high school Friday. I reported for work with the red rose Monday. -- went totally -- night when you talk about it that ultimately wrong and never did. Gave -- to get my degree of their night finally got an Ontario we did that. I had a great privilege of meeting one of the finest -- them implement a man by the name -- -- -- -- arraignments. He was surprises the case he has -- I was just to mention your bowl and we've we've put on a train called the southern Belle. And that I was asked to go down to meet people is thinking -- while more on the car which I did. In this Gelman Winston and caller an Amtrak and -- compromise on hand he came -- to -- and each December when you do around here. I said -- I'm I'm I'm a match people ask us president railroad. A Saddam on this you boy he -- how would you like to go under strain for about two weeks. And we unit -- -- every place in the railroaded and I'd like you to be a part of this trip. Just don't we can do and today me and him meet people green people telling people about the -- so. -- -- well. And whether I -- does I mean it caught the mom other. So I immediately called my mother. And that's a little at this man stations and Wilson who is a man. As a mom I don't really know any issues that we've got to find out who he is so low and -- -- -- told me was president read our. So I wanna own that trip commissioner ray emission and he'd -- it seldom adopted me. And a my career was based collateral and his family again and when he passed and ways and took over. And I never you know for unity -- came down -- -- Meehan. He says I don't know what kind of relationship you it -- my dad. After you know get them fired about a he says and I wanted to tell you in the continuum PC -- great relationship with him myself and -- did any greatly. And now I look forward to semi new. And and that was it you know I was accountable guy than if you were wrong actually wrong and and he even liked that needed like people would be yes man I'm never many as man and anything amendment done. Try to do it diplomatically and politely let's try to get my message across. And so Marrero rare -- career with -- wonderful in 19150. Mission Iran missed call maybe Kansas City. And he said yeah me I want -- come appear in each of them eventually make you president railroad. As to what mr. Imus I appreciate that very much. But I don't wanna leave -- he's that you don't want to leave new audience he says that's in trouble with few people from Louisiana. Unilaterally. And ultimately the -- can't do well playing at that time and that's a brief story. Now but it's a wonderful story and it is -- sort of that your core but also simultaneous to that there had to have been something new that. -- -- toward politics toward leadership. -- well. When the immediately when -- came back from the service the first thing I did become very active in the community college praises the -- passes -- 3000 ma'am as a very powerful organization. Very active in the JC's very active in the chamber of commerce. I believe in community support I believe in community life. Jim Morrison religious elected mayor in 1946. I had just gotten home from service. I was saying -- conference room on saint Charles that men. And champion coloring came back in the in the open -- And champs enemy wanted to come -- this city hello I want in Tokyo but sent in so much it's fun. So I walked up there along with the crowd of people going for inauguration day. And chips that you want to thank you might get in politics finesse that well. You know I think I'd like something like that. So I immediately started doing a lot of community things and then in 19100 and 52. He kept convince me that I hear -- and the City Council now as for his camera and for republic though. And I was very grateful that I did I enjoyed publicly if people -- in public life. Angela for several reasons first the bald -- for probably go for money. Well legally serve. I believe that I was the sort of and I think that that would public life is all about him he's not amount to me about my success. Is what we do -- of people that we that are -- and and as I look around the day we need more people who are dedicated to public service from a great advocate of that. Let me tell you just hit the nail on the head on that one we're gonna take a break we're gonna come back and we're gonna pick it up right there. Because I wanna know what -- Fitzmorris thinks about what the heck is going on in Washington. What's happening in legislature. And our own hometown stay with -- Jimmy Fitzmorris I'm Angela under the anyway. We are back with that Jimmy Fitzmorris. A man for all seasons menus have a tremendous. History of politics and our community. And yet still looks forward is C. He began his second career as the businessman but now 2530 years thirty years thirty years I still have one of your key rings and said. Fifteen years so it's been fifteen years since then. -- a but I wanna go back to you were talking about. What politics sort of used to correct and we've diverted from that -- and what can we do to get Washington DC to function. Well one of the things that we can do. And usually is that we as individuals of one shares stacked in America. Every single person everybody -- and hear him walk on the street is what you care if I can America. One of the most important thing we do when the great privileges should we have. Is going to the polling Booth and voting for men and women -- offer themselves from public office. What a disgrace it is. For us to have ten or 15%. Of the electorate turn out for voting. It's absolutely disgraceful. I say that because in 19165. When I first ran from there I lost that race by 152. Votes. That'll give you an idea. How -- how important every vote it is. We need to fine young people who are interested to make that commitment. I must tell you -- all the things that are happening today on the national level and some on the state level. Young people a turning them back from the public life. They don't want the -- in the public scrutiny that goes with it because today there on those secrets. Well there are no secrets even if you're not in policy absolutely absolutely and and and I understand exactly what you're saying but also could possibly be. Because they're looking at what were all saying. As this just total dysfunction correct and say what can we accomplished people who are truly will meaning. Want to see. Progress. And nothing is happening. Nothing is happening then and we can that we can address that right and wrong fresh -- We have to quit Warren a month -- what the Democrats -- doing and what the Republicans. We need to worry about what the Americans and doing what in my us who's representing us. We have too many people. Concerned about the next election rather than an actual vote that they have to make. We have to continue to encourage and I'd do it on American weekly basis. We have to continue to ask young people. To become involved in politics. Then we have to support them when they announced there actions. That they wanna be involved in politics we have the album -- there. And then we have to help them after they in the and a right now it it's in younger blitzes Lou. Nobody's getting anything done in Washington I'm ashamed that you. And and it's amazing thing to -- people say -- -- served in the congress as in this sentiment in the congress more so. I've talked to many congressman who tell me they don't even know who the other congressman are. As so many people up today it take Hughes six weeks to get the microphone. To be able to express your opinion far against the bills. But we've got the take a farm hand is where our country. On how -- -- -- -- how -- we get that pendulum swinging back to. A sense of cooperation you can have your parties and that's okay. But and you have your differences correct -- you're not representing. The efforts that need to be made to keep this country going. And surely you can remember at one time new audience and Louisiana had one of the strongest congressional delegation in Washington. -- bugs on one side. -- along on the other side. Allen now in these -- and strong people. Who were able to provide leadership. In many cases we don't have that speaking about our representation. Today. We need to get back to that now they do that it is not an easy task. You've got them build another generation of people who interest and and what's best for Louisiana. What's best for the United States. That -- to mess from the west messed me you. Many times I've told people over and over again -- UN I can disagree with each other. Without being disagreeable. I can remember many years from the City Council. One of migrate to a man cause was Jim Morrison and you remember him me. Served from 1946. In 1961. As -- of our great city. And it champ was oppression who was able to convey his enthusiasm. His commitment his determination. To other people. I don't see a lot of that today. We need to see more of that well. And it also I would like to ask you. When you were in. What's it when you were lieutenant governor yet we see so much happening today whether it's in Washington or Baton Rouge. Where lobbyist yet our our -- and special interest are just taking over. Absolutely and that's one thing when I left public life one of the easiest things for me to have done -- going to be a lobbyist. They wanted to do that. It goes back to what we set a little while ago -- obvious to represented in his special interest groups and I understand that. But this too much power there there's too much power and a the other great problem that we have today is the cost the running elections. Absolutely prohibit him. And when you have to go out and beg borrow money to run for public office. It is it is just not right it it doesn't in the in the Rio. Independence that we are looking for yet I must tell you. That mother that milk is it is it is money is of note come on mother's politics and you've got to have it in order to do all the things. Tell you -- -- could. We do something like say there will only be a two month Election Day period you can't spend five cents for two months. People are running a year ahead. Sad times more than nine in their app and it never happened -- hate to use -- in government. I advocated that a long time ago that they would be a limit on campaign contributions. Are usually all these special -- -- -- them on the super pacs that support you get a different name in order raised money amid what is there about. What is that are all about. And he has put Johnny who says he I'd like to run for office but I can't compete with these fellas. Spend that kind of money and I see where people have. Three of 400000. Dollars that the campaign fund unless there is something wrong. I never had a penny left and mine now always go on people oh and did that after I got that mind. But my point is that. You've got to be able to get people who are willing to make a strong strong commitment to tell you it's a sacrifice. It is a sacrifice. Because you're losing time hanging in you're alive. I don't regret one single day that I spend public place I go in greater role. But a lot of my contemporaries. While I was men and I'm forty years in public -- they will move ahead in the business world. And moving up the -- And as a result of that you've got to understand that those -- the kind of commit that you guys have and that's what you guys sent fractured family for. A lot of family who are ready for that they aren't compared to make that kind of commitment. You know your I understand exactly which he sang about -- your contemporaries were building their businesses and doing things you or that but. One good thing when you finished that you made the commitment. Almond beach businessman now -- and start again centric guy and we're gonna talk about that in a second. But there is at least the perception. But today people go into politics to make a -- Yeah they do that you -- wrong perception that is a perception. And and it has Anatolia early of people have to -- in politics for three reasons power. Money. Self service center in the Chiming in people. And and you gotta get that that old system back again when I drew right now. This that a month go by is that I don't invite some high school group come in my office. And we get little piece of farmland surrounding -- the groups anywhere from thirtieth 35 people. And I talk about government and I talk about things that you and I are talking about right now. And I try to explain to them that if we want businessman. And we own one share of stock in gulf oil will be very concerned to see young Gooden gulf oil was doing. All of this own one share -- stack in this country so we ought to be equally concerned. About what this country's going. And when we see something wrong we honestly kind of -- is wrong. Now when people are afraid to do that they're afraid people criticize and the EU can't be concerned about criticism. Well but you also mentioned about the the lone run voting rate in the -- -- I think we're a little better here but. Other places not so good is because people become apathetic. Yes the air and when they read these stories about it. John Smith and bill Jones and they haven't paid every income tax only got all of this that the other thing. People say well they are all alike. Well unfortunately or fortunately. They all aren't -- like having said what I've said today on your program. Let me same very quickly. There are a lot of good dedicated men and women who -- serving at this very moment in public life my hat's off to them. As a matter of fact before I came over to be with you today I called a couple of public official examiner problem in the industry. And I think I can help them not for a fee for free. And -- in trying to get him to let him know I'm here to help you out. And I think that's the kind of thing that we've got to do we've got to reach out to whom we've got to put our hand out and say look. What are what are we need to do to help you get this done. As you go to comedians and that -- to go to a lot of meetings -- have listened to the same problems all over of people want to fire plug. In front of their house move when they won in the house next to them and don't element argued -- that. There's a million men that they don't care about them getting mad at me they don't want to get mad at them. But anyway be that it may well at least Evans said -- We still live in the greatest country and especially here. Yes we do an on that note we're gonna take a break go to the newsroom W back with -- Fitzmorris. We are talking with Jimmy Fitz Morrison had been on the new Orleans city council for years was -- lieutenant governor for eight years has been a mentor to so many people. Both in politics and in business and is our very special guest. Let -- sort of shift over to Baton Rouge and what's happening. How do you see today. What is happening up there. Well. It's it'd be critical of people but how are much Yemen those disappointed it and wake -- -- -- and -- legislature. I talked collateral legislative analyst. Who feel like that the governors that -- in -- in that way you share on them. -- there was some governors who -- mobile and that Edwin Edwards was one that was. Down and that's senate floor and down house floor. Particularly when it matters of important uses state came out he would be then -- council with them and call moments as -- and talked to him. Outlined a lot when I was president the senate about the importance of communicating with legislate -- Legislators are very important people. Man they come to Baton Rouge really once a month -- once -- yeah. But they're also come out there for a lot of meetings. They have got to have a feeling that they -- part of the team. I get the feeling from talking to these folks that they don't feel like as part of team. I don't think that's good have always believed in -- I believe if you gonna get anything done it's -- that what you want when I want it's what we want. What can we do yet. You know I've heard a lot because we've done any number of shows on various issues and a couple things I've heard a lot this time is one. There are fourteen lobbyist for this there's thirty lobbyist for that correct that is unsettling to you. Yeah the other thing is is older than not do that because they're afraid to when you mean you're afraid to. Well let's think about the next election. That's why you are afraid to if you weren't afraid to you do what's right you do it right. I'm always find that the most important thing in life regardless of whether there's political business is to do which you believe right. He if you do what you believe is right. You know I can make make a mistake a -- you'll make a little area here in that. When these young -- idea when he'll hog tired. I can remember many years ago -- Busey was probably one of the most powerful union men in the state of Louisiana. -- represented business. When I presided over the dissented. Every morning during this safe convict you she would walk in my office. He sit down when you have a cup of coffee yet and we talked. He'd say governor if you can help us and anyway we're appreciated. That Tony said it. Here I was a business though it would take months for some of the people from the chamber would come it out to me. That not that I prevented them from doing that. But he goes to show you the difference between a guy who understands. How to get things done and some who don't understand how to get things done. Lobbyist today and the freedom of the plays they run in Ireland it is is they do that they do the other thing. And I'm not condemning the lobbyists that that for the time being paid for. And being paid to go there and represent the interest. They are but they're also. Holes that are done on any given subject and I'm trying to think of one right now what they'll say. We polled people and 70% of the people or 78% of the people were for this. But they're listening to the lobbyist -- not listening to the 78% of the people who said this is what we want. Well it's the same way I was listening last night to. A program where 68%. Of the people -- believes that something was wrong. Now is 68%. Of the people believe something's wrong something is wrong. It would seem to me and then I would wanna know what is that something. And how -- we go by correcting that something. I don't know whether you had an opportunity to last night to see the the replay of the OJ Simpson trial at the very interest thing Mary interest then in an issue to bed and every American would have an attempt to concede that. And another thing that struck me so strongly. Angela over the weekend. Was Memorial Day what Memorial Day really years. It's not just a holiday for people to go out and odd dollars in -- The number of lives -- -- lost. And how I thought of these men -- army and enormity. When they were trying him. Get a that -- clip. And the number of young people who never -- -- alive today because they were killed. Killed defending our country. It makes you realize. Where our country's all about. We had some awfully brave people we've got to remember that win millions of young men. Who never saw the light today -- an -- that boat they instantly killed. They would then sacrifice and their lives of people like you and I. You know it's interesting you're talking about them my husband and I were talking about the Normandy yet over the weekend and -- -- the Higgins boats the ending craft. And I thought to myself because the first wave. Was almost obliterate actually -- -- of what was on the minds of those coming in the next wave who had seen. What has -- kids that's bravery. Yeah that is -- unbelievable parade and and you know -- if I if I hired K you view on million dissent. He sees those landing cramped come in and as soon as it hit the water. And gunfire was coming in those people wouldn't influence and lives and the other thing. That that. I see every night is when I see the boys to come home. From Afghanistan. Iraq. Terrible terrible physical conditions. And then we see the big struggle we have and in the veterans administration thank -- -- -- seems to me that that can be corrected right now. When that then allow that these people have given more than any of us in Yemen that's right and they need to be taking care of -- how we gonna do it I wanna know how he unit good. I like the fire in your eyes I wish everybody could see that. That's the correct. And I don't think we're alone in that thought I don't I don't think Wheeler is thank god I want everyone to stay with this were not done with Jimmy Fitzmorris I'm Angela under the W well. Our guest is Jimmy Fitz Morrison. Were just talking in the commercial about John. Attending Lindy Boggs funeral and and I remember clearly at that funeral the comments being. What a difference it would be if Washington DC today. Had Lindy Boggs who had such a sense of relationships. And you know yes we can we can differ but we have the common good. An issue saying public service the same could be said -- -- -- very much so and it's and that I'd live long enough to have experienced. How it can work here because of people like -- How lucky are -- but the issue is how do we. Not reverse that go back to better times to. If for in the in the future so that we can have a better functioning government we don't have this contentiousness. And we are a better country. And you know of them many schools and -- I don't mean to meet critical of this but they managed whose. Who don't them stress enough to people in their classes. How on government is so important. It tells us everything we have to do. It tells us how to walk the street it tells us how to drive a car. He tells us how to raise our children he tells us -- -- senators school he tells some other things so if that's that important. That is important for us to spend more time on. It would be old fashioned for -- thing combat the people would sit around and say well let's take a look at this list -- -- Ian Gold for. You'd be amazed and amounted to do it the number of people who will call me and say. Who do you think I should vote for him I'm very happy it is submit him when I think of the best candidates they should vote for. And I'm happy and you do that. But in my -- yourself. There's nobody sit around talking about what can we do to make it better match the program that you're talking about it how can we correct things. That are wrong. And the only way we -- corrected. Is my own personal leadership. And everybody has shown them on the ship unfortunately the issue for the good -- for the Bambi she got it both ways. But you've got to be there to understand what it's all about right in this and -- right now. I think that the city administration. Is in a wonderful position to take this city forward. I think the mentioned Andrew he's young enough and enthusiastic enough and you're capable enough. To be able provide the leadership that this that he needs now in so doing he's not -- please everybody. But you're not then it please everybody. Here then he -- the jammed done. On that note. About the city the biggest problem I think we face in the city is we don't have enough money. And now we have these two enormous consent -- -- we don't have enough police we don't have enough good lighting we don't have what it takes money. Correct and we have an electorate that descent were not Anderson paying more taxes. So what do we do. As he answered today and very simply. You want good government. -- do you want pretty good government. Has shorter -- used to say. Our long years to -- gonna give them previewing government. Kingdom -- in good government could cost too much. People have to understand. Angela. Menu can't have major improvements and if you have the fund institutional. The streets and not city everybody will agree on deplorable. And everybody says I want much -- -- so otherwise. I'm willing to pay I'm willing to pay you want to. Somebody interviewed me the other day about a program that we had many years ago when I was first elected to the council. With each person would -- so much money. Like if you -- -- -- felt it was three dollars and fifty cents wept put from emea house. If you wanted to pave it was nine dollars and fifty cents in Crimea house. I remember going door to door. On arm on boulevard to get to people who clothes dirty filthy and now that had been there two years and years and -- and we finally got a closed. But people willing -- put their money where their mouth was and willing to come up and say OK I know it needs to be done. I'm gonna put my my my share -- idea. Unfortunately. We have a lot of people today who won a lot of improvements. But don't wanna help pay the bill. We've got to settle this deal with the firemen exception seventeen million. We've got to ultimately that's on the deal with the present some ten million we've got his said the deal with the policemen. These are valuable. Push the pandas we depend on them forest. I think one of the toughest jobs -- government as a running in Paris prison it's easy to find fault -- with parish prison. People go to prison because of crimes they committed. And and we concerned about the fact that the condition is that went when he should be. This is that when it should be this is that when he should be we build their brand new building in isn't gonna satisfy everybody. But we have to learn that we have if you wanted better. Let's pay for. I hear what you're saying. And it but it is maddening it is -- man in so many positives going on right now and yet those things continue to reared their ugly heads. Those are huge bills were facing. Will get through them but it may be at the cost of what and we've done every neighborhoods of which are additional every single neighborhood has come on aboard a lot. But universally it's about where the street -- and where the streets. You know and Natalie that and -- we have a great hope at least I have a great hope. The new medical complex yes perhaps I go by -- has seen those great buildings. It's and I say to myself. Wearer of the qualified people coming from. To feel all those requirements. As an old -- about building they won't come that's true but you gotta find the right people to come. That could be another tremendous boost to this city. With the new VA VA hospital and with that the new LA issue complex and everything going on down there. If people Hammond men and two lane avenue canal street lately they ought to go by. I say we got the best people because we have huge and it's. And I thank you so much for being on the show I didn't imagine being in our community. We're gonna get him back to stay with everyone will be right back. Well again I won -- thing Jimmy Fitzmorris for giving us a whole hour of his life. A life so beautifully lived continues to live. We never even got to the second chapter which was. All about your business career that's every reason to be invited back and I hope you will come back thank you and you have. Two of the most spectacular granddaughters I have to tell you. And that apple of your rise and I know that you actually and with their great mother Lisa. Thank you Jimmy Fitzmorris we will have you back everyone stay with this will be on talking a completely different subject in the next hour. Scams. And there are out there stay with this on in -- on WWL.

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