St. John Parish playing part in upcoming presidential election

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Editor and Publisher

NEW ORLEANS – A St. John Parish attorney is beginning to play a big part in what might be a campaign to elect the next president of the United States.

Daniel Becnel Jr., the well-known class action attorney in St. John, has always been very involved in national politics.

A walk into his Reserve office shows Becnel having his picture taken with a multitude of past presidents such as Bill Clinton, George Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter and many other top national officials.

That is all because of Becnel’s involvement in the campaigns to raise money for these candidates, an interest he feels passionate about.

&#8220I have always wanted to be a part of our nation’s politics, especially on the top levels all the way to president. It’s important to me to try and get the person elected, who I believe is right to lead our country,” Becnel said.

That’s why Becnel was among three top businessmen who hosted a private party here in New Orleans last week for one of the new leading Democratic candidates for president in the 2008 race.

Held at the home of Joseph Bruno, a prominent New Orleans attorney, Becnel was in the center of the action as John Edwards came to town for the event, meeting approximately 50 businessmen and women, who all came out for one reason-to meet the highly rated Democratic candidate, and of course, to write a check to the campaign.

With the announcement last week that John Kerry will not run for president, Edwards is now considered among the top three candidates for the Democratic nomination, along with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Edwards had his picture taken with virtually everyone at the party, and then stood in the living room in front of the fireplace to address the crowd, with Becnel at the front of the crowd with him.

&#8220The next presidential election will be about which candidate will provide the American people a good and decent human being to lead them,” Edwards said. &#8220The real power of the presidency is in the American people, and especially if they have a leader they trust and see as a moral person. The people in our country, and throughout the world, are watching to see if the U.S. president will behave in a way that shows he cares about the world. That is something I will bring to the office.”

Edwards said the American people are looking for a president who is not on an ego trip, but is ready to serve in his position.

&#8220The president can’t do this alone,” he added. &#8220He needs to tap into the goodness of the people. The president has to be someone who can speak to the world in the first 100 days, and show that we care. Bill Clinton did it, I have to even say that Ronald Reagan did it, and so did George Bush Sr. But I don’t think we have seen that with our current president.”

Due to campaign finance laws, the largest check that could be written by any individual at the event was $2,300, but Becnel said he has already helped raise $350,000 for Edwards campaign just in recent days through various fundraisers.

&#8220This could be the next president of the United States,” Becnel said. &#8220With Kerry stepping aside, I think John Edwards is the type of candidate that can win this election.”