August 3, 2009 Press Conference

(Held Monday, Aug 3, 2009, 11:00am at the New Orleans Dog Levy)

Tuesday, Aug 4, 2009 For Immediate Release

Good morning. On this day, I, Hank, take a significant step forward for the great city of New Orleans. As a lifelong native of this city, I have walked its historic streets, played in its beautiful parks such as the one we are in today, enjoyed the good times of Mardi Gras and our city's other celebrations, and I have suffered together with my fellow citizens during the horrors of Katrina and its aftermath.

Four years after that dark chapter in New Orleans' history, our recovery is far from complete. Together with all of you I have watched bad decisions, ineptitude, and a continued inefficient response from all levels of government impede the ability and efforts of New Orleanians both to return and to re-establish their lives here.

I can no longer sit on the sidelines as career politicians and feckless bureaucrats treat this city's recovery efforts as just another government program they can use to maintain the status quo and line their pockets. When I am elected as the first Canine-American Mayor of New Orleans, I will un-leash new efforts to speed up this city's recovery, bark at officials at all levels of government to get on the ball and de-double their efforts, and chase out corruption from City Hall.

Among the most important issues my administration will address are, first, a right of return for all dogs who, four years after Katrina, are still unable to come home. My administration will ensure that every dog who wants to live New Orleans, can live in New Orleans.

Secondly, I will inaugurate the first Greenie®-assistance program in the nation for my fellow canine-citizens whose human companions lack the means to provide such a basic necessity themselves. No dog in New Orleans should go to sleep at night without his or her Greenie®, and under a Hank administration, no dog in New Orleans will.

Third, I will mandate that our police department strictly enforce our city's leash laws, and I will work with our city council to increase the penalties for all leash law offenders.

Fourth, to help encourage the growth of our city's economy in the face of both our recovery and our country's economic turmoil, I will create a tax credit program for new businesses in order to incentivize increased economic activity. Just as our state tax credit program has worked well in drawing increased activity from the national film industry in productions in Louisiana, a city tax credit program will draw new business interests both from around the country, and from our own citizens.

And, finally, when elected Mayor, I will have demonstrated to the country, and the world, that a pro-human bias be will no longer be acceptable here as I, Hank, become dog first dog mayor of New Orleans! Yes, we CAN-ine! Thank you.

I will now take questions. Uhhh, Angela - let's start with you.

Angela Hill, WWL-TV: What did you mean by a right of return for all dogs. How could you guarantee such a right?

Hank: Under my administration, no dog will be left behind. I will have the city attorney's office create a new unit to assist our human friends in retrieving their canine companions out of the tangled bureaucracies of animal shelters and foster care around the country. Any dog that wants to return, will return; this city will be Chocolate Lab again!

Jarvis DeBerry, Times-Picayune: You mentioned a "continued ineffective response from all levels of government". How would a Hank administration improve the relationship the city has with the state and federal governments?

Hank: I have already gathered together on my staff a team of experts in working liaison with both our state and federal legislative representatives. Under my administration, this team will work both to continue existing recovery programs and to implement new and more effective methods to accelerate our city's recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

Norm Robinson, WDSU-TV: Why the emphasis on the city's leash laws? And what would your administration do to improve the enforcement of leash laws? And doesn't this conflict with your previously-stated support of dog parks in our city?

Hank: Though I myself have suffered because of a human's negligence in not exerting appropriate leash-control of their dog, this issue is beyond personal: people who do not keep their dog properly under control put themselves, their dog, and their fellow citizens at risk. As mayor, I will work to make leash-law infringement a class A misdemeanor and instruct the police department to enforce this law for even first offenses: no more "one free bite".

As far as dog parks, I do not see a conflict in my position. Responsible human companions who let their well-behaving dogs enjoy leash-free recreation in designated dog-parks are the best friends a dog can have. But people must be sure their dogs respect the right of other dogs to run free and unimpeded in these dog parks, but dogs should not be allowed to run free on our city's crowded streets and sidewalks.

Norm Robinson: Hank, a follow-up, please - you mentioned suffering because of inappropriate leash-control, could you tell us what happened?

Hank: This campaign is not about me, Norm, and stories about irresponsible humans not maintaining proper control of their dogs on the streets of this and other cities are far too common. I will just say that, obviously, because I am able to stand here before you today, my ... incident, I guess you could call it, was not as tragic as some. Next question, please.

John Maginnis, LaPolitics.Com: What do you think of the grass-roots effort to draft Brad Pitt to run for Mayor?

Hank: While I respect all that Mr. Pitt has done for our city after Hurricane Katrina - and as mayor I will make sure that my administration does everything it can to support the efforts of his Make it Right Foundation - this is not the place, and certainly not the time, for celebrity dilettantes to try their hand at politics. Plus, I believe there are serious problems with his eligibility to run: Brad isn't even a full-time resident of the city, but I am a native of New Orleans.

John Maginnis: But, Hank - what about questions about your own, some would say serious questions, about your own eligibility. I mean, come on - you're a dog?

Hank: The legal advisors on my campaign staff have looked at this issue. The relevant sections of the city code only address the eligibility of "candidates" - for example, a "candidate" must have been a resident of New Orleans for five years, a "candidate" must make the proper filings by the required date, etc., etc. Nowhere does the cite code define who may BE a candidate. So my candidacy is as legitimate as any other announced candidacy.

James Gill, Times-Picayune: What will you do about education and our city's school system?

Hank: All our city's children deserve a solid education to make them better citizens of New Orleans, of this state and country, and of the world in the twenty-first century. Plus, I believe that all children in New Orleans should be provided with an ample supply of Greenie® Brand dog treats, and that they should have several Greenies® in their bookbags at all times while walking to and from school, so that they can offer one to myself and my fellow canine citizens of New Orleans should they encounter us on while our human attendants are walking us, and they should also be instructed on how to gently scratch us behind the ears as we eat these delicious Greenie® treats after they have given us one.

Thank you, and remember, you can learn more about my campaign on-line at HankDog.Com.