Graves says congressional run one of many options on table
When Garret Graves stood on a stage at the River Center on Dec. 17 with Gov. Bobby Jindal and a dozen other state, city and civic leaders to unveil plans for an ambitious coastal research park called the Water Campus, the chairman of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority had not yet made up his mind to leave the position he had held for six years—though he was leaning hard in that direction. By the third week of January, however, after spending time over the holidays with family, he had decided to move on.
"In a job like this, I don't think there is ever a time where the job is done," he says. "But I think now is a good time, based on where we are and what we have accomplished. Everything is on the right trajectory … there's a solid foundation and we have real project successes on the restoration and protection side."
While Graves says only that after six years of a high-profile, controversial and seven-day-a-week job he wants to leave on a positive note and take time to ponder his next move, the timing generated speculation about motives. Word is already rampant around the politics-obsessed state capital that he is mulling a run for the 6th Congressional District, and Graves doesn't deny that's a possibility.
"I have no idea at this point if I will run," he says. "But I have been approached about it over the past six months and, even more so recently, in the past few weeks."
Graves won't elaborate, but he is quick to dispel any notions that a disagreement with anyone within Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration led to Tuesday's seemingly abrupt announcement. He says he submitted his resignation letter to Jindal on Monday, Jan. 27, and that Jindal even asked him if he might reconsider.
"I am the last person in the administration who came to the governor's office on the first day that is still here," he says. "There is not even a hint of any reason that the decision was anything other than 100% mine."
As to what he might do besides possibly running for Congress, Graves says he has a list of at least 10 options he has been compiling over the past few years—and the list is growing. Since the announcement of his resignation less than 24 hours ago, he has already received two job offers. But he won't be making any decisions or announcements at least until after he leaves the CPRA on Monday, Feb. 17.
"I have a ton of stuff to do in the next two weeks to get myself out of this job and to a good clean break point, and the thought of doing anything else other than finishing up the works I have to do here is not on my mind right now," he says. "I have three young kids. I've got to be very careful about what my next decision will be, and I don't want to make it when I'm doing 10 other things."
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