Lance Harris Gets House GOP Delegation Chairmanship

Rep. Lance Harris (R-Alexandria), who earned our endorsement last week, won the vote among the state’s Republican House delegation for its chairmanship today.

“I am honored to serve as chairman of the House Republican Legislative Delegation,” Harris said. “As I always have, I will work to obtain economic prosperity, while upholding conservative values. We have a strong delegation of members, and we are ready to face the hard work ahead of us.”

Harris takes control of the delegation when Rep. Tony Ligi, its current chair, leaves to take a new job as the executive director of the Jefferson Business Council. Ligi’s departure date isn’t set yet; he wants to stick around and insure Jefferson Parish doesn’t get hit by budget cuts in next year’s session (whatever that’s supposed to mean).

Harris’ election was unanimous. Rep. Nick Lorusso, who had been mentioned as the other finalist for the delegation chair, is rumored to be leaving the legislature as well. The latter, who beat controversial Rep. John Labruzzo in a battle of incumbents for a newly-redistricted seat last year, reportedly has a job waiting as the head of Louisiana’s Department of Veterans’ Affairs. He’s an Army veteran.

Lorusso’s move, if the grapevine is accurate, would produce two items of noteworthy comment. First, it brings to mind a rather interesting confrontation on the House floor in last year’s session when freshman Democrat Rep. Stephen Ortego made the unwise choice to characterize veterans as bums and lunatics during debate of a bill by Lorusso to offer in-state tuition to military veterans at Louisiana public colleges…

Second is the matter of Labruzzo, who since the 2011 election has moved to Central. Labruzzo’s new district, it turns out, is going to have a new representative at the Legislature since Cliff Richardson resigned, and he can’t run because he didn’t move in time to satisfy the residency requirement for the special election set for March. Baton Rouge Metro Councilman Scott Wilson and businessman Barry Ivey, both Republicans, appear to be the main candidates for that seat.

But since Labruzzo has moved to Central, he can’t run for the seat he lost to Lorusso.

If there’s a politician in Louisiana who’s kicking himself today, it’s John Labruzzo. Guy can’t catch a break.

Then again, if Labruzzo runs for Wilson’s seat on the Metro Council, we might see a show well worth the price of admission every Wednesday.

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