State Senator Gerald Boudreaux said he is disappointed, but not surprised by Louisiana House Speaker Clay Schexnayder's decision last week to remove Representative Vincent Pierre from his position as Chair of the House Transportation Committee.
Pierre was one of two Democrats removed from leadership positions by Schexnayder; the other was Rep. Chad Brown from Plaquemine, chair of the House Insurance Committee. The chairs were expected to be replaced with Republicans this week, putting GOP lawmakers in charge of 13 regular subject-matter committees, The Associated Press reports. Democrats will retain three.
Schexnayder also removed no-party Rep. Daryl Adams from his seat on the House Appropriations Committee and Democratic Rep. Travis Johnson from his Transportation Committee seat.
All four were among the 30 lawmakers who voted against Schexnayder in the recent veto override session that failed after Republicans couldn't get enough Democrats or independents to support overturning Gov. John Bel Edwards' bill vetoes.
“Those members have been removed from committees and chairs,” Schexnayder said in his statement.
Boudreaux said of the decision:
"While I am disappointed, I am not surprised by the recent decision to remove Rep. Pierre as the Chairman of the House Transportation Committee. Titles and positions are temporary and that is why we measure the effectiveness of our elected officials by their commitment to service. I submit to the residents in House District 24 that Rep Pierre has and will continue to demonstrate the commitment to service that he has displayed since being elected in 2012. The same leadership that allowed him to be selected by his peers to serve as the Chairman of the Acadiana Caucus from 2015- 2017. Senate District 24 encompasses several House Districts and I will work collaboratively with Rep. Pierre to ensure that the constituents of House District 24 continue to receive and have access to all state resources with or without any titles or positions. As Governor Edwards recently said, 'You cannot take politics out of politics.' This is not the first time a committee chairperson has been replaced in the middle of a term and it will not be the last time this action is taken. We recognize the fact that the appointing authority (Speaker of the House) is the final arbitrator on committee assignments. We acknowledge being selected as a committee chairman is notable, but more importantly, displaying the commitment to service on behalf of the people you represent is honorable."
Three of the lawmakers — Adams, Brown and Johnson — voted for a measure to ban transgender girls from participating in school sports but refused to support the veto override effort. The legislation was the driving force behind the veto session. Johnson was a co-sponsor of the bill, but still wouldn’t back reversing Edwards.
Schexnayder didn’t comment on his decisions beyond confirming them. Some Republicans, including state GOP Chairman Louis Gurvich, had publicly called on Schexnayder to remove Democrats from their leadership jobs.
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