Lafayette's Gerald Boudreaux has been selected to lead the Louisiana Senate's Democratic Caucus.
Boudreaux, D-Lafayette, replaces Troy Carter, who recently was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Carter said Boudreaux was selected as his replacement because of his "lifelong career in public service and steadfast dedication to the betterment of the Louisiana Democratic Party."
We caught up with Boudreaux today, and he said he was honored by the selection.
"I think my mission is to bring some unity, and continue to work collaboratively with all members of the Senate, be they Democrats or Republicans, because at the end of the day, we cannot get anything done without the work across party lines," Boudreaux said. He said the key is to "continue dialogue. We respect the views of others, and give others the opportunity to understand our position."
Boudreaux said he plans to concentrate on engagement, initially.
"We're going to have to be a little more inclusive. We're going to have to reach out. After this session, we'll try to do more community dialogue so we can keep the community engaged in this process. I think this is one of the most important things, when you represent people, is to have a true understanding of what there needs are, and what is needed to accomplish our goals," he said.
Over the past year or so, there have been some big changes in the party, in terms of executive staff and leadership. Boudreaux says he hopes to make sure those changes bring positives for the people and the party.
"Change is not necessarily bad. Sometimes change comes from a lot of different factors and and for a lot of reasons. We'll take advantage of those changes and continue to build on them," he said. "I think the main thing is to be inclusive, to not exclude anyone. And to establish our principles and values and get people to rally around those as we work on legislation, opportunities and programs and projects."
Acadiana will benefit from his taking on this additional job, Boudreaux said.
"I think it's a great opportunity for Southwest Louisiana to have another seat at another table. Every time we can be represented in any type of fashion I think it's positive and it allows us to speak on behalf of Southwest Louisiana and Acadiana," he said. "To network, to be a part of the process, as things move forward. With the American Recovery Act, all the stimulus dollars, there's an opportunity for Acadiana to be on the forefront of those discussions, whether it's capital outlay, infrastructure, getting our economy back up and running, we'll have a seat at that table where those discussions are held."
Boudreaux said that benefit won't be limited to Democrats.
"While the post is considered a Democratic caucus position, we're going to work hard to make sure we represent all the people, regardless if they're democrat or republican. We're going to talk to our colleagues to make sure they understand where we're coming from, and how together we can get so much done if we drop some of these partisan politics and meet in the middle and take care of all of our constituents," he said.