Cabinet change follows push by recreational lobby

After a year of fighting the former wildlife and fisheries secretary on a number of fronts, recreational interests are hopeful for 2017 as state Rep. Jack Montoucet of Crowley takes over the top hunting and fishing regulatory job in Louisiana.

Montoucet, an alligator farmer by trade and a former fire chief, replaces Charlie Melancon, who was forced out of the secretary position after getting crossways on red snapper management issues with the Edwards Administration, Congressman Garret Graves, the Louisiana chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association and others.

Melancon had also made a big issue out of past fiscal management practices at the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which is something Montoucet has said he will zero in on.

“I understand the seriousness of the issues raised by a recent audit, and the governor and I are committed to making the necessary reforms to this agency,” Montoucet said.Gov. John Bel Edwards has the authority to appoint the secretary, and he served in the House of Representatives alongside Montoucet.

For recreational interests, who complained that Melancon was taking the side of commercial fishermen on matters like red snapper management, there’s a growing optimism about a more even-handed political approach from Montoucet — a commercial harvester of alligators.

Right now Patrick Banks, assistant secretary of the Office of Fisheries, is serving as the interim-secretary.Montoucet will officially take over on Jan. 16 and his seat in House District 42 will become vacant, requiring a special election.

In that House race, Jay Suire, a Republican attorney with the Glenn Armentor Law Corporation, has announced he will be running.

The Acadiana House seat, held during the last three terms by Montoucet, a Democrat, has long been targeted by the Louisiana Republican Party.Emerson gig temporaryFreshman Rep. Julie Emerson, R-Carencro, has been spending time in Washington, D.C., while leading the transition for Congressman-elect Clay Higgins, who will in January begin representing the 3rd Congressional District.

Politicos, though, probably shouldn’t hope for a special election in the state House.

Emerson said recently via text that there’s “no chance of resigning or anything of that nature.”3rd Circuit race shiftsThe open seat on the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal being vacated by state Supreme Court Justice-elect Jimmy Genovese is starting to shape up — beginning with a quick exit from Judge John Trahan, who was expected to run.

The field now has two new maybe-candidates, including former Judge Susan Theall and assistant district attorney Roger Hamilton Jr.

Already announced with a campaign staff is Candyce Perret, a Lafayette attorney and small business owner.

But the most interesting twist in this developing race comes courtesy of state Sen. Jonathan Perry, R-Abbeville, whose name was included in a recent telephone poll.

Perry said he was not involved in the poll, although he is being encouraged to consider the race.

“Which is always very humbling,” he added, “but I’m not seeking that vacant seat. I’m happy to continue my representation of Senate District 26.”Political History: Louisiana’s missing electoral votesIn President-elect Donald Trump we finally found out who would get Louisiana’s eight electoral votes — not that the November election left much of a mystery in its wake. But did you know there were actually two years from Louisiana’s colorful political past where there no presidential candidates receiving the state’s electoral votes?

In 1864, when Louisiana left the Union during the Civil War, the state didn’t even participate in the presidential election. Ten other states offered up zero electoral votes as well. But in the end, Abraham Lincoln was still re-elected president by a very healthy margin.

And then in 1872, Louisiana’s electoral votes were actually rejected by the federal government due to irregularities. As such, the state’s votes were not included in the final electoral tally, although the state did technically support incumbent President Ulysses S. Grant, who went on to win re-election.

The disorder came largely from the election for governor that year and related accusations of votes being fabricated.

Voters, in response, turned violent, thus prompting the federal government to get involved.


About Jeremy Alford 227 Articles
Jeremy Alford is an independent journalist and the co-author of LONG SHOT, which recounts Louisiana's 2015 race for governor. His bylines appear regularly in The New York Times and he has served as an on-camera analyst for CNN, FOX News, MSNBC and C-SPAN.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply