Jan. 3, 2017 06:00 PM
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.
State Rep. Jack Montoucet

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 says.

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.
Jay Suire
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.

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