Jeremy Alford

Acadiana delegation holds elections

by Jeremy Alford

Despite invoking images of Evangeline’s oak, Lafayette’s blue dogs and the muddy waters of the Atchafalaya Basin, the Acadiana legislative delegation has been slowly expanding its ranks in to include lawmakers from more easterly locales. For instance, Sen. Reggie Dupre of Terrebonne Parish was appointed to the delegation’s executive committee this week and Rep. Regina Ashford Barrow of Baton Rouge was elected secretary-treasurer. Both are Democrats.

The Acadiana Delegation, as defined by the Louisiana Legislature, is made up of 22 parishes, many found in the eastern and central part of the state. But the so-called “Cajun Heartland” has only eight parishes, according to popular opinion: Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary and Vermilion. As a result, many divides in the delegation have long been over turf, as detailed in The Independent Weekly’s current cover story .

The delegation was formed in 1979 and is composed today of 34 representatives and 13 senators. At its election meeting last week, the Acadiana delegation also selected Rep. Jonathan Perry, a Republican from Abbeville, as chairman.

Perry says officers have pledged to work together — and with state agencies and local governing authorities — to achieve quality representation for Acadiana. “Working together helps us to promote our area and improve the conditions and objectives we share,” Perry says. “As a group we command more attention and a stronger voice in deliberations on the House floor than we would individually. This makes us more effective as legislators and enables us to do a better job for our constituents.”

Rep. Simone Champagne Jeanerette was also elected vice-chair of the group, while Sen. Mike Michot of Lafayette was appointed to the executive committee, alongside Reps. Bobby Badon of Carencro, Elbert Guillory of Opelousas, Chuck Kleckley of Lake Charles and Karen St. Germain of Pierre Part.