Jeremy Alford

Bumping Trahan: A lesson in political infrastructure

by Jeremy Alford

If you don’t believe there’s a constant flow of petty jockeying going down at the State Capitol when the Legislature is in session, then there’s probably a piece of oceanfront property with your name on it in Shreveport. Lafayette Rep. Don Trahan, the Republican chairman of the House Education Committee, confirmed as much Thursday during an otherwise mundane hearing.

His feathers were noticeably ruffled during a debate over a resolution that would request a reconfiguration of funding for Louisiana’s community and technical colleges. The change is needed due to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s workforce development plan, which places community and technical colleges on the frontlines of training Louisiana’s emerging labor market.

“No one has been behind this push longer than I have,” Trahan said in one of a few high-handed mini-speeches he gave during the hearing. Before the bill could be properly introduced, Trahan commandeered the microphone (among the many perks afforded to him as chairman) and explained how he was the true catalyst behind House Concurrent Resolution 65, “even though I was bumped down to a co-author,” he added.

So who knocked Trahan off the top of the resolution and stole his glory? It was none other than GOP House Speaker Jim Tucker of Terrytown who wiggled his way to authorship (undoubtedly one of the many perks afforded to him as the elected leader of the lower chamber).

Even without Trahan’s name atop, the resolution was advanced by the committee without opposition. It heads next to the full House for further debate, where the Lafayette representative will have another opportunity to air his grievances — this time under the glare of Tucker, who appointed him chairman.