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Remembering Congressman-elect Luke Letlow

Letlow died after being hospitalized with coronavirus
Published: Dec. 29, 2020 at 8:51 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 31, 2020 at 2:02 PM CST
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - UPDATE: Gov. Edwards has confirmed that the primary elections for Letlow’s 5th District Seat and Richmond’s 2nd District Seat will likely be combined and take place on the same day in March.

State Rep. Lance Harris is not saying whether or not he will run for the seat again in March. “It’s time for our state to mourn this loss,” he said.

Posted by KALB News Channel 5 on Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Louisiana Congressman-elect Luke Letlow died 10 days after being hospitalized at Ochsner LSU Health in Shreveport with COVID-19.

This information comes from a friend close to the family.

Letlow had won the 5th Congressional District seat with 62% of the vote in a Dec. 5 runoff against fellow Republican, state Rep. Lance Harris. He succeeds his former boss, Rep. Ralph Abraham, who didn’t seek reelection.

Sam Karlin, a political reporter for The Advocate, spoke with a doctor at Ochsner LSU Health about any underlying conditions that Letlow may have had and was informed that ultimately it was all COVID-19 related.

Gov. John Bel Edwards released the following statement following the announcement:

“It is with heavy hearts that Donna and I offer our condolences to Congressman-elect Luke Letlow’s family on his passing after a battle with COVID-19. Congressman-elect Letlow felt a calling from a young age to serve the people of his home state, working behind the scenes for former Governor Bobby Jindal and serving as chief of staff to Congressman Ralph Abraham, who he was recently elected to succeed. COVID-19 has taken Congressman-elect Letlow from us far too soon. I am heartbroken that he will not be able to serve our people as a U.S. Representative, but I am even more devastated for his loving family. I hope all of the people of Louisiana will join Donna and me in praying for Congressman-elect Letlow’s family, especially his wife Julia and their two children, his many friends, and the people of the 5th Congressional District. Louisiana has lost more than 7,300 people to COVID-19 since March, and each one of them leaves a tremendous hole in our state. I have ordered flags to be flown at half-staff on the day of Congressman-elect Letlow’s funeral.”

Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin released this statement:

“Our hearts are heavy for the loss of Congressman-Elect Luke Letlow, a man who dedicated his short life to the betterment of our state and nation. Our prayers are with his wife Julia, their children, and their families, and as a state, we mourn his passing.”

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy has released a video reaction to the passing of Letlow:

Senator John Kennedy released this statement on social media:

“Becky and I, along with my team who knew Congressman-elect Luke Letlow well, are heartbroken with the news of his passing. For years, Luke has served the people of Louisiana tirelessly. More than that, Luke was a loving husband to Julia and father to their children. Please join us in praying for the Letlow family during this time of incredible loss.”

Congressman Clay Higgins posted this to social media:

“Our prayers are with Luke’s wife and young children during this challenging time. May our Savior embrace them with his love. Luke will be remembered as a dedicated Patriot, public servant, and a loving husband and father. His dedication and love for Louisiana shall endure.”

LABI President and CEO Stephen Waguespack:

“Tonight, Louisiana lost a great man. A promising public servant, a loving husband and father, a Louisianan through and through. I want to extend my deepest condolences to his family and my most sincerest appreciation for having known him and called him a friend. Louisiana needs more men like Luke and I pray that his legacy will serve as a role model for others to follow in his footsteps.”

Attorney General Jeff Landry:

“Luke Letlow led an honorable life in public service to our State and our Nation. Luke was a true statesman committed to making Louisiana better. Luke’s death is a great tragedy, and Sharon’s and my prayers are with Julia and the kids.”

Former governor Bobby Jindal:

“Supriya and I are heartbroken to learn of Luke Letlow’s passing. Luke has been a good friend for so many years, and we are saddened he was taken from us at such a young age. We had talked in recent days about his excitement about the opportunity to serve the people of the 5th Congressional district, and his love and devotion for Julia and their kids. I first met Luke when he was still a college student, and spent countless hours with him in his truck driving the back roads of Louisiana. His passion for service has been a constant throughout his life. He truly enjoyed meeting people, learning about them, and helping them. We keep Luke, his family, and especially his young children in our prayers.”

Congressman Abraham reacts to passing of Luke Letlow

KNOE, our sister station in Monroe, was able to speak with Congressman Ralph Abraham about the passing of Congressman-elect Luke Letlow due to the coronavirus.

“Luke was a part of our family. We loved him. We’re going to miss him. He left behind a beautiful and young family. He loved America. He loved his God, and he loved his family. So those shoes just could never be filled.”

Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., released this statement on the passing of Congressman-elect Luke Letlow:

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Congressman-elect Luke Letlow from the rural community of Start, La. I worked with him on agricultural issues when he served under former Governor Bobby Jindal and as chief of staff for Congressman Ralph Abraham whom he was to succeed. I know that as a U.S. Representative for the 5th Congressional District, he would have served the people of Louisiana and our agricultural communities extremely well. Please pray for the Letlow family, especially his wife and two young children. Also, please pray for everyone suffering from this virus and the many families who have lost loved ones as a result.”

Mike Strain

Statement from House Speaker Clay Schexnayder:

“We were heartbroken to hear of the passing of Congressman-elect Luke Letlow Luke served as Congressman Abraham’s Chief of Staff before running and winning the election to represent Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District. He died on Tuesday after battling COVID-19, leaving behind his wife Julia and two very young children. As I sit here this morning thinking about the friend we lost way too soon, I am reminded of how we should take advantage of the time we have with the ones we love. It makes me think about what’s important in life. It’s so easy to say; I’ll be right back, hold on I’m busy, or even give daddy a minute. I’ll read you a book later. This pandemic is real and it’s taken too many of our loved ones. Too many husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, daughters and sons. Luke lived his life fully and loved his family and friends with all of his heart. Pray for his family today and hold yours close. We do not know how much time we are given and should take advantage of every second we have.”

Louisiana Farm Bureau President Jim Harper:

“Luke had a bright future ahead of him and was ready to carry the torch for agriculture as my representative in Congress,” Harper said. “Having grown up in Start, La., he never forgot his roots in farming. Luke worked hard for Louisiana’s farmers and ranchers as chief of staff for Congressman Ralph Abraham, often taking calls from Louisiana Farm Bureau volunteer leaders to learn firsthand the issues important to them. Debbie and I pray for his wife, Julia, their two young children, Luke’s parents and all who knew and loved him. This is truly a loss for all of us here in Louisiana.”

Two days after his passing, Letlow’s family released this statement to the public regarding his death:

“We are heartbroken to have lost Luke far too early, and with far too much promise, but we are immensely grateful for all that Luke achieved in a life defined by service to others and a steadfast commitment to making a real difference in this world. The incredible outpouring of support from across our community, state, and country is a testament to how many lives Luke impacted through his friendship, leadership and genuine goodness. Luke had a servant’s heart, and that was evident in every conversation he had, with people of every walk of life. Our family is so thankful for the outpouring of support we have received, and will work every day to honor his memory and the legacy he leaves behind.”

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