Effort to elect a GOP-backed La. House Speaker

The lawmaker leading the effort to unify support around one Republican to be elected House Speaker is State Rep. Mike Johnson (R-Pineville).
Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 7:30 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 21, 2023 at 10:30 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Even with Election Day still a little less than one month away, some state lawmakers are already planning for the next legislative term.

If you follow your local state representative on social media, and they happen to be a Republican, you may be seeing posts where they “signed the pledge” and are “committed to moving the state forward under the leadership of a Speaker of the House backed by a united Louisiana Republican Legislative Delegation.” The lawmaker leading the effort to unify support around one Republican to be elected House Speaker is State Rep. Mike Johnson (R-Pineville).

“I’m trying to make sure we as a Republican party are not divided and the way to do that is to get pledges from our Republican members to agree that we should support one candidate and that candidate will have the votes from the Republicans to be elected, and then he can move forward in leadership with the full support of the Republicans. Then I hope he will get the full support of the Democrats also,” said Johnson.

The House Speaker wields an immense amount of power. From committee appointments to which bills are heard, the Speaker can steer the path of the legislature over the next four years.

“To try to do the things to change the direction of the State of Louisiana, this is our opportunity,” said Johnson.

Who that Republican could be has yet to be determined, but at least eight people are rumored or confirmed to be seeking the role. That includes two from Central Louisiana, State Rep. Jack McFarland (R-Winnfield), who was re-elected unopposed, and Daryl Deshotel (R-Marksville), who still faces a challenge for election from Democrat Ramondo Ramos.

“I’m not going to get into endorsing or pushing for one candidate. But those are two very good people, very good friends, very good legislators,” explained Johnson.

Deshotel has already publicly pledged his support for Johnson’s effort, even if the Republican they choose is not him.

The last speaker from Central Louisiana was Charlie DeWitt from Rapides Parish 20 years ago.

“We were not overlooked in Central Louisiana when it came to projects, to LSUA, to the hurricane center, to roads, and there’s no question that that would be the case,” said Johnson.

House Republicans will need 53 votes to elect a Speaker.

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