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House picks should calm GOP, regional, reform concerns

As noted in the last posting, Republican reformers and north Louisiana legislators seemed perturbed that the new Louisiana Senate committee leader lineup lacked their legislators. Their complaints might have been oversold, and when viewing House leadership selections, that should bring reassurance to these worriers.

Of the 16 House committees, half are lead by GOP affiliates and another by a Republican-leaning independent, a minor overrepresentation of Republicans. North Louisiana also got about its share of panel chiefs with four, or 25 percent where north Louisiana’s population is about 27 percent of the state’s.

One significant appointment of expected incoming Republican Speaker Jim Tucker was that of Democrat Rick Gallot, who is black, to lead House and Governmental Affairs. This committee will be in charge of redistricting and fuels speculation that the new 2012 district lines for the U.S. House of Representatives will end up creating five majority-Republican-voting districts and one plurality-black (Democrat) district, ending what now is the 3rd District held by Democrat U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon. Population changes will force the state to lose a seat which almost assuredly would be the 2nd (majority black now) or 3rd, and a combination of Republicans and blacks in each chamber constitute a majority. With state Sen. Bob Kostelka in charge of the Senate and Government Affairs Committee, if this is the plan it is one step closer to reality.

So when combining the results of the chambers’ leadership selections, reformers and/or Republicans and anybody concerned about regional representation ought not be very disappointed at how things appear they will turn out.

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