January 14, 2008


by Sheila McCant, Public Information Officer
The House of Representatives convened its organizational session today at 10 a.m. with state Rep. Wayne Waddell, the most senior member of the body, presiding. After opening preliminaries and the judging of qualifications and elections, the 104 members took the oath of office and elected officers for the 2008-2012 term.

The first order of business following the administration of the oath of office, was the election of the clerk of the House. Alfred "Butch" Speer was nominated by Rep. Michael Jackson of Baton Rouge. The nomination was seconded by Rep. Kay Katz of Monroe. There being no other nominees for the office, Speer was deemed elected. His oath was administered by Major General Hunt Downer, former Speaker of the House.

Following the clerk's oath, Rep. Jane Smith of Bossier nominated Jim Tucker for the position of speaker of the House. The nomination was seconded by Rep. Cedric Richmond and Rep. Jeff Arnold both from New Orleans. There were no other nominees and Tucker was declared elected the 66th Speaker of the House and the first Republican speaker since Reconstruction. Former state Rep. and Judge Steve Windhorst administered the oath to Tucker.

The gavel was passed to Tucker by Waddell and he began his duties as speaker presiding over the next order of business, the election of the speaker pro tempore.

State Rep. Karen Carter Peterson was nominated by Rep. J. P. Morrell for this position. Her nomination was seconded by Rep. Don Trahan and Rep. Avon Honey. Peterson was elected without opposition. She is the 10th speaker pro tempore of the House. Her oath was administered by her father, Kenneth M. Carter.

At the conclusion of her speech, Speaker Tucker announced appointments to the House & Governmental Affairs Committee, and that the committee would meet at 10:00 am Tuesday to consider rules changes affecting House committees. Tucker explained to the membership these changes would be debated by the House on Tuesday afternoon and will allow him to finalize his appointments to all committees, including House & Governmental Affairs. The appointments made today include Rick Gallot, Chair; Mert Smiley, Vice Chair; and Reps. Barras, Connick, Cromer, Danahay, Ellington, Henry, Girod Jackson, Ligi, Carter Peterson, Pugh, Richard, and Jane Samith.

Rep. Don Trahan then moved that the House adjourn until Tuesday in order to attend the inauguration ceremonies of the Governor and the statewide elected officials on the front steps of the capitol.

A 19 canon salute and posting of the colors opened the ceremony. Mrs. Mickey Mangham performed the National Anthem with Army Sergeant Mike McNaughton leading the Pledge of Allegiance. Dr. Fred Lowery delivered the invocation. Commissioner of Agriculture Mike Strain, Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon, Treasurer John Kennedy, Attorney General James "Buddy" Caldwell, and Secretary of State Jay Dardenne were administered the oath of office. Immediately following, the lieutenant governor was introduced, took the oath of office and delivered remarks . Governor Jindal, who was introduced by Congressman Jim McCrery, then received the oath of office and gave his inaugural address.

The ceremony concluded with a benediction by Pastor Jerry Dean, the singing of "God Bless America" by Deacon John and a military F-15 flyover and the retiring of the colors.

Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Pascal Calogero administered the oath of office to all statewide elected officials. Pre-ceremony activities included music by the West Monroe High School Band, Livingston Parish Chorale, L'Angelus, David St. Romain, and the 156th Army Band. The Master of Ceremonies was Tim Brando.

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