State Rep. Don Trahan is resigning from the Legislature, effective tomorrow, to immediately begin working in a newly created position with the Louisiana Department of Education. Trahan will be director of external relations, tasked with public affairs and outreach with local governments, chambers of commerce, and businesses and nonprofit organizations involved in state education issues.  As first reported on The INDsider, Trahan, chair of the House Education Committee, was recently approached by the Department of Education. "I'll act as a liaison between them and the department," Trahan says, "promoting the department's initiatives, wherever they may be. It's a statewide job." In the new role, he may also be involved in assisting DOE's legislative liaison, Joe Salter. Trahan has already spoken with Speaker of the House Jim Tucker, who wants to move quickly in calling a special election to fill the District 31 seat. "They asked me to make a decision as quickly as I could so that's why I'm starting tomorrow," Trahan says.

Press release from DOE:

Today, Louisiana Department of Education officials announced that Representative Don Trahan will join the Department effective October 1, 2008. The Lafayette legislator has resigned from his role in the House of Representatives to work full-time for the Department in the area of external affairs. As a former teacher and chair of the House Education Committee this year, he will focus on strengthening the Department’s relationships with business leaders and public interest groups statewide.  

“Don’s background in both education and government make him a valuable addition to our team,” said State Superintendent Paul Pastorek. “We must build better and stronger connections with the business community as we move forward with preparing our students to be college and career ready. We must also improve our communication and strengthen our relationships with local and statewide public interest groups. I believe that Don is uniquely qualified to help us deliver our message across the state through a grassroots outreach. He has been a long-time supporter and advocate for public education reform, and as we work to create a world-class education system in Louisiana, we are pleased that he has decided to devote his talent and energy to us full-time.”

Trahan was elected to the Louisiana Legislature in 2003, representing District 31, which spans from south of Lafayette to Vermillion Parish. His experience in local and state government spans more than three decades, including serving as interim chief administrative officer, director of planning, zoning and codes, and director of community development for the city of Lafayette. Trahan also served as assistant to Public Service Commissioner Jimmy Field from 1996 to 2001 and as an aide to the late Cecil Picard in the 1970s.
 Trahan’s statement:
It is with a great deal of mixed feelings that I announce my resignation as State Representative from District 31 to take a position serving this state at the State Department of Education. I have thoroughly enjoyed serving the wonderful people of my district as their representative, and have especially enjoyed the opportunity to serve as Chairman of the House Education Committee. It was in that capacity that I realized my passion is to serve the students, parents, and education community in our state. With my background and experience in education I believe my talents can best be utilized if 100% of my efforts are put towards improving public education in our state.

I have spoken with the Speaker, and we both feel that to expeditiously elect someone as the new representative for the upcoming legislative session, I will begin working for the Department of Education as of October 1st. The Legislative Office will remain open until a new state representative is named ensuring continuation of constituent services.

Last, but not least, I am eternally thankful for all who sent me to Baton Rouge to serve you as your state representative. I am thankful for the opportunity that I can now serve not only my district but the entire state for the future of education.

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