[Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect new information regarding state law and domicile requirements for political candidates.]
The speculation is partly true: Republican state Rep. Simone Champagne did purchase a home in Youngsville and won’t seek re-election for her District 49 seat in 2015, but whether she’ll be throwing her name in the hat for next year’s Lafayette Parish School Board election remains to be seen.
“We did buy a second home in the Youngsville area, but we still have our home in Jeanerette,” Champagne tells The IND. “My husband is approaching retirement in the next two years, and we always said we’d move to where we are centrally located for our five children. We had an opportunity to buy in the Youngsville area, and we went for it.”
With her House term expiring in 2015, Champagne says she will not seek re-election, but that doesn’t mean her career in politics is over.
After hearing rumors she was eyeing a run next year for Lafayette Parish School Board member Rae Trahan’s District 9 seat, we asked Champagne to clear the air. “I don’t know what opportunities are out there for me just yet," Champagne says. "But I will tell you I’ve been listening and paying attention to what’s going on with [the school board], and like I tell people, never say never. We’ll see what happens.”
In the meantime, Champagne says she plans to keep focused on supporting the coastal efforts affecting her District 49, which stretches from the southern portion of Iberia Parish to the eastern half of Vermilion Parish.
Champagne's window of opportunity may be slim, however, as Louisiana RS 17:52 requires one year of residency within the parish by the qualification deadline for school board candidates. That means Champagne would have to vacate her House seat and declare Lafayette her primary domicile by August 22 in order to be eligible for next year's school board election.