If you supported Lafayette state Rep. Joel Robideaux for speaker pro tem last week, you're likely sitting pretty. If you said you would and didn't, voting instead for Winnsboro Democratic State Rep. Noble Ellington, you may have felt the wrath of Speaker of the House Jim Tucker Wednesday.

The first-ever election of an independent lawmaker to speaker pro tem was equally historic for Lafayette's clout, considering Republican state Sen. Mike Michot's post as Senate finance chair. And yesterday it only got better. First-term Republican state Rep. Nancy Landry was named to the House and Governmental Affairs Committee, which will have its hands full for the next year and a half. "It's the committee that will doing the important work on redistricting and reapportionment," Landry tells The INDsider. "Our area has had substantial population growth. When the new census figures come out, I think we're going to get a new House seat."

Landry says when she was elected in 2008, governmental affairs was her first request."Of course, being a new representative, I didn't get my choice," she says. Instead, Landry was named to the Natural Resources Committee, a good alternative, especially considering the importance of the oil and gas industry to Acadiana.

Landry joins state Rep. Taylor Barras, D-New Iberia, on the House and Governmental Affairs Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Rick Gallot, D-Ruston. Robideaux had the overwhelming support of the Acadiana delegation, winning the speaker pro tem post by a 53-48 vote. Four members of the Acadiana delegation supported Ellington.

In his speech to the House before it voted for speaker pro tem, Ellington publicly asked Tucker not to punish anyone but him. Reports political columnist John Maginnis today:

Tucker did, but didn't stop there after the unprecedented close vote won by Rep. Joel Robideaux, No Party-Lafayette. In a wide-ranging shuffling of committee assignments, released after adjournment for the holiday weekend yesterday, two Republicans who supported Democrat Ellington were removed from the powerful Appropriations Committee, while Ellington and another of his supporters, Rep. Charmaine Stiaes, D-New Orleans, were bounced from the House & Governmental Affairs Committee. ...
Beyond losing his Governmental Affairs committee seat, Ellington also received a letter from the speaker's office stating his lease on his Pentagon Barracks apartment, a prime perk, is now on a month to month basis.

Last week, Tucker denied Ellington's assertion that he was "twisting arms and breaking legs" to get votes for Robideaux. "That's not true," said Tucker, "I've not threatened to take anything from anybody."

If the speaker was enforcing some discipline in the body, Maginnis writes, opinions were divided on the wisdom of his actions.

As for the shakeup, Landry isn't saying much. "You'd have to talk to Speaker Tucker about that," she says. "I don't know what his motives were."

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