Republicans chosen to lead the Louisiana Legislature this term are highlighting efforts to cooperate with the state’s Democratic governor.
Newly elected Speaker of the House Clay Schexnayder (R-Gonzales) and Senate President Page Cortez (R-Lafayette) cast their hopes during the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry’s annual meeting.
“If we work together, but we don’t work with the governor, then it’s going to be fatal,” Cortez said.
The most recent legislative class, elected this past fall, appointed Schexnayder and Cortez to their respective roles Jan. 13, hours before Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards took his second oath of office. The appointments came with minimal input from Edwards, whose office has historically played a larger role in legislative leadership races.
The push to cooperate follows a tense four years between Edwards and former Speaker Taylor Barras (R-New Iberia). The two had sparred over revenue estimates and budget shortfalls. The two new leaders remain similarly split with the governor regarding income forecasts, though both sides seem confident that agreement will come before the spring session ends.
“If we take extreme partisanship off the table, then there’s a seat at the table for everyone,” Edwards said at Tuesday’s LABI event.
The 2020 legislative session starts Mar. 9 and must end by Jun. 1.