BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Wednesday, Jan. 5 marked the start of the 2022 legislative session and big changes are coming for one state representative.
President Joe Biden called on State Representative Ted James (D) to take a seat at the federal level. He will become the new Regional 6 Director for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
“The most important function is the support for small businesses. If you have an idea, you can come to the SBA and get help from day one to develop a business plan,” James explained. “There are so many opportunities that I see for small businesses as I’ve read and followed the president’s plan to increase the percentages of small minority and women-owned businesses.”
James has been an integral part of the lawmaking process since he started in 2011. He orchestrated bills ranging from medical marijuana to criminal law reform.
“156 bills that I authored and 54 are now law in the state like LA Wallet, criminal justice reform, and policing,” said James.
He is also the Chair of the House Criminal Justice Committee and headed the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus. His role has helped the caucus gain a stronger voice in the state.
“Hate to lose him at a time where we are doing redistricting, but the Black Caucus will go on. We have leaders stepping up to the plate,” said State Representative C. Denise Marcelle (D).
James believes that his experiences in recovering and rebuilding, among other skills, are what landed him the job.
“I think a lot of what I brought to the table after the 2016 flood, that’s another very important component of it, which is flood recovery,” he said.
“All of those experiences, I think he takes with him to SBA, whether that’s being an attorney, legislator, or work with the Urban League, I think all those things put together to make him a good fit for the job,” added Marcelle.
Although he said he’s nervous, James will officially resign from his current position on Jan. 28 and start his new position three days later.
“I am a product of the old African proverb saying, ‘it takes a village,'” said James. “We all just got appointed by President Biden, it wasn’t just me.”
James believes a special election will be held in March to fill his current seat. The dates to qualify for that election are Jan. 26 through Jan. 28.