Baton Rouge, LA (BRPROUD) – Representative Edward “Ted” James (D – District 101) announced his resignation from the Louisiana House of Representatives today during an 11 a.m. press conference at the McKinley Alumni Center.
James is leaving his elected position representing part of the Baton Rouge area to fulfill a federal appointment.
“On the 31st of this month, I will start with the Small Business Administration over Region 6.” said James.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a federal agency overseen by the executive branch that helps with loans and federal contracts. Region 6 includes Louisiana, Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.
“As regional administrator I will oversee all of the programs within our region. One thing that I can’t do, if you haven’t asked me already, some have, the decision to forgive your flood 2016 loans, that is not- that is above my pay grade. That is a conversation for Congressman [Garret] Graves and Congressman [Troy] Carter.” James joked.
“There are so many opportunities for small businesses that I see as I’ve read and followed the president’s plan to, number one and most importantly, increase the percentage of small minority- and women-owned businesses participating in our federal government. The president’s goal to increase our contracting percentage by 50% in four years is something that I am gladly ready to take on.”
Rep. James looked back on his time in the legislature and shared lessons he’d learned about the unwritten rules of decorum.
The democratic representative recounted one incident in his first year in office during which he openly celebrated the defeat of an education bill. The next week, James found himself meeting with the Senate Finance Committee in need of a vote from the bills author, who served on the committee.
“As I walked in a couple people told me ‘Your bill is going down’… and I started to just go off.” said Rep. James. He told the committee he knew there was a “bounty” on his bill, that they’d been told to vote it down no matter what.
James says that after his rant, the committee members looked confused and he’d realized he’d been tricked. His bill was likely fine, the senator had only put out a rumor that his bill was doomed.
James’ colleagues told him his behavior had crossed a line.
“And they told me ‘That is not how you act in a committee. If you are going to throw a punch, you better know how to take one.’ ” said James. He spent the afternoon apologizing to the committee members.
“It reminded me of a very important lesson which is that no matter how far we go, no matter how far I go, I have truly benefitted from people, many of you in this room, who always take the time to call me and correct me.”
Before taking questions, Rep. James also made a request of his constituents.
“I care so much about District 101 that I am not going to walk off and not do my part to make sure District 101 is not left in good hands… As I leave, my good friend, someone who has been there since day one working in the community, working in the district, working in community organizations, working at the capital, Vanessa Caston LaFleur has my full support to serve the people of District 101.” said James.
LaFleur is a local attorney who has served in several roles in state government.
James, who was elected to his seat in 2011, also served as the chairman of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus.