Mizell named Senate president pro tempore

Published 1:00 pm Monday, January 13, 2020

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In special inaugural ceremonies held Monday in the Louisiana State Senate Chamber in Baton Rouge, members of the 2020-2024 State Senate took the oath of office and were officially seated as state senators. Among the 39 members are 20 new state senators, including nine who are beginning their first term in the Louisiana legislature. After taking the oath of office from Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson, the members chose their leadership.

New Senate President Pro Tempore Beth Mizell (R-Franklinton), who was chosen for the leadership post by a unanimous vote of 39-0, is ready to help lead that leadership effort.

The president pro tempore acts as the presiding officer in the absence of the president. If the chair is ever permanently vacated, the president pro tempore acts as the temporary presiding officer until the Senate elects a new president.

Mizell, who represents Senate District 12, is beginning her second term in the Senate and most recently served on the Education, Retirement, and Commerce, Consumer Protection and International Affairs Committees. She also served as the Vice-Chair of the Senate Select Committees on Women and Children and Vocational and Technical Education and is the Chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus.

“I look forward to working with President (Patrick “Page”) Cortez and all of the members of the Senate to make meaningful improvements for the citizens of Louisiana,” Mizell said. “It is so important that we work together to bring solutions to the problems of not only our districts, but for all of this great state. Our commitment is to build a Louisiana that our children have a future in. I am honored to serve as president pro tempore and I am hopeful about the progress we will make this term.”

She is a life-long resident of the Northshore and a mother, grandmother, businesswoman, and cattle rancher. She is described as a passionate leader dedicated to serving her state. Sen. Bret Allain, Sen. Mack “Bodi” White Jr., and Sen. Barrow Peacock urged their support for Mizell for the leadership post during proceedings. She took the oath of office from Supreme Court Justice William J. Crain, a Bogalusa native, as her family stood nearby.

Senators also unanimously elected District 23 State Sen. Patrick “Page” Cortez (R-Lafayette) as senate president. Sen. Ronnie Johns, Sen. Fred Mills Jr., and Sen. Gerald Boudreaux spoke in support of Cortez’s election. Cortez, who is beginning his third term in the Louisiana Senate, previously served in the Louisiana House of Representatives for one term. He is known amongst his colleagues for his approachable nature and willingness to work across party divisions.

He most recently served as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Transportation, Highways and Public Works and as a member of the Senate Committees on Retirement and Commerce, Consumer Protection, and International Affairs.

“It is truly an honor to be chosen by my colleagues in the senate to lead them as we enter this new term and new decade,” Cortez said. “This is an opportunity for us to set aside our differences as we continue to improve the quality of education for our youngest constituents, provide even more opportunities for our industries and small businesses to thrive, and build a stronger, safer, more productive Louisiana for each and every citizen.”

New members of the senate include Mark Abraham, “Louie” Bernard, Joe Bouie, Stewart Cathey, Jr., Heather Cloud, Patrick Connick, Michael “Big Mike” Fesi, Cleo Fields, Franklin Foil, Jimmy Harris, Cameron Henry, Katrina Jackson, Patrick McMath, Barry Milligan, Robert Mills, Jay Morris, Rogers Pope, “Mike” Reese, Kirk Talbot and Glen Womack.

Senators also elected Yolanda Dixon as the new Secretary of the Senate, replacing long-time secretary, Glenn Koepp. Dixon, an attorney and community leader, has served as the First Assistant Secretary of the Senate since 2004. John Keller was elected Sergeant at Arms for his fifth term at the post.