New Representative says campaign is wearing

By James Ronald Skains
Journal Correspondent

"Campaigning for State Representative in District 22 was about the toughest job I've ever had," Terry Brown newly elected State Representative, told the Journal in the Capitol Rotunda on a recent Friday afternoon.

"I lost 47 pounds, went down eight pants sizes and wore out two pairs of shoes from last April 8 when I got started until November 19th," Brown said. "During those seven months I drove 50,000 miles and went to more than 90% of the houses in District 22."

"If no one was home, I left a note asking for their votes,'' Brown acknowledged.

District 22 includes all of Grant Parish, most of LaSalle Parish, a small portion of southwest Winn Parish, parts of Natchitoches Parish up to Kyser Avenue in the City of Natchitoches and east of the Red River and most of Red River Parish including the town of Coushatta. District 22 is one of the most sprawling rural State Representative Districts in the State.

"It was a long hard-fought campaign," said Brown, a native and resident of Bagdad in southern Grant Parish. "Many times when I was sitting on the side of my bed, I didn't know for sure if I was getting up or going to bed."\par }{\plain "It took a lot of faith, but with the support of my wife and a lot of very loyal friends, we were able to complete the campaign," Brown, a graduate of Northwestern State University explained. "Now it is time for me to work hard to serve and represent everyone who lives in the District 22."

District 22 is a large U-Shaped District running from Coushatta the top of the U on the west to Goldonna on the eastern top of the U, down to the border with Rapides Parish on the south and then turns north to the upper end of LaSalle Parish at Olla and then east through Jena and Nebo. That part of LaSalle parish includes a lot of the bottom lands of the Catahoula Lake flood plain.

"I'm going to work on the little things to start on," Brown, a former school teacher in the Grant Parish school system, told the Journal. "Over in the Catahoula Lake flood plains, a number of people have hay leases on the open areas, so I want to make sure their hay fields are not over-run with vehicle traffic."

"Also, some of the officials in LaSalle Parish have asked me to work on some legislation to iron out a little quirk in the law that causes a hardship on the elections for Constable and Justice of the Peace." Brown, a former employee in the Development section of the Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development (LADOTD) stated.

"That bill is already drafted and ready for pre-filing for the spring session of the legislature," Brown said. "Also, I'm working on getting a caution light at Tullos at the intersection of US Highways 84 and 167."

"District 22 has a lot of rural roads that are not in good shape," Brown acknowledged. "This will also be on my priority list. Farmers, cattlemen and loggers deserve good roads to help get their products to market."

In the Development Section of the LADOTD, Brown was involved in the acquisition of right-a-ways for highways, Red River navigation projects and the purchase of state buildings and land.

"Being a former teacher, I'm also very interested in education issues,'' Brown noted. "Economic development is another area of extreme importance for District 22.''

"I'm very pleased to see that SunDrop Fuels is planning on locating near Rapides Station,'' Brown stated. "This will give a lot of timberland owners in Grant, Winn and LaSalle an outlet for their smaller timber."

"I hope to find a way to help revive the Biomass to Electricity project in Olla," Brown explained. "It seems that a decision by the Public Service Commission was what derailed that project."

The ancestors of Terry Brown moved from Georgia in 1817 to what became the Bagdad community in southern Grant Parish. Brown is married to the former Lou Altanzen of West Baton Rouge Parish. They have one daughter, Ann-Elizabeth, a Speech Pathologist student at LSU.

"Another thing that is small, but that I want to look into is the procedure freshman students at LSU have to go through to buy tickets to the home football games,'' Brown explained. "It is my understanding that only a third of the freshman students are able to buy tickets to the LSU home football games, and those are chosen by a lottery system."

Brown had just completed four days of "freshman legislator orientation" when the Journal caught up with him in the Capitol Rotunda.

"The orientation was helpful,'' Brown noted. "We learned a lot in a short period of time of how things function in the legislature, and what it takes to get things done back in your district."

"I had an advantage on some of the new legislators because I had been around the Capitol enough times to know where the restrooms and coffee shop was located,'' Brown pointed out.

"Another advantage I have over some of the other freshmen legislators is that my desk in on the front row.''

"I think that will make it a little easier to keep up with things, plus my desk is only a few steps from the podium where legislators stand to speak," Brown explained. "Another rule that I have adopted for myself is that I will never commit to support any fellow legislators bill until I have thoroughly read it."

Brown was elected to office this past November 19th as a "no-party" affiliated candidate.

"I think that it is time for elected officials to be elected on merit and ability, not on party affiliation," Brown stressed. "I'm going to represent the Republicans, Democrats and Independents in the 22nd District to the best of my ability regardless of party affiliation."

"I've already begun to reach out to supporters of my opponents to tell them that the campaign is over, it now time for the elected representative to represent all the people in District 22," Brown stated. "I have a great track record of getting along with people who don't see eye to eye with me. My wife and daughter are Catholic, while I am Methodist."