Legislative Sessions Recap

Senators and House Representatives who advocate for the Port of South Louisiana’s tri-parish district had an active and productive 2023 legislative session. Get to know your legislators and learn about some of their main priorities and achievements.

Gary Smith

Gary Smith (Senator)

Senator Gary Smith is dedicated to the service of the 19th District, encompassing Jefferson, Lafourche, St. Charles, and St. John the Baptist Parishes. As a legal practitioner with strong ties to his native Norco in St. Charles Parish, Senator Smith has tirelessly represented his constituents in the Louisiana Legislature for 24 years.

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Smith has consistently supported legislation that supports the state’s maritime industry, including HB2, the comprehensive Capital Outlay budget, which promises additional funding for the Port of South Louisiana, a vital economic lifeline employing a significant portion of his district. Thanks to his determined efforts, the bill successfully navigated the legislative process.

Smith passionately emphasizes the pivotal role of the Port, hailing it as a “solid backbone of industry, employment, and support for businesses and taxes” that benefits not only the region but the entire state. He underscores the Mississippi River as the “most important natural infrastructure” underpinning commerce and agriculture nationwide. Senator Smith’s service in the legislature is coming to an end due to term limits but his contributions to the Port of South Louisiana will be felt for years to come.”

Edward Price

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Edward J Price (Senator)

Senator Ed Price, a dedicated representative of District 2, oversees a vast expanse spanning portions of eight parishes, primarily along the Mississippi River. Price has demonstrated a dual commitment, addressing the needs of both state retirees and the vital infrastructure of the state.

His dedication to retirees was exemplified through the authorship of Senate Bills 5, 6, and 7, aimed at providing additional payments and adjustments to support eligible retirees and beneficiaries, including retired teachers, state workers, and state police. Price takes pride in securing a cost of living adjustment for these retirees, a significant achievement in enhancing their financial well-being.

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He also fervently supported the allocation of surplus funds to enhance the state’s infrastructure, notably channeling millions of dollars toward the state’s ports. Recognizing the economic importance of the Mississippi River, Senator Price emphasized the need to bolster all ports, ensuring their continued vitality in supporting the state’s economy.

Eddie Lambert

Eddie J Lambert (Senator)

Senator Eddie J. Lambert is a dedicated representative for District 18, encompassing segments of Ascension, St. James, and Livingston parishes. He boasts a remarkable legislative career that commenced in 2003 when he was elected to the House of Representatives. Since 2016, he has been diligently serving as the face of District 18 in the State Senate.

Lambert has channeled his extensive experience into a diverse array of bills, touching on topics ranging from the revival of the state’s Department of Environmental Quality to the creation of specialty license plates. He also championed the recognition of April 18-24 as “Love the Boot Week.”

Lambert’s commitment to securing funding for the state’s ports through the Capital Outlay process has yielded tangible results. He notes with pride that the Port of South Louisiana has surged to prominence over recent years, emerging as one of the nation’s premier ports.

Clay Schexnayder

Clay Schexnayder (House)

Representative Clay Schexnayder has been serving Louisiana’s 81st District, a region that encompasses parts of Ascension, Livingston, St. James, and St. John the Baptist Parishes, since his initial election in 2011. In 2022, he assumed the pivotal role of Speaker of the House, presiding over every session, ensuring the resolution of vital questions and measures, and offering clarity on procedural rules.

Beyond his duties as Speaker, Representative Schexnayder authored impactful legislation that subsequently became law, addressing a spectrum of critical issues. His legislative contributions extended to supporting firefighter training, enhancing agricultural production, and fortifying the state’s emergency preparedness.

Moreover, Schexnayder has been a steadfast advocate for the Port of South Louisiana. His unwavering commitment came to fruition in the 2022 legislative session with the passage of HB2, which earmarks over $10 million in additional funding for the Port. This financial boost underscores his enduring support for this crucial economic hub. Speaker Schexnayder’s service in the legislature is coming to an end due to term limits and PortSL wishes him the best in his future endeavors.

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Randal L Gaines (House)

Representative Gaines is a dedicated public servant representing the heart of the River Parishes in the 57th district, which encompasses St. Charles and St. John the Baptist parishes. His commitment to his constituents has been evident since his initial election in 2011, and his background as a military veteran with 25 years of service, including during significant events like Desert Storm and Hurricane Katrina, reflects his dedication to fighting for and supporting his community.

A Laplace-based attorney, Gaines actively participates in legislative committees such as the House Select Leadership Committee and the Special Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs. Notably, Representative Gaines has consistently championed the state’s ports, and his advocacy culminated in his involvement in the Tiger Grant Application. This initiative sought federal funding for the Port of South Louisiana’s Globalplex complex, emphasizing his commitment to the expansion and revitalization of the Port’s infrastructure. Due to term limits, Representative Gaines’ time in the legislature has come to an end and PortSL is appreciative of his leadership through the years.”

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Gregory A Miller (House)

Representative Miller is a dedicated advocate for the constituents of the 56th district, encompassing a substantial portion of St. Charles Parish and a section of St. John the Baptist Parish. Hailing from the local community, with his educational journey taking him through Norco, De La Salle in New Orleans, and LSU, he boasts an intimate understanding of the region’s needs and aspirations. The Port of South Louisiana, serving and employing his friends, neighbors, and those he grew up with, holds a special place in his heart.

He celebrated the responsible allocation of surplus funds for investments such as a $1.2 billion committed to coastal restoration and hurricane protection and $60 million earmarked for training in high-demand professions like broadband and healthcare at Louisiana community and technical colleges. Miller has also consistently supported efforts to secure additional funding vital for the Port’s continued growth and prosperity. Rep. Miller was elected to the State Senate and will fill the seat being vacated by Senator Smith.

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Ken Brass (House)

Kendricks “Ken” Brass represents District 58, which includes portions of Ascension, Iberville, and St. James parishes. A committed and dedicated public servant, Brass has been working to help his community both inside and outside of working in the legislature. He’s served on numerous local boards and commissions and still manages to carve out time in his schedule to coach Biddy Basketball and T-Ball.

“My goal as a public servant is to always try my best in making a difference in the community and in the lives of the people in which I have been elected to serve,” Brass said.

In this year’s session, Brass focused much of his attention on education, but he’s also supported efforts to help expand the Port of South Louisiana and bring more jobs and economic benefits to the region, including voting for the Capital Outlay budget, bringing millions of dollars to the Port.

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Joseph A Stagni (House)

Rep. Stagni serves the good people of the 92nd district of Louisiana, which includes the parishes of Jefferson and St. Charles. Rep. Stagni was elected in 2017.

But while he may be relatively new to state politics, he’s been public service for decades now. Stagni previously served on the Kenner City Council, where he was known for his commitment and work ethic. Because of his work in the community, Stagni was awarded the Monte M. Lemann Award from the Louisiana Civil Service League.

Stagni has supported funding efforts for the Port. He worked to have HB2 approved in 2021, and he supported appropriations for the Port of South Louisiana and the Port of New Orleans, which received a combined $120 million for infrastructure projects. In addition to funding the Port’s expansion projects, those funds will bring more growth, jobs, and opportunity to the region Stagni represents.


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