Scalise ascends to House Whip

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Local political leaders say the election of Rep. Steve Scalise R-Jefferson to the position of House Majority Whip in Washington bodes well for local communities, and will likely benefit projects and resolution of issues that are locally important.

State Sen. Norby Chabert, R-Houma, was emphatic when asked if Scalise’s ascension is good for the bayou country.

“Abso-f***ing-lutely and you can quote me on that,” said Chabert. “The whip’s job is to whip them into shape, to get things going in the right direction.”

A congressman from Missouri, for the right vote, can get that water project he needs, Chabert said. “The congressman in the central city of Phoenix is assured that highway through the middle of the town is overlaid like they want to see it done. If you are the guy doling out the cheese what does that mean? You’ve got the cheese so you get the best slices. It’s a huge deal.”

Matters affecting the power grid, highways, flood protection, all can get a better hearing if they are favored by the whip.

Louisiana, Chabert and other pols noted, has not had a lot of juice in Washington lately, so far as the House is concerned.

Scalise’s 1st Congressional District includes parts of Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Tangipahoa and Terrebonne; Plaquemines, St. Bernard and St. Tammany are entirely in the district.

Scalise will be the 27th Majority Whip and the first Republican Majority Whip from Louisiana in the history of the House.

Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne reacted strongly to the news that that Scalise had been voted to the key position.

“Steve’s record of conservative leadership goes back to his days in the state Legislature. To have a Louisiana congressman serve in majority leadership is great for our state and our country going forward. I know he will do a great job, and I look forward to seeing him continue to represent Louisiana from his new position,” said Dardenne, a fellow Republican.

“His election is particularly great news for Louisiana and our delegation as we work to address our state’s pressing challenges,” said Sen. David Vitter R-La whose former congressional seat Scalise now occupies.

Local politicos said that they were impressed by Scalise’s ability to score the position, and garner the votes. They harbor hopes that in addition to marshaling members to items on his party’s agenda, that issues of regional and local importance will also fare well.

Elected to the House in 2007, Scalise is chairman of the conservative House Republican Study Committee.

His path to power began when Rep. Eric Cantor R-Va was defeated in a primary election. Cantor had served as majority leader.

That post was taken over by Rep. Kevin McCarthy R-Ca, the former Whip, paving the way for the choice of Scalise.

“I am honored that my colleagues have placed their trust and confidence in me,” Scalise said after he was chosen. “I will work relentlessly each and every day on behalf of every member of the Republican Conference to bring a fresh voice and new ideas to the leadership table. Now is the time for us to join together to solve our country’s problems for hard-working Americans by advancing the conservative principles that unite us and move America forward.”

Scalise also noted that his election is a proud moment for his home state.

“The strong team we built from every corner of the country has been humbling, but I was particularly inspired by all of the thoughts and prayers from people back home.”

In a Thursday, June 19, 2014 file photo, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., who leads a conservative faction of lawmakers in the Republican Study Committee, speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, after the House Republican Conference elected him to be the new House majority whip, replacing current whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who was elevated to majority leader. Scalise’s election to a key leadership post among House Republicans gives Louisiana the kind of high-profile influence in that body that it hasn’t seen since Robert Livingston was in line for the speaker’s post 15 years ago.