McCollister: Losing Garret Graves hurts Louisiana 

Rolfe McCollister
Rolfe McCollister Jr. is a contributing columnist.

In his most recent column, Rolfe McCollister expresses utter disbelief that Garret Graves, one of the smartest, most effective and hardest-working members of the Louisiana congressional delegation, is being intentionally booted from Team Louisiana.

“Imagine your reaction if coach Brian Kelly had benched Jayden Daniels last year—or cut him from the Tiger football team,” McCollister asks.

Given Louisiana’s small representation in Congress, with just eight of 535 members, McCollister contemplates, “How important—and impactful—would it have been next year to have both the speaker of the House and chair of the Transportation Committee from Team Louisiana?”

Yet the statewide public servants we elected—Gov. Jeff Landry, Attorney General Liz Murrill and Secretary of State Nancy Landry—have decided instead that racial politics is priority one in Louisiana.

In what amounts to a Republican-on-Republican travesty, these “conservative Republicans” got a Republican Legislature to march in lockstep with them, creating an unconstitutional, racially gerrymandered congressional district that snakes its way 250 miles from Baton Rouge to Shreveport. 

In April, a three-judge panel struck down the new district drawn by the Legislature, declaring it unconstitutional based on the 14th Amendment and ordering a new map drawn. Full disclosure: I am a plaintiff in the lawsuit. 

Graves will leave Congress at the end of 2024 with an amazing list of accomplishments for Baton Rouge and Louisiana, as well as the strong support and gratitude of his constituents, who gave him 80.4% of the vote in the last election—one of the highest in the nation. He earned it for his servant leadership. 

McCollister also takes aim at state Sen. Regina Barrow’s sleazy antics and attempted 11th-hour coup during the recent legislative session to remake the board of NexusLA and include herself as a member. Kudos to Gov. Landry for his veto on this bill and thanks to those in the Baton Rouge delegation for their efforts in righting this wrong.

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