New House speaker has kept low profile as a state lawmaker
BATON ROUGE - As a rank-and-file lawmaker, Louisiana's new House Speaker Taylor Barras wasn't one to seek the spotlight. The Republican from New Iberia never chaired a committee, and he wasn't the face of high-profile debates during his first eight years in office.
Barras' election victory as House speaker this week was a surprise. His lack of history as a House leader also makes him somewhat of an unknown quantity as he takes the helm of the chamber during a deep financial crisis.
Both those who supported his win and those who voted for his opponent, Democrat Walt Leger, say they expect Barras, a mild-mannered banker, to be fair and forthright.
They don't see Barras as an obstructionist who will be consistently at loggerheads with Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, who supported Leger.