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Metro Council in disarray

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BATON ROUGE - The East Baton Rouge metro council has appointed the widow of late councilman Buddy Amoroso to take his seat.

Following a heated discussion about the appointment, Denise Amoroso was approved by seven council members. Council members Chauna Banks, LaMont Cole, and Donna Collins-Lewis did not vote. Councilwoman Erika Green was absent from the meeting.

Buddy Amoroso and his friend were riding bikes in St. Francisville last month when the two were hit by a car. The car was driven by 21-year-old Nicholas Alexander. Amoroso was pronounced dead at the scene.

Just last week, the vacancy left behind by Buddy Amoroso's death led to a rift between the council members. Some members released a joint statement saying they would not vote to fill the seat after it was expected that Amoroso's widow would look to temporarily take the spot.

Several people against Denise Amoroso's appointment attended the special meeting. Despite their reaction and hours of public comment, Amoroso said it's a sign that progress could be made amongst residents in the parish.

"I think what happened tonight," Amoroso said, "there was a lot of good dialogue about things that need to go on in Baton Rouge. I think people listened very well, and I think it can be used as a positive thing instead of a negative thing."

Denise Amoroso will serve on the metro council for nine months, equivalent to the amount of time left in Buddy Amoroso's term. A special election will be held at a later date to elect a proper successor.

After the meeting, Amoroso said she was excited to follow her husband's legacy, noting that no one could replace him.

"You know, you think about me replacing Buddy, which will never happen," Amoroso said. "He loved his city. He loved his district. So, I think what I want to do is see through some of the things that he wanted to accomplish."

Denise Amoroso will represent District 8 of East Baton Rouge Parish.

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