Buddy Leach, former congressman and state representative, dies at 88
BATON ROUGE - Anthony C. "Buddy" Leach Jr., former U.S. congressman, longtime state legislator and Democratic Party chairman, died Saturday in Baton Rouge, his daughter Mary Warner told The Advocate. He was 88.
A Leesville native, Leach was voted into the state House in the 1968 and was re-elected twice before winning a congressional seat in 1978.
He lost re-election in 1980 but won his old state House seat back again, and he was named chairman of the Ways and Means Committee by then-Gov. Edwin Edwards and Speaker John Alario.
Leach lost a race to be state treasurer in 1987 and to be governor in 2003. He served as chairman of the Louisiana Democratic Party for two years, beginning in 2010 after a special election.
"He was a very capable chair and capable legislator," Alario told The Advocate on Sunday. "He was a strong leader and wanted to get the work done on a timely business. If he saw there was something important needed for the state, he would get it done."
Sunday, Gov. John Bel Edwards released the following statement on Leach's passing:
"Buddy Leach dedicated his life to serving our great state. From the Louisiana Legislature to Congress to his many civic contributions, Buddy worked to make life better for all Louisianans. When I decided to run for governor, he was one of the first people to encourage me. In addition to being a strong leader, he also had a heart for giving back and generously supported the efforts of Donna’s Louisiana First Foundation to enrich the lives of children. He was a friend, a mentor, and a true gentleman. Donna and I are praying for his family and all who were blessed to know him."
The governor has also ordered flags to be flown at half-staff on the day of the funeral.
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