Louisiana mourns the loss of Congress-elect Luke Letlow after his battle with COVID-19
While fighting back tears, Congressman Garret Graves reflects on the life of his longtime friend, Congressman-elect Luke Letlow.
Letlow is currently the highest-ranked politician to die of COVID-19.
"Yes he had been in the hospital and had a harder case than many, but you can't fill that void of a dad to children like that," Graves said.
News of his passing was a shocking blow to those he served and those who loved him.
"Things seemed to be going better, and it appeared to be a light at the end of the tunnel. We were all in prayer daily for him and his family. But, I'm just in complete shock," Graves said.
The north Louisiana republican, husband, and father of two was hospitalized on Dec. 19th. Graves was just in talks with the 41-year old, who was slated to take the oath of office days before his death.
"We had been texting and talking and he sounded good. Then I got a text that he was going to be moved to Shreveport. The initial thought was, 'Oh this doesn't sound good,'" Graves said.
Politicos from both parties express their condolences to the family. His death became a sobering reminder of the devastating impact of COVID-19.
"As you remember Luke, remember as well to be careful with COVID. Do everything you know you should do," U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy said in a video posted on Social Media.
Born in the small town of Start, Letlow was set to become Louisiana's newest U.S. representative. He was stepping into the seat of his former boss, Ralph Abraham. Congressman Graves says this accomplishment is only a public product of years of hard work behind the scenes.
"I think a lot of people are going to remember him for being that voice, standing up for, and working to ensure that some of these smaller communities had what they needed," Graves said.
Governor Edwards has ordered flags to be flown at half staff the day of his funeral. Representatives say burial details will be set at a later date.