A Conversation With House Clerk Butch Speer

Jeremy Alford: So… Now what?

House Clerk Butch Speer: Well, it’s true that legislatures all over the country — but this one in particular, ours in particular — seem to wait until the boat disappears from under their feet before they start bailing. I think they’re at that point. They can’t put it off any longer. Whether their hair is one fire or whether they’ve run into the wall — whatever the metaphor is — they’re at a point where they have to. And I believe, strongly, that there are two-thirds of people out there who want to do something. There’s certainly that close-to-a-third who want to do nothing and make it as bad as it can be.

JJA: Where do you see the remainder of this term heading? We’re halfway through it and it seems like the body is still evolving and developing.

BS: It is. This is the first term in modern Louisiana politics. Every session before this term operated on a completely different paradigm. The power structure was different. But the ability to encourage members to go along with the desires of leadership was different. An elected group doesn’t learn how to be independent and how to exercise a power independently just by having power given to them. They have to learn how to use that power. This group is learning. Regrettably, I see the next two regular sessions as not being improvements on the collegiality but actually continuing this divide that’s begun amongst them, that they just will find more and more things to separate themselves, and fewer and fewer things to bring themselves together.

JJA: Does this term of the House remind you of any other term in particular?

BS: It doesn’t because, like I said, the whole paradigm of power is different. One could think back to the Roemer term, when we were about as disorganized and rudderless as one could be, and yet we weren’t completely. The governor still had a speaker that was his ally, he still had committee chairs that were his allies, he still had an Appropriations and Ways and Means Committee that were his allies. I mean, at the time, we all thought, “How could it be this bad” Be careful what you wish for. It might come true.

JJA: What about a comparable session? I keep thinking back to that December special that Kathleen Blanco, where Jim Tucker finally organized Republicans and they shut that one down.

BS: They didn’t shut it down having done nothing. They just shut it down before they did everything that the governor wanted done.

JJA: Is there any update on how the election to replace you is going to play out?

BS: No.

JJA: Are you hearing about any candidates?

BS: Obviously, the members have done nothing about actually getting behind someone to give them on-the-job training. I have no clue.

JJA: Has this session reinforced your enthusiasm about retirement?

BS: It certainly has not changed my mind.

SPONSORED: An Update on Louisiana’s Fight Against Human Trafficking

United Way of Acadiana’s Women United group held a powerful session on Aug. 13 for their Food for Thought Series: An Update on Louisiana’s

WEEKLY: An Unusual Race In HD90

This story was originally published for Weekly subscribers on August 9, 2018. Wish you had read it then? Become a part of our elite

THE POLITICAL ABC’s (Alario, Barras & Comedy): Seven answers & one joke each, directly from the gavel masters

It has been nearly three months since the finale of 2018’s edition of session-palooza. That’s plenty of time for House Speaker Taylor Barras

ALFORD’S OPINION COLUMN: An Official Con-Con Reminder

It has been three months since the Louisiana Legislature concluded its regular session without addressing the war cry for a constitutional

RABALAIS’ POLITICAL HISTORY: The Bossier Rep Who Stuck With Nixon Until The Bitter End

On the morning of Aug. 9, 1974, Richard Nixon climbed onto the presidential helicopter, waved goodbye and flew away from the White House

POLITICAL CHATTER

— The Republican Women of Bossier, Women’s Republican Club of Shreveport, Caddo Parish Republican Party and Bossier Parish Republican

#HBD TRACKERS!

#HBD TRACKERS! — Tuesday 08/14: Rep. Dustin Miller, Winston DeCuir Jr. and Phillip Joffrion — Wednesday 08/15: Patrick Gleason, Karen

WEEKLY: House Candidates Reap Nearly $10M

This story was originally published for Weekly subscribers on August 2, 2018. Wish you had read it then? Become a part of our elite

WEEKLY: A Flurry of Secretary of State Campaign Hires

This story was originally published for Weekly subscribers on August 2, 2018. Wish you had read it then? Become a part of our elite

SPONSORED: Opening Doors Through Technology

Opening Doors Through Technology TPG client Microsoft continues to provide advances in technology and open new opportunities for

TRACKER: Jim Out, Podcast In & Other News Of The Day

FOUR THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW Jim Out, Podcast In & Other Jazz 1.) BERNHARD: "I WILL NOT RUN" Will businessman Jim Bernhard run for

ALFORD’S OPINION COLUMN: Has It Started Yet?

You ain’t nobody in Louisiana politics until somebody works for you.  And there are plenty of people being hired by the five major

RABALAIS’ POLITICAL HISTORY: The Consultant Who Could “Garontee” A Win

Justin Wilson will always be remembered for his spicy Cajun cooking, trademark red suspenders and the collection of funny anecdotes he told

POLITICAL CHATTER

— Julia O’Donoghue (@JSODonoghue): "@LouisianaGov says the state is applying for federal grants to approve school safety in wake of Florida

#HBD TRACKERS!

#HBD TRACKERS! — Tuesday 08/07: Former Gov. Edwin Edwards, Ryan Templet, Susan C. Freeman and Jacques Berry — Wednesday 08/08: Marylee

WEEKLY: Why JBE Won’t Thump Trump

This story was originally published for Weekly subscribers on July 26, 2018. Wish you had read it then? Become a part of our elite community

WEEKLY: ACLU Monitoring Officials On Social Media

This story was originally published for Weekly subscribers on July 26, 2018. Wish you had read it then? Become a part of our elite community

SPONSORED: Oceans Healthcare CEO Stuart Archer Wins Prestigious Award

Congratulations to Oceans Healthcare Chairman and CEO Stuart Archer for being recognized as EY’s 2018 Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2018 in the

FISH ON! Tips For The CCA Legislators’ Invitational Fishing Rodeo, Plus More

FISH ON! Alexander Graham Bell, an island of Looziana legislators, loading the Labor Day starter pistol & other random info for

ALFORD: The Millionaire Mythos & The Race For Governor

Is he in?  Is he out?  Does it matter right now?  Even if it doesn't, the possibility of millionaire investor and political flirt Jim

POLITICAL HISTORY: The Conspiracist Vs. The Crooner

By 1973, Orleans Parish District Attorney Jim Garrison was a well-known figure outside of his jurisdiction, due largely to the legal and

POLITICAL CHATTER

— The Advocate: “Animal welfare advocates aren't happy about the Tiger Truck Stop's recent acquisition of a camel and baby coati, but state

#HBD TRACKERS!

— Tuesday 07/31: Acting Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, Don Cravins Jr., Rodney Mallett, Julio Melara, Jimmy Lagarde and Barrett Murphy —

WEEKLY: Special Election Trend To Continue

This story was originally published for Weekly subscribers on July 19, 2018. Wish you had read it then? Become a part of our elite community

REVIEW: Livingston Memoir A Candid Account

This story was originally published for Weekly subscribers on July 19, 2018. Wish you had read it then? Become a part of our elite community