Champagne resigns House seat _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Rep. Simone Champagne, R-Erath, asks questions as the House Education Committee considers bills to repeal or revamp Common Core academic standards in this April 2014 Advocate file photo.

Republican state Rep. Simone Champagne of Jeanerette is resigning her legislative seat Dec. 31 to join the leadership team of Mayor-elect Ken Ritter of Youngsville.

“I am honored to have served the citizens of District 49. I have, however, notified the Speaker of the House that as of Dec. 31 I will leave the District 49 seat . . .,” Champagne said in a statement issued through the House communications office. “I am excited and honored to be joining this team of leaders, including the Mayor and City Council, in one of the fastest growing cities in Louisiana.”

House Speaker Chuck Kleckley quickly called a special election to fill the vacancy in time for the April 13 start of the 2015 regular legislative session. Candidate sign-up will run Jan. 7-9.

Kleckley set the primary election for Feb. 21. If no one wins outright, a runoff would be held March 28 under Kleckley’s election proclamation.

House District 49 includes parts of Iberia and Vermilion parishes.

Champagne, who is vice chair of the House Appropriations Committee, is nearing the end of her second four-year term in the House. She was first elected as a Democrat in 2007.

Champagne said she did not resign the position “lightly or with little thought. I am sincerely grateful and humbled to have been asked by my fellow citizens to represent them. I have tried to do so diligently and assertively.”

She said she would continue to serve the state and her community, including “whatever help I can provide to the person elected by District 49 to fill this seat.”

Champagne will start her new job on Jan. 1.

Follow Marsha Shuler on Twitter @MarshaShulerCNB. For more coverage of the state capitol, follow Louisiana Politics at