State Sen. Neil Riser officially announced his bid to run for the state Treasurer’s post.

“Today, I announce that I will be running for State Treasurer,” Senator Riser said in a press release Thursday. “Louisiana wants a watchdog as Treasurer and that’s exactly what I’ll be,” Riser said in a press release. “Don’t tell me they’re spending money efficiently throughout a $28 billion dollar budget. That’s a load of bull, and we all know it. We must restore accountability and fiscal responsibility to our state's finances.”

Riser is in Baton Rouge for a special legislative session aimed at closing a $304 million revenue gap in the state’s spending plan for the fiscal year ending June 30.

His entry into the sweepstakes to replace John N. Kennedy, who was elected to the U.S. Senate, was widely anticipated. Riser told State Capitol reporters Wednesday that his announcement was imminent. He promised to continue Kennedy’s outspoken critiques of legislators’ and governors’ actions concerning the state’s fiscal policies.

“It’s quite obvious that the way our state does business is out of date and must be changed if we ever expect to truly put our state back on a solid financial footing,” Riser said.

The Columbia Republican heads the Senate Committee on Labor & Industrial Relations and had chaired the Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee during the Jindal administration. He’s the only candidate who has served on the State Bond Commission, which the Treasurer chairs.

The special statewide election will be held on October 14, 2017.

He joins in the race state Rep. Julie Stokers, of Kenner; Rep. John Schroder, of Covington, and Mike Lawrence, a Mandeville Republican CPA, all Republicans.

Riser, 54, was frontrunner in 2013’s hastily called election to replace Rodney Alexander in Congress. He made the runoff but was beaten by political neophyte Vance McAllister, a businessman who went on to win international notoriety for a security camera video of him kissing an aide.

Riser graduated from Caldwell Parish High School in Columbia in 1980 and received a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from the University of Louisiana at Monroe in 1984.

As a senator, he sponsored the 2012 constitutional amendment, which was approved by 74 percent of the state’s voters, requiring a “strict scrutiny” standard when courts consider cases involving gun laws. Under strict scrutiny, regulations must be narrowly tailored to fit a public purpose and it would be up to the government to prove that regulations were constitutional, rather than requiring opponents of a measure prove that the law violates the Constitution.

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