Larry Thomas, who calls himself a conservative, pro-business Democrat, is running for the Senate District 17 seat being vacated by state Sen. Rob Marionneaux, D-Grosse Tete.

Thomas served as a legislative assistant for Marionneaux, who cannot seek re-election because of term limits.

“We have too many needs in this district for someone to learn the ropes at the State Capitol,” Thomas said in a prepared statement.

“I’ve worked these halls for years protecting our communities, and I’m ready to hit the ground running,” he said.

The primary is Oct. 22.

Thomas is a Clinton native and owned and operated L.N. Thomas Lumber for 22 years.

He is a member of the Amite River Basin Commission, chairs the East Feliciana Parish Economic Development District and represented the parish on a nine-parish economic development panel LaCAEDA.

Thomas proposed increasing business and labor incentives for workplace development and re-evaluating worker’s compensation and insurance rates to make businesses more competitive.

He said he wants to halt funding for legislative pet projects until the state’s budget is balanced and wants the Legislature to set salaries for department secretaries and under secretaries.

Thomas also said state vacancies should be evaluated before they are filled and he wants a ban on state employees drawing both a state retirement and regular paycheck.

He said he has been waging a “person-to-person” campaign for more than 18 months.

The district stretches from Greensburg to New Roads to the Morgan City area and includes parts of Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, St. Helena, St Martin, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana parishes and all of Pointe Coupee.

Sixty-three percent of the 74,065 residents in District 17 are white and 63 percent are registered Democrats.

Thomas and his wife Kathy have two children, Brian and Ashley, and are expecting their third grandchild.