State Rep. Bryan Adams confirmed Tuesday that he will be resigning from the state House to become an assistant state fire marshal.
Adams, 53, who was re-elected to a second term in the House last year, began as a firefighter in Terrytown when he was 18 and served as fire chief from 2005-13.
“It’s an opportunity for me to finish my career,” Adams said of the new job in an interview.
Adams made his comments in a room just off the House floor while a TV set showed a colleague, state Rep. Joe Lopinto, telling the House officially that he is resigning. Lopinto disclosed his plans the night before. A one-time sheriff’s deputy and son of a New Orleans policeman, Lopinto said he will be taking his “dream job” to be in the in-house attorney for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Both Adams and Lopinto are Republicans from Jefferson Parish who crossed party lines to support John Bel Edwards for governor in the runoff in November and then voted for his candidate for speaker, state Rep. Walt Leger, D-New Orleans, in January.
In a surprise, the House elected state Rep. Taylor Barras, R-New Iberia, as its new speaker, the first time in recorded history that the governor’s favored choice did not win.
Adams expected to chair the House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice under Leger. Having supported the losing candidate, he has not held a position of power in the House. During the previous four years, he was vice chairman of the budget-writing Appropriations Committee.
Like Lopinto, Adams said being a bench backer was not a factor in his decision to resign, which he said will take place after the special session expected to be held in June.
“I have no hard feelings toward any of my colleagues for what’s happened,” Adams said. “In politics, there are winners and losers.”
He added, “The whole legislative process hasn’t been fun – the budget cuts, raising taxes. They’ve all been tough votes.”
H. Butch Browning, the fire marshal, said Adams will oversees about 90 people and be in charge of life safety code investigations and arson investigations.
“It’s hard to find folks that still want to work who have vast knowledge,” Browning said. “He brings a vast knowledge of fire-fighting, and he’s well connected.”
Browning said the open position that Adams will fill is not subject to the Edwards administration’s hiring freeze since it involves public safety.
Barras will decide the date of the special elections to replace Lopinto and Adams.
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