Throughout the 1970's, this group of fresh faces worked to bring about reform and legislative independence at the Louisiana State House. Thirty years later, members of this original group reunited to discuss politics, swap stories and revisit political exploits of this unique group of lawmakers.
Nicknamed the Young Turks, this group of fresh faces in the Louisiana House of Representatives worked to bring about legislative reforms and legislative independence throughout the 1970s. In the Spring of 2004, members of the group gathered at McNeese State University to honor their late colleague Bill McLeod., discuss their political exploits and swap stories at this special reuion.
Participants included Senator John Hainkel, and former Representatives Bob Jones, E. L. “Bubba” Henry, P. J. Mills, Thomas Casey, Ralph Miller, Don Williamson, Kenneth Leithman, Jim Dennis, and Ben Bagert. Errol LaBorde, the publisher of Louisiana Life magazine, was the moderator.
The Young Turks hold a special place in Louisiana Legislative history. They bucked the system to create major changes in how the legislature operated, including creating decorum in the House, removing lobbyists from the House floor, and bringing accountability to the appropriations process. They blazed a trail that led to a new state constitution in 1973 and reforms that still impact state government today.
The Young Turks is part of the McLeod Lecture Series at McNeese State University.
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Credit: New-York Historical Society - "Great Egret," painted in Louisiana 1821