Back in olden times, Allan covered the Louisiana Legislature for The Times-Picayune and Danae lobbied the Legislature for the Dock Board. So we both have a sense of what it takes to be a good legislator and like to keep track of those who we think have bright futures in politics.
As the New Orleans delegation prepares for the likely-to-be tumultuous legislative session that begins Monday, April 8, we think the city is fortunate in having an outstanding legislative delegation including Walt Leger, Helena Moreno, Wesley Bishop and Neil Abramson who are really good at getting positive things done. Another legislator we think is a rising star is State Representative Jared Brossett. He represents Gentilly but has worked closely with the Uptown legislative delegation. In his five years at the legislature, Jared has earned a reputation as a leader, a quick learner, a team player, and a man whose word is his bond.
Jared is a Gentilly native who graduated from McDonogh 35, Xavier University (majoring in political science and government administration) and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. After graduation, he went to work for then-District D Councilman Marlin Gusman and later as Chief of Staff for Councilmember Cynthia Hedge Morrell. When Gentilly’s State Rep. J.P. Morrell moved on to the State Senate, Brossett easily won the House seat at the age of 25.
Brossett serves as chair of the legislature’s Hurricane Recovery Committee and his colleagues say he has done an excellent job of helping New Orleans, Jefferson Parish, the River Parishes, Saint Bernard, Plaquemines and the North Shore get federal funds needed for rebuilding. Equally important, he has teamed up with U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu and U.S. Rep Cedric Richmond to help get those federal infrastructure grants forgiven.
“What has been most useful to me are the things that I learned while working for the New Orleans City Council,” says Rep. Brossett. “City Hall is a great learning experience if you like a spirited exchange of ideas and the search for a reasonable compromise that makes everyone a winner.”
He also says, “I don’t think anyone was surprised that I would be persistent and determined in my fight for Gentilly at the legislature, but they may have been surprised that I fought just as hard for Jefferson Parish, the River Parishes, Plaquemines and St. Bernard and the North Shore. I believe we are all in this together, we all need help and we have to help each other.”
In 2014, the current occupant of the District D seat on the City Council, Cynthia Morrell, a mentor for Brossett, will be term limited. Many political players expect Brossett to declare for the vacant seat. He says, “I haven’t even thought about it yet. My brain is getting ready for April 8 and the fight over the governor’s proposed tax reform program. I’m very concerned about the consequences for New Orleans and the rest of our region if the governor’s plan passes. That’s all I think about these days.”
Brossett is steadfastly optimistic about the future of New Orleans and the region, provided that there are no catastrophes about to befall us. “I love working with the legislators from Uptown New Orleans,” he says. “They really understand the team concept – when we stick together, our influence and power to impact events is multiplied.”
Allan Katz spent 25 years as a political reporter and columnist at The Times-Picayune, and is now editor of the Kenner Star and host of several televsion programs, including the Louisiana Newsmaker on Cox Cable. Danae Columbus is executive producer of Louisiana Newsmaker, and has had a 30-year career in public relations, including stints at City Hall and the Dock Board. They both currently work for the Orleans Parish School Board. Among the recent candidates who have been represented by their public relations firm are City Councilwoman Stacy Head, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and council candidate Dana Kaplan.