|Erich Edward Ponti|
|Louisiana House of Representatives from District 69 (East Baton Rouge Parish)|
January 14, 2008
|Preceded by||Gary James Beard|
New Orleans, Louisiana
|Alma mater||Catholic High School
Erich Edward Ponti (born April 1965), a general contractor from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is a Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from District 69 in East Baton Rouge Parish.
On October 25, 2011, Governor Bobby Jindal endorsed Chuck Kleckley of Lake Charles as his choice to succeed the term-limited Jim Tucker as the Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives. Ponti along with fellow Baton Rouge Representative Hunter Greene and Republican Representative Joel Robideaux of Lafayette and the Democrat Jeff Arnold of New Orleans were also seeking support for the speakership. By tradition, the House of Representatives confirms the governor's choice as the Speaker.
Ponti was born in New Orleans, a son of Eugene Oliver Ponti and Janice Ponti of Baton Rouge. A 1983 graduate of Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, Ponti thereafter received a bachelor's degree in Construction Management from Northeast Louisiana University (now the University of Louisiana at Monroe). Upon returning to Baton Rouge, Ponti started Accent Construction Services, Inc., a successful general contracting and development firm. Through his profession he first became involved in the political process.
Ponti was elected to the House on November 17, 2007, when he defeated fellow Republican William L. "Bill" Benedetto (born 1941), a retired Entergy Corporation official from Baton Rouge, 6,772 votes (63 percent) to 4,059 (37 percent). The position opened when the incumbent representative, Republican Gary Beard of Baton Rouge ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor. Ponti attributed his victory to "shoe leather ... Just knocking on the doors and be being seen everywhere."
Representative Ponti also holds the District 69 seat on the Republican State Central Committee, having defeated party activist Sally A. Nungesser, 898-407 (69-31 percent), for the position in Louisiana presidential primary held on February 9, 2008.
In his first legislative session, Ponti voted in committee to send a proposed legislative pay raise to the House floor. He then voted in the full chamber against the measure, known as SB 672, which nevertheless passed the House 56-45 on June 13, 2008. Amid a large public protest, Governor Bobby Jindal vetoed the legislation, which would have tripled state legislators' salaries.
Ponti serves as the charmain of the House Committee on Commerce and Government Affairs committees and is vice-chairman of the Labor and Industrial Relations Committee. He is rated 100 percent by the Louisiana Right to Life Committee, 81 percent by the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, and 75 percent by the Louisiana Family Forum.
Candidacy for Public Service Commissioner
On August 8, 2012, Ponti announced his candidacy for the District 2 seat on the Louisiana Public Service Commission, a position being vacated by Jimmy Field, an attorney from Baton Rouge who has held the position since 1997. If elected, Ponti said that he would seek to require utility companies to upgrade their transmission grids. Such changes would, he maintains, "lower the cost of power to users, ensure long-term reliability, and expedite the restoration of power after damaging storms and hurricanes."
However, Ponti finished third in the PSC race with 43,287 votes (11.6 percent). Former Lieutenant Governor Scott Angelle of Breaux Bridge in St. Martin Parish was the runaway winner with 213,485 votes (57.2 percent) and carried all thirteen parishes in the district. A Democrat, Forest Wright, finished second in the balloting with 76,336 votes (20.5 percent). Two other contenders, a Republican and a No Party contender, shared the remaining 11 percent of the vote.
- "Membership of the Louisiana House of Representative, 1812-2012". legis.state.la.us. Retrieved July 17, 2010.
- "Jindal to support Kleckley in speaker race". wwl.com. Retrieved October 26, 2011.
- "Mark Ballard, "Greene joins candidates for speaker of La. House"". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
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- "Representative Erich E. Ponti". house.louisiana.gov. Retrieved July 17, 2010.
- "Louisiana general election returns, November 17, 2007". electionresults.sos.louisiana.gov. Retrieved July 17, 2010.
- Baton Rouge Morning Advocate, November 18, 2007
- "Louisiana presidential primary election returns, February 9, 2008". electionresults.sos.louisiana.gov. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
- "Representative Erich Ponti". votesmart.org. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
- Anderson, Ed (June 30, 2008). "Jindal vetoes legislative raise". The Times-Picayune.
Gov. Bobby Jindal announced today that he has vetoed the legislative pay raise. After days of saying he would not reject the unpopular measure, Jindal said this morning that he had changed his mind. 'I thank the people for their voice and their attention,' Jindal said of the public outcry against the raise. 'I am going to need your help to move this state forward. ... The voters have demanded change... I made a mistake by staying out if it'.
- "Committee rejects proposed plumbing licensing bill, April 20, 2010". outside.in. Retrieved July 17, 2010.
- "Erich Ponti announces candidacy for Louisiana Public Service Commission: Campaign has nearly $280,000 cash-on-hand". ericponti.com. Retrieved August 9, 2012.
- "Louisiana election returns, November 6, 2012". staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved November 10, 2012.
- ""Ponti announces candidacy in PSC race," August 8, 2012". thehayride.com. Retrieved August 9, 2012.
|Louisiana House of Representatives|
|Louisiana State Representative from District 69 (East Baton Rouge Parish)