Joel Robideaux

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Joel Craig Robideaux
Louisiana State Representative from District 45 (Lafayette Parish)
In office
April 2004 – January 2012
Preceded by Jerry Luke LeBlanc
Speaker Pro Tempore of the Louisiana House of Representatives
In office
March 2010 – January 2012
Preceded by Karen Carter Peterson
Succeeded by Walt Leger, III
Personal details
Born October 1962
Lafayette, Louisiana
Nationality American
Political party Independent-turned-Republican (2011)
Spouse(s) Bobette M. Robideaux
Children Three sons
Alma mater Our Lady of Fatima High School

University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Louisiana State University

Occupation Certified Public Accountant
Religion Roman Catholic

Joel Craig Robideaux (born October 1962) is a Certified Public Accountant from Lafayette, Louisiana, who is an Independent-turned-Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from District 45 in Lafayette Parish. In 2010, he was narrowly elected Speaker Pro Tempore of the chamber, the first then Independent ever to hold the position.[1]

On September 1, 2011, Robidaux announced that he was joining the Republican Party. Earlier Robideaux was chosen Speaker Pro Tempore over the Democrat Noble Ellington of Winnsboro, who later switched to Republican affiliation. The contest became open with the resignation of Democratic Representative Karen Carter Peterson, who instead became a state senator. In the heated campaign to choose Peterson's successor, Speaker Tucker even removed Representative John Schroder of Covington in St. Tammany Parish from the House Appropriations Committee because Tucker claimed that Schroder had reneged from a prior pledge to support Robideaux, instead of Ellington. Schroder denied having ever made such a commitment to support Robideaux.[2]


A Lafayette native, Robideaux graduated from Roman Catholic Our Lady of Fatima High School and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, then known as the University of Southwestern Louisiana. He obtained a master's degree in finance from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Robideaux coaches youth sports and has taught accounting on an adjunct basis at ULL. He was the charter president of Kiwanis International of Vermilion. He is a former board member for Camp Bon Coeur and Habitat for Humanity. He and his wife, Bobette M. Robideaux, have three sons.[3] In 2007, Robideaux and his Louisiana State Senate colleague Michael J. Michot of Lafayette sponsored the transportation bill to fund priority road projects.

Legislative service[edit]

Robideaux was first elected to the House in a special election held in the spring of 2004 to succeed Democrat Jerry Luke LeBlanc, who resigned to become the commissioner of administration under incoming Governor Kathleen Blanco of Lafayette. Robideaux finished second in the special election, with 1,622 votes (27 percent). Leading the five-candidate field was Republican Steven G. "Buzz" Durio, with 1,850 votes (30.9 percent). Two other Republicans, Denice Comeaux-Skinner and L. T. "Butch" Dupre, and another Independent, Beverly Broussard Wilson, polled the remaining but critical 42 percent of the vote. No Democrat ran that year.[4] In the second balloting on April 17, Robideaux defeated Durio, 2,751 (55 percent) to 2,223 (44.7 percent).[5]

Unopposed for a second term in 2007, Robideaux served on these committees: (1) Retirement, (2) Ways and Means, (3) Appropriations (ex officio by virtue of being Speaker Pro Tempore), (4) Joint Legislative Committee on Capital Outlay, (5) Legislative Budgetary Control Council, (6) House Executive Committee (ex officio), and (7) Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget (ex officio).[6]

In 2010, Robideaux voted 100 percent with the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry. He supported the Louisiana Family Forum 90 percent of the time in 2010 but only 75 percent in 2009. In 2011, he voted against a failed proposal to ban hand-held cellular devices while driving. He also opposed an increase in the state tobacco tax.[7]

District 45 is heavily conservative, pro-life, and Catholic. Included in the district is the southwestern portion of Lafayette Parish, including the city of Scott and the area about ULL, the University Medical Center, and the Cajundome.[8]

Speaker candidacy[edit]

Robideaux, as a newly-declared Republican, was a runaway winner over his lone opponent, Libertarian W. David Chance, in the primary election held on October 22, 2011.[9]

Robideaux was a candidate for Speaker in 2012. On October 25, 2011, Governor Bobby Jindal endorsed Chuck Kleckley of Lake Charles as his choice to succeed the term-limited Jim Tucker as Speaker.[10] Others seeking the Speakership were Baton Rouge Republican Representatives Hunter Greene and Erich Ponti and the Democrat Jeff Arnold of New Orleans.[11] Because the House of Representatives usually confirms the governor's choice as the Speaker, Robideaux soon abandoned the competition.

Outgoing Speaker Tucker, meanwhile, narrowly lost his race against GOP incumbent Tom Schedler for Louisiana Secretary of State in the 2011 primary election.[12]


  1. ^ "Joel Robideaux Becomes Louisiana's First Independent Speaker Pro Tempore". Retrieved August 30, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Rep. John Schroder says he "never lied" to House speaker about pro-tem vote, April 6, 2010". Retrieved August 28, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Joel Robideaux: State Representative". Retrieved August 30, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Louisiana special election legislative returns, March 9, 2004". Retrieved August 30, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Louisiana special election runoff legislative returns, April 17, 2004". Retrieved August 30, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Rep. Joel C. Robideaux". Retrieved August 30, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Rep. Joel C. Robideaux". Retrieved August 30, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Rep. Robideaux, Joel C.". Retrieved August 30, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Louisiana primary election returns, October 22, 2011". Retrieved October 22, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Jindal to support Kleckley in speaker race". Retrieved October 26, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Mark Ballard, "Greene joins candidates for speaker of La. House"". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved July 14, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Term-limited Tucker seeking Secretary of State". Retrieved August 9, 2011. 
Louisiana House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jerry Luke LeBlanc
Louisiana State Representative from District 45 (Lafayette Parish)

Joel Craig Robideaux

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Karen Carter Peterson
Speaker Pro Tempore of the Louisiana House of Representatives

Joel Craig Robideaux

Succeeded by