Eric Skrmetta

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Eric Skrmetta
Louisiana Public Service Commissioner
Assumed office
January 1, 2009
Preceded by Jay Blossman
Personal details
Born Eric Frederick Skrmetta
(1958-10-01) October 1, 1958 (age 58)
New Orleans, Orleans Parish
Louisiana, USA
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Deborah Gibson Skrmetta
Children

Raphael Quentin Skrmetta III

Marcia Elizabeth Skrmetta
Residence Metairie, Jefferson Parish
Louisiana
Alma mater

Louisiana State University
Southern University Law Center

Tulane University Law School
Occupation Attorney
Religion Roman Catholic

Eric Frederick Skrmetta (born October 1, 1958) is an attorney from Metairie, Louisiana, who is a Republican member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission for District 1, which includes suburban New Orleans, the eastern Florida Parishes, and the River Parishes.[1]

The Public Service Commission is an influential regulatory agency which was the political springboard for former Governors Huey Long, Jimmie Davis, and John McKeithen.[2] Skrmetta is a member of the Louisiana Republican Party State Central Committee and the Jefferson Parish Republican Executive Committee.

Education and background[edit]

Skrmetta's parents were the late Alfreda Gertrude Duffel Skrmetta and Raphael Quentin "Ray" Skrmetta, Sr. (c. 1921–2012) of Metairie in Jefferson Parish. Ray Skrmetta was born in Biloxi, Mississippi, and made his living as a processor and packer in the seafood industry. After service as a cadet in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II, Ray Skrmetta founded Skrmetta Machinery Corporation and developed several inventions used in the seafood processing business. He subsequently acquired Southern Shell Fish Company in Harvey and was a member of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board. Eric Skrmetta's paternal grandparents were Paul Cecil Skrmetta, a native of the island of Brač in the Adriatic Sea, within Croatia, and the former Elizabeth Nora Grantham, originally from Bay Springs in Jasper County, Mississippi. Skrmetta has a brother, Dennis M. Skrmetta and a sister, Barbara D. Skrmetta and her husband, Whitner Church. A second brother, Raphael, Jr., is deceased.[3]

Eric Skrmetta graduated from Brother Martin High School in his native New Orleans. While at Brother Martin, Eric was a member of ROTC. He then attended Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where in 1981 he received his Bachelor of Science degree in industrial technology. While at LSU he was a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity. In 1985, he was a cum laude graduate (Juris Doctor) of Southern University Law Center, passed the Louisiana bar exam, and entered the practice of law. In 1986, Skrmetta received his LL.M. in admiralty law from Tulane University Law School. Since 1989, he has focused on legal mediation. He holds the District 81 seat on the Louisiana Republican State Central Committee. In 2003, he ran unsuccessfully for the District 81 seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives.[4] The position instead went to the strongly pro-life Republican John LaBruzzo, also of Metairie, who was unseated in his bid for a third term in 2011.

Election 2008[edit]

Skrmetta won the race for Public Service Commissioner in a runoff on November 4, 2008, after two other candidates (Bruce Kincade and Kenneth L. Odinet, Sr.) were eliminated in the nonpartisan blanket primary. His runoff opponent was former Public Service Commissioner John F. Schwegmann, a former Democrat who had no party affiliation.[5] Skrmetta assumed his commissionership office on January 1, 2009, for a term ending on December 31, 2014. Skrmetta's campaign demonstrated the political utility of open web sites such as Facebook.[6]

Public Service Commissioner[edit]

Skrmetta is one of five public service commissioners; colleagues include Foster Campbell and Clyde C. Holloway. Skrmetta authored a new order that more thoroughly regulates taxicab service, improving public safety. He worked with local utilities to make payment centers more convenient, protected consumers from unwanted Smart Meter installation, and worked with AT&T to make delivery of phone directories optional, saving money and environmental impact. Skrmetta worked with regulators to regionalize management of electricity in a more free-market approach, and oversaw a major transmission project in Acadiana that improves delivery and reliability of services. He fought against federal regulations that overburdened utility providers, saving costs that would have been passed on to ratepayers. Skrmetta’s efforts have saved Louisiana ratepayers more than $4 billion. Skrmetta worked with utility providers to improve disaster response and utility restoration, and encouraged utility companies to enhance pre-storm preparations like tree trimming and other advance remedies. He also fought utility companies when they wanted unjustified recovery charges from consumers. Skrmetta worked to expand residential solar access without across-the-board ratepayers subsidies, and worked to improve water systems throughout his district. Skrmetta protected prison telephone monitoring systems to keep criminals from being able to use telecommunications to threaten witnesses or direct new crimes.

Skrmetta has twice served as Chairman of the Commission, and on the Board of Directors of the Mid-Continent Independent Service Organization, and on committees of the National Association of Regulatory and Utility Commissioners.

Election of 2014[edit]

On November 4, 2014, Skrmetta was forced into a December 6 runoff election with the Democrat-turned-Republican Forest Gabriel Bradley-Wright (born 1977), a consumer advocate. Bradley-Wright led a three-candidate field with 99,271 votes (38.5 percent). Skrmetta followed with 95,372 votes (37 percent), and another Republican, Allen "Al" Leone, trailed with 63,442 votes (24.6 percent).[7]

By a margin of 4,037 votes, Skrmetta won reelection in 2014 to the PSC. He polled 119,684 votes (50.85 percent) to Bradley-Wright's 115,647 (49.15 percent).

Personal life[edit]

Skrmetta and his wife, the former Deborah Gibson, have two children. They are involved in various religious and community organizations, reside in Metairie, and attend Saint Catherine of Siena Roman Catholic Church there.[8]

In addition to his political involvement, Eric has been involved with many civic and community organizations including; The Greater New Orleans Causeway Commission, the FBI Citizens Academy, the Jefferson Parish Chamber of Commerce, the Louisiana Film Foundation, the East Jefferson YMCA, the Boy Scouts of America, the New Orleans Air Show as well as a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In alphabetical order the parishes partly or wholly represented by Skrmetta are Ascension, Jefferson, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Saint Bernard, Saint Charles, Saint Helena, Saint John the Baptist, Saint Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington. District 1 thus has a reversed-"C" shape; if it contained East Baton Rouge Parish on its western side, District 1 would form a complete loop with radius in the Greater New Orleans area.
  2. ^ Skrmetta on Votesmart.org, Skrmetta on Peoplefinders.com.
  3. ^ "Raphael Quentin "Ray" Skrmetta, Sr.". New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved June 10, 2012. 
  4. ^ Skrmetta profile on the PSC site.
  5. ^ Louisiana 2008 PSC 1 second round results. See also Robert Travis Scott, “John Schwegmann, Eric Skrmetta face off for PSC post” in Times-Picayune (New Orleans), 2008 October 06 (accessed 2009 June 17).
  6. ^ Skrmetta’s Facebook campaign site.
  7. ^ "Election Results for 11/4/2014". staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved November 5, 2014. 
  8. ^ "The Candidates - Public Service Commission, 1st District" (PDF). The Times-Picayune. 2008-09-09. Retrieved 2015-11-10. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Jay Blossman
Louisiana Public Service Commissioner from District 1

Eric Frederick Skrmetta
2009–

Succeeded by
Incumbent