|Erich Edward Ponti|
|Louisiana House of Representatives for
District 69 (East Baton Rouge Parish)
January 14, 2008 – June 18, 2015
|Preceded by||Gary James Beard|
|Succeeded by||Paula Davis|
April 30, 1965 |
New Orleans, Louisiana
|Alma mater||University of Louisiana at Monroe|
Erich Edward Ponti (born April 30, 1965), a general contractor from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is a Republican former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives for 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 then Representative Hunter Greene and Republican Representative Joel Robideaux of Lafayette and the Democrat Jeff Arnold of New Orleans, sought support for the speakership. By tradition, the House of Representatives, regardless of partisan makeup, 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 served 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.
Leaving the House
Ponti announced that he would not seek a third term in the House in the non-partisan blanket primary held on October 24, 2015. He announced too his support for the successful candidate to succeed him, former deputy insurance commissioner Paula Davis. He accelerated his departure and left the House with six months remaining in his term. James Ridgley Bullman (born August 1986), a business attorney from Baton Rouge and an LSU graduate who was reared in Texas, ran as a Democrat candidate to succeed Ponti. "I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired of the failed policies of the Jindal administration and the legislature," said Bullman in his statement of candidacy. A Republican, Ryan Eugene Heck (born 1978), a member of the Baton Rouge Metro Council, also entered the contest. Ultimately, Davis won the runoff election and the special election to succeed Ponti. She defeated the second-placed candidate, Ryan Heck, the owner of Cajun Ready-Mix Concrete Company.
On leaving the House, Ponti became the executive director of the Louisiana Asphalt Pavement Association.
- "Membership of the Louisiana House of Representative, 1812-2012" (PDF). legis.state.la.us. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 29, 2009. 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. Archived from the original on September 4, 2010. Retrieved July 17, 2010.
- Baton Rouge Morning Advocate, November 18, 2007
- "Louisiana presidential primary election returns, February 9, 2008". electionresults.sos.louisiana.gov. Archived from the original on September 4, 2010. 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.
- "James Bullman, August 1986". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
- Diana Samuels (June 18, 2015). "Baton Rouge Democrat, attorney James Bullman, to run for Louisiana House". New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
- Andrea Gallo (November 21, 2015). "Paula Davis wins House District 69 seat over challenger Ryan Heck". The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
- Marsha Shuler (June 19, 2015). "Baton Rouge state Rep. Erich Ponti resigns to become Louisiana Asphalt Pavement Association's executive director". The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
|Louisiana House of Representatives|
|Louisiana State Representative for
District 69 (East Baton Rouge Parish)
Erich Edward Ponti