John Frank LaBruzzo
|Louisiana State Representative for|
District 81 (then Jefferson Parish)
2004 – January 9, 2012
|Preceded by||Jennifer Sneed Heebe|
|Succeeded by||Clay Schexnayder|
|Born||July 6, 1970|
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
|Spouse(s)||Brandi Davison LaBruzzo|
|Residence||Metairie, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana|
|Alma mater||Louisiana State University|
John Frank LaBruzzo (born July 6, 1970) is a businessman from Metairie, Louisiana, who is a Republican former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from District 81 in Jefferson Parish. LaBruzzo occupied the legislative district formerly held by Charles Cusimano, David Duke, and David Vitter. However, effective in January 2012, part of the district, including LaBruzzo's "Bucktown" residence, merged into neighboring District 94 in New Orleans.
A New Orleans native, LaBruzzo graduated from the Roman Catholic boarding and day school, St. Stanislaus, located in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He is employed in the fields of medical equipment and real estate sales.
LaBruzzo and his wife, the former Brandi M. Davison, originally from Baton Rouge, reside in Metairie with their young daughters, Ava and Emme LaBruzzo. He had immediately begun campaigning for the District 94 seat upon the close of the 2011 legislative session.
District 81 formerly included a section of Metairie, a large unincorporated area of Jefferson Parish, near the storied 17th Street Canal, which was breached in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The district consisted of the mostly residential neighborhoods of "Bucktown" (until redistricting moved this area to District 94), "Hog Alley," and "Old Metairie."
Many of the residents were upper income, especially in the Old Metairie neighborhoods near the Metairie Country Club and enclaves on Metairie Road. There were pockets too of older, blue-collar residents and mostly middle-class whites. The district was arguably one of the most conservative in the state and had a large number of declared Republican voters.
In the House, LaBruzzo served on the Civil Law and Procedure, Health and Welfare, and Labor and Industrial Relations committees.
In the nonpartisan blanket primary for House District 81 held in October 2003, the Republican incumbent Jennifer Sneed Heebe did not seek a second term but was instead elected to the Jefferson Parish Council. John LaBruzzo led a large field of candidates in the primary with 4,111 votes (25.6 percent). He was placed in a runoff with fellow Republican Mickey Landry, who trailed with 3,717 votes (23.1 percent). Eric Skrmetta, later a member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission, finished third with 2,488 votes (15.5 percent). Three other Republicans and a Democrat held the balance of the votes cast. In the second round of balloting, called the general election in Louisiana even if both candidates are of the same partisan affiliation, LaBruzzo prevailed with 10,142 votes (57.5 percent) to Landry's 7,504 votes (42.5 percent). LaBruzzo was unopposed for his second term in 2007.
In June 2005, Representative LaBruzzo, in only his second year in the House, entered the special election contest for the District 6 seat in the Louisiana State Senate vacated by the death of veteran Republican lawmaker John Hainkel. He finished fifth of seven candidates in the running, having received 1,772 votes (10 percent). Republicans Julie Quinn and Diane Winston entered the runoff election in July, and Quinn prevailed. In the Senate race, LaBruzzo had argued that he was more conservative than his intraparty rivals.
Voluntary sterilization proposal
|Wikinews has related news: Voluntary sterilization of poor women proposed by Louisiana state legislator|
On September 23, 2008, LaBruzzo raised controversy by proposing that women who receive public welfare benefits should receive $1,000 if they voluntarily choose to be sterilized. The proposal was criticized by opponents as "racist, sexist, unethical, and immoral."
The plan was similar to a previous proposal by former Representative David Duke, whose 1991 legislation offered $100 a year to welfare recipients who used Norplant. That proposal too was defeated. LaBruzzo's proposal urged permanent sterilization, rather than the temporary birth control advocated by Duke. Norplant has a 5-year period of effectiveness.
You don't know whether to laugh at him or run from him. He comes up with all kinds of outlandish proposals. They don't go anywhere. They keep him in the news, and maybe if that's what a politician is looking for, maybe he's accomplishing his purpose."
The public furor and negative reaction that arose over LaBruzzo's proposal led to his losing a leadership position. On October 6, 2008, he was removed by Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives Jim Tucker as the vice chairman of the House Health and Welfare Committee.
LaBruzzo was among the most ardently pro-life of Louisiana state legislators. In 2011, he defended a bill that he introduced to establish a "prosecutable crime for doctors" who perform abortions except in medical emergencies:
I can assure you if abortion is illegal, it will have a dramatic decrease in the number of abortions that take place. Now the opponents in the opposition argue that whether we make it illegal or not, people are going to get abortions. Well, we’ve illegalized [sic] murder and drugs for a long, long time, and yet those crimes continue to take place. And it’s not our stance here to say that "just because people smoke pot and break the law or use heroin and break the law, then we should legalize it." There are many who say we should. But we don’t agree, we don’t think so. We think it’s wrong and it’s best to keep it illegal ... This is the pro-life bill. And I think you’d [his colleagues] be in a difficult situation if you voted against this bill and tried to convince everybody that you are ardently pro-life.
2011 primary defeat
Under the House redistricting plan, LaBruzzo was placed into the same district as neighboring first-term Republican Representative Nicholas Lorusso in District 94, and the two faced each other in the primary held on October 22, 2011. Lorusso prevailed with 5,087 votes (56.6 percent) to LaBruzzo's 3,909 (43.5 percent). Governor Bobby Jindal had remained neutral in the Lorusso-LaBruzzo showdown, but Senator Vitter had appeared with Lorusso even though Vitter's Committee for a Republican Majority made no endorsement in the contest.
LaBruzzo had considered not running again for the House in 2011 but instead seeking to succeed Jennifer Heebe, his House predecessor, in the District 5 seat on the Jefferson Parish Council in a special election held on April 4, 2009.
The District 81 seat is now held by Republican Clay Schexnayder of Ascension Parish, a businessman who polled 5,549 votes (64 percent) in the low-turnout general election held on November 19, 2011. Schexnayder defeated Democrat Kevin Hull, who received 3,116 votes (36 percent). In 2015, Schnexnayder was one four Republicans on the House Civil Law and Procedure Committee who voted to table the Marriage and Conscience Act sponsored by conservative Representative Mike Johnson of Bossier Parish.
2015 comeback falls short
In the primary election for the District 9 seat in the Louisiana Senate held on October 24, 2015, LaBruzzo fell short in his challenge to incumbent fellow Republican Conrad Appel. LaBruzzo polled 11,109 votes (43 percent) to Appel's 14,701 (57 percent).
- "Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2012" (PDF). house.louisiana.gov. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 6, 2014. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
- "Drew Broach, "John LaBruzzo wastes no time campaigning in new district", May 10, 2011". New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
- "John LaBruzzo". house.louisiana.gov. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
- "John LaBruzzo: State Representative: Honest, Outspoken, Conservative". johnlabruzzo.com. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
- "Louisiana primary election returns, October 4, 2003". staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
- "Louisiana general election returns, November 15, 2003". staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
- "Louisiana special election returns, June 4, 2005". staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
- New Orleans Times-Picayune, June 1, 2005
- "LaBruzzo considering plan to pay poor women $1,000 to have tubes tied". NOLA.com. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
- Lewin, Tamar (November 29, 1991). "5-Year Contraceptive Implant Seems Headed for Wide Use". The New York Times. Retrieved May 6, 2010.
- "LaBruzzo no stranger to controversy, criticism". ourcampaigns.com. September 28, 2008. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
- "Rep. LaBruzzo loses House vice-chair over sterilization remarks". NOLA.com. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
- "Tanya Somanader, "LA GOP Rep Defends Bill Banning Abortion, Compares Women Seeking Abortion to Heroin Addicts", June 6, 2011". thinkprogress.org. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
- "Louisiana primary election returns, October 22, 2011". staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
- "Bill Barrow, "Gov. Bobby Jindal makes endorsements, but not for lieutenant governor, secretary of state," September 13, 2011". nola.com. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
- Richard Rainey (August 19, 2008). "Jennifer Sneed resigns Jefferson Parish Council". New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
- Louisiana Secretary of State, General election returns, November 19, 2011
- Emily Lane (May 19, 2015). "Louisiana's religious freedom bill effectively defeated in committee". Retrieved May 20, 2015.
- "Results for Election Date: 10/24/2015". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
|Louisiana House of Representatives|
Jennifer Sneed Heebe
| Louisiana State Representative for
District 81 (then Jefferson Parish but since Ascension, Livingston, St. James, and St. John the Baptist parishes)
John Frank LaBruzzo