BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Lawmakers are sounding off after former Senator Troy Brown chose to step down before possibly getting thrown out of the legislature.
The news of Brown's resignation was met with a slew of reaction from the senate chamber Thursday night and many of his former colleagues did not hold back their true feelings.
When asked what his initial thoughts were on Brown's resignation, Sen. Dan Claitor responded, "Good riddance and good luck."
Claitor, one of two senators who filed a resolution to get rid of Brown, called his exit less than graceful and accused the former lawmaker of never fully accepting responsibility for his actions. He says that is typical of domestic abusers.
"They won't take responsibility for their own actions and so they want to blame everyone else for what they've done, so typical as far as I'm concerned," Claitor added.
Other lawmakers did not pull their punches either, saying the choice to pursue expulsion proceedings sends a strong message, not just to Brown, but to the many victims of domestic violence across the state.
"This is truly a heinous act and no one's above it," said Sen. J.P. Morrell. "I think the message that this proceeding sent was that we take these matters seriously."
Brown though, slammed the hearing as an execution. He said it seemed as if most senators had already made up their minds as the proceedings first got underway. Brown said he has since publicly apologized for his actions and said he believed after reviewing senate rules that he still had a shot at keeping his role in the legislature. He admitted at a press conference Thursday afternoon that what he did was wrong, but said everyone makes mistakes.
"I don't like my past actions, but I think every last one of us in this world has past actions that we will regret at times," Brown added.
Sen. Yvonne Colomb, one of the few lawmakers not happy with the outcome, said she is against domestic violence, but remains on Brown's side. She said a senate rule clearly states that a member can't be removed for a misdemeanor. Because lawmakers were seemingly going to remove Brown anyway, Colomb said it introduces a dangerous precedent for future actions by lawmakers.
"Troy Brown did not get justice," Colomb added. "He's dead wrong for hitting a woman. He is absolutely dead wrong, but yesterday in the body, many of my colleagues sat there and they voted against their own rules."
The process, whether fair or not, is over, and many lawmakers say they can now put it behind them and fully commit to what they were called into special session for: crafting the state budget.
"We have a lot of work left to do and I appreciate that it is not a distraction any longer and we're going to get down to the business of taking care of the budget," Claitor said.
It is now up to Senate President John Alario to call a special election to replace Brown. Lawmakers expect that could come this fall.