The Baton Rouge Metro Council has announced a special meeting to appoint an interim council member to represent East Baton Rouge Parish's 8th District following the death of Councilman Buddy Amoroso in a West Feliciana Parish bicycle wreck.
The meeting will be held Thursday, July 19 at 5 p.m.
Typically, when an EBR council member dies, the family selects an interim replacement. Whoever is selected as Amoroso's replacement will fill the vacant seat for about nine months until an election in spring 2019. The person elected will then serve the remainder of the term through 2020.
Four democratic council members announced Tuesday they would abstain from voting to fill the vacancy, however, those council members later amended this announcement, saying they would revisit the decision after speaking with Amoroso's widow.
Council members Chauna Banks, LaMont Cole, Erika Green, and Donna Collins-Lewis all said they would abstain from voting to fill Amoroso's vacancy.
Choosing a progressive Democrat to fill the vacant District 8 council seat would be a tremendous blow to the St. George effort!— Chauna Banks-Daniel (@Vote4Chauna) July 10, 2018
It's believed the four Democratic council members said they would abstain from voting to fill the vacancy in an effort to get Governor John Bel Edwards to appoint a replacement himself before a special election can be held at a later date.
Amoroso's wife released a statement in regards to Tuesday's announcement from those council members:
I enjoyed seeing Donna, Erika, and LaMont at Buddy’s funeral services. My family and I appreciated them taking time to attend. They saw, as I did, the tremendous love and support for Buddy and all that he stood for. Politics has its place and time and that is not today. I look forward to visiting with each of them, and Chauna, soon to discuss the best way to represent the voters of District 8, just as Buddy would’ve done.
East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome released a statement Tuesday evening as well:
It’s important for everyone to remember that we are still mourning the death of our former colleague. We have a longstanding tradition and precedent in which members of the metro council allow the family of the deceased member to honor their loved one by being named as the temporary replacement until an election is called. I cannot think of any reason why this should not be the path forward in this instance, if that's the wish of his widow, Denise.
There are times when we must put politics aside for the greater good of the community and I strongly believe this is one of those times.
Later in the night, the four council members sent an additional release, saying they will reconsider their decision after speaking with Amoroso's widow, Denise.
Prior to Denise Amoroso making any public comments, a number of people residing in District 8 reached out to us relative to being appointed to the vacant seat. We wanted all of them to know we will not vote to appoint anyone to the seat.
Now that we know Mrs. Amoroso is strongly considering filling the seat, we too look forward to having a face-to-face discussion with her about the best path forward in terms of representation for the district.
We will revisit our decision after our conversation with Denise Amoroso.
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