History shows how Louisiana can benefit from Rep. Scalise's new, powerful position

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - As the newly elected House Majority Whip, Rep. Steve Scalise ascends to the number three leadership position for House Republicans.

Political analysts says Louisiana can benefit by having a representative as one of the most powerful positions in Congress.

Scalise ran for bear hugs with his family once he learned he was elected House Majority Whip, and political analysts say Louisianans should be just as excited to have him in the role.

"This is huge for Louisiana. Whether you're a democrat or a republican, you should be celebrating whenever a member of Louisiana's congressional delegation is in a position of power," said Tulane Political Analyst Mike Sherman.

Scalise's main power as majority whip will be setting the House agenda amongst a small group of leadership.

"The real power in Congress isn't just the votes at the end of the day. It's framing the issues. That's the job of the membership," said Sherman, "determining what the members are able to vote on. There's a small elite group that does that."

That type of national power has proven profitable for Louisiana throughout history.

It's even believed that the NFL gave New Orleans the beloved Saints in the 60s in part because of the political clout of then Senator Russell Long and House Majority Leader Hale Boggs.

It's also believed that Russell Long influenced General Motors to open an auto factory in Shreveport, which employed Louisianans for decades.

"Livingston, Breaux, Tauzin - these names command respect in political circles as powerful members of congress from Louisiana. Today we add Steve Scalise to that list," said Sherman.

Scalise said he'll use what he's learned as chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee to move forward.

"I've worked very hard over that year and a half that I've been chairman to build consensus, to move conservative solutions forward in a way that unites our conference and solves problems facing our country," said Scalise.

How much his new influence will benefit Louisiana will remain to be seen as he works in a much different political environment than his predecessors.

"Now living in a post earmark world, a question will be, will Steve Scalise govern with a national agenda, and to what extent will he be able to carve out niches of local importance like he did going against his own party on flood insurance," said Sherman.

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