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JANUARY 12, 2004

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In special inaugural ceremonies in the Louisiana State Senate Chamber, members of the 2004-2008 State Senate took the oath of office and were officially seated as State Senators. Among the 39 members are eight new State Senators including an additional three women members. The Senators, after taking the oath of office from former Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Jimmy Fitzmorris, chose their leadership.

Senate President Donald E. Hines being sworn into officeBy a unanimous vote, the members of the Louisiana State Senate chose District 28 State Senator Don Hines (D- Bunkie) as the new Senate President. Senators Joe McPherson and Sherri Smith Cheek, who nominated the 70 year old family physician for the leadership post, noted Senator Hinesí commitment and compassion for Louisianaís families and children and his sense of fairness.

Senator Hines began his service in the senate in 1993. With wife Jackie by his side and his family and friends watching on, he took the oath of office from Third Circuit Court of Appeal Judge John Saunders who preceded Hines as the District 28 State Senator. The new president then asked his fellow senators for their help.

"I know that we have serious challenges ahead of us, but as I have studied our membership and looked around this body and seen the individual ability and the individual talent I know that if we can harness that ability and talent into a collective effort we can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles," Senate President Hines said. "That is why I ask for your help, I ask for your prayers and your support. With your support and divine guidance, we can do the job. We not only can, we must. For Louisiana is on the dawn of a new day and if we can work together we can make the sun shine all over this state."

Helping Senate President Hines direct the work of the 2004-2008 Louisiana StateSenate President Pro Tempore Diana E. Bajoie being sworn into office Senate is District 5 State Senator Diana Bajoie (D-New Orleans). Also elected by a unanimous vote, Senator Bajoie becomes the first woman to serve as Louisiana Senate President Pro-tempore. Nineteenth Judicial District Judge Janice Clark administered the oath of office to Senator Bajoie, the first African-American woman elected to the Senate and the only woman in the Louisiana House of Representatives when she began her legislative service 27 years ago.

Termed as a vanguard for the least of these and noted for her tireless compassion by Senators Charles Jones, Paulette Irons and Cleo Fields who nominated Senator Bajoie for the President Pro-tempore post, Senator Bajoie described her selection to the leadership position as a truly emotional moment.

"When I was serving in the House of Representatives as a young woman in her twenties, I didnít think I would ever get elected to the Senate and I definitely didnít think I would ever be elected Senate President Pro-tempore. It was a different time and different legislature," Senator Bajoie said. "It makes me realize that for all of the young people coming behind there are new doors open to them and that they too can accomplish their goal. It is a new Louisiana and I think a better Louisiana."

For twenty members of the 2004-2008 Louisiana Senate this will be their last term, unable to run for re-election because of term limits. For eight members, this is their first term. The new members are State Senators Jody Amedee, Bob Kostelka, Nick Gautreaux, Ann Duplessis, Lydia Jackson, Sherri Smith Cheek, Walter Boasso and Ben Nevers. District 33 State Senator Robert Barham was unable to attend the ceremonies because of a death in his family. Senate Secretary Mike Baer said arrangements were made for Senator Barham to be sworn into office in Northeast Louisiana.



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