Rep. Armes defends record against low LABI score

State Rep. James Armes, D-Leesville, responded Thursday to his low ranking on a scorecard released earlier this week by the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.

The group gave Armes a grade of 4 percent Monday on its annual scorecard, which rates state lawmakers on their support of LABI-backed measures.

The organization gave perfect scores to three state senators, 13 state representatives and House Speaker Taylor Barras, saying those lawmakers voted to promote growth in the private-sector economy.

In a statement released Thursday, Armes said his responsibility didn’t lie in solely supporting LABI.

“I have been a businessman for more than 40 years. I know what it takes to run a business in this state and I know what hurts businesses in my state,” Armes said. “I also have a business in my House district that has the second-largest payroll in the state — Fort Polk.”

Armes said his grade was only based on 21 votes, and he called it “highly selective if you factor in the other 900-plus bills that were debated” during this year’s legislative session.

“None of the ‘budget reforms’ passed the session,” Armes said. “I promise you that we will be in the same position that we were in seven sessions ago. We are facing another billion-dollar shortfall, and it will be ‘Groundhog Day’ again come March 12, 2018.”

Armes serves on the House Appropriations and Natural Resources committees and is chairman of the Special Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs.

In May, a bill by Armes was the first measure from the session to be signed into law by the governor. It set up the Louisiana Military Medics and Corpsman Pilot Program.

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