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Jindal Appoints Rodney Alexander Veterans Affairs Secretary

On Tuesday, Rodney Alexander announced he was leaving Congress, and issued a parting statement deriding partisan posturing and the "gridlock" that currently passes for the people's business in D.C. By Wednesday, the six-term Rep was back in an official capacity in government, if unelected. At a stop in Monroe, Gov. Bobby Jindal appointed the North Louisiana Republican to be the state's Secretary of Veterans Affairs.


A statement from the governor's office suggests the Jindal's request is what prompted Alexander to unbuckle himself from the Beltway.


"We have talked to Rodney about how he could continue to serve the people of Louisiana, and I asked Rodney if he would be willing to step in and serve as Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs," Jindal said. "Rodney has graciously agreed to step down from his seat in Congress in order to serve, and I know that he will do an incredible job as Secretary of Veterans Affairs."


Alexander fills the role in place of Interim Secretary David LaCerte. Alexander, of Ruston, will leave his old job on Sept. 26, and begin his new job on Sept. 30, according to Jindal's office.


The appointment comes as Beltway types continue to take notice of Alexander's blunt statement on Tuesday about Washington politics. In an article published at virtually the same time as the appointment was announced, The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza suggests that more people should have paid attention to Alexander's statement.


"That’s a shockingly blunt assessment of the current political landscape by a sitting Member of Congress. (Typically when Members retire it’s to spend “more time with their family” or some such.)," Cillizza wrote. "Alexander’s statement boils down to this: Congress isn’t a very fun place to be and I am done with it."


But Alexander isn't done with Louisiana, or government work. The 66-year-old served in the U.S. Air Force Reserve from 1965-1971, and his first role in politics came at the age of 25. He first ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2002, but changed parties three months before the 2004 election.


"Most importantly, when Rodney went to Washington, he didn't let Washington change him, and he never forgot where he is from," Jindal said.


Jindal will likely call a special election to fill Alexander's seat, since the next regular Congressional election won't be held until November, 2014. State Senators Neil Riser and Mike Walsworth, both Republicans, have already been intimating runs. The Democrats say they are in conversation with state legislators and mayors are on their side of the aisle who are interested.


"Rest assured, this will be a competitive race,” party Executive Director Stephen Handwerk said in a statement.

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