Representative Stephen Carter took top honors as the 2017 LegisGator of the Year at the Chamber SWLA’s 12th Annual LegisGator Awards Luncheon at L’Auberge Casino Resort in Lake Charles. Eight hundred and fifty Chamber members, colleagues, elected officials and visitors were in attendance to recognize Carter and dozens of state legislators honored for their commitment to the Chamber’s pro-business legislative agenda during the 2017 Legislative Session.

“The purpose of our LegisGator Luncheon is to thank the members of the state legislature and our congressional delegation for supporting the pro-business agenda of the Chamber Southwest Louisiana and our allies. We appreciate their willingness to serve,” said George Swift, President/CEO of the Chamber SWLA.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards keynoted the event which also featured updates from Senator Bill Cassidy, MD, Senator John Kennedy; Congressman Cedric Richmond, Congressman Garrett Graves, Congressman Clay Higgins, Louisiana Speaker of the House Taylor Barras, and Louisiana Senate President John Alario.

Other major award winners:

--Senator Francis Thompson won the Chair's Award for his unwavering advocacy for economic development. (Senator Thompson was unavailable, so his award was accepted by Tana Trichel, President and CEO of the Northeast Louisiana Economic Alliance.)

--Representatives Dorothy Sue Hill, A.B. Franklin, Johnny Guinn and Mark Abraham tied to win the Government Affairs Award for supporting the Chamber’s agenda at the Capitol.

--Senator Norby Chabert won the Fusion Five Award, given to an up-and-coming legislator who displays leadership and affects positive change.

--This year, for the first time, The Chamber SWLA presented a special award to a member of the Louisiana Political Hall of Fame who has never served in office. James “Jim” Beam was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding new reporting and service to the citizens of Southwest Louisiana.

Business Champion Awards were given to legislators who voted with the Chamber’s legislative agenda. Representatives Ed Price (now Senator Price), Johnny Berthelot, Tony Bacala, Clay Schexnayder and Senator Eddie Lambert were all awarded LegisGator Business Champion awards.