SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – As news continues to spread about the passing of Louisiana Congressman-Elect Luke Letlow, state and local GOP leaders have taken to social media to express their condolences.
The 41-year-old husband and father died from complications of COVID-19 Tuesday, just days before he was set to be sworn into Congress to represent Louisiana’s 5th district, which encompasses Northeast Louisiana and much of central Louisiana, as well as the northern part of Louisiana’s Florida parishes in the southeastern region of the state.
“Shocking news that’s going throughout our state and it hurts,” said Louisiana State Rep. Dodie Horton, who represents District 9 in Bossier Parish (R-La).
“It is now public that Luke Letlow has died, a young man recently elected to represent Louisiana’s 5th congressional district. Leaving behind a beautiful wife now widow, two young, young children remember them all in your prayers,” said United States Senator Bill Cassidy, (R-La). “So as you remember Luke, his widow, and children in your prayers. Remember as well be careful with COVID do everything we know we should do,” said Senator Cassidy.
Letlow tested positive for the coronavirus on December 18 and had been receiving treatment at St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe, but was transferred to Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport on December 23, where he remained in the ICU until his death.
He was set to succeed his former boss, Rep. Ralph Abraham, a Republican from Alto, who did not seek reelection. Letlow had been Abraham’s chief of staff.
Letlow’s former opponent in that race has also issued a statement in response to the news of Letlow’s death.
“Leetha and I were heartbroken to hear of the passing of Congressman-elect Luke Letlow,” La. Dist 25 Rep. Lance Harris said in a statement Wednesday to KTVE/KARD. “Luke represented everything that is good about our country and our state and would have been an incredible congressman. His passion for public service was only surpassed by his love for his family.
Louisiana’s Congressional delegation, led by House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, released a joint statement calling Letlow “had such a positive spirit, and a tremendously bright future ahead of him.”
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a statement mourning the loss of Letlow, announcing that he has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff on the day of his funeral.
“Tonight, the United States House of Representatives sadly mourns the passing of Congressman-elect Luke Letlow. Congressman-elect Letlow was a ninth generation Louisianan who fought passionately for his point of view and dedicated his life to public service. As the House grieves Congressman-elect Letlow’s passing, our sorrow is compounded by the grief of so many other families who have also suffered lives cut short by this terrible virus. May it be a comfort to Luke’s wife Julia and their children Jeremiah and Jacqueline that so many mourn their loss and are praying for them at this sad time,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement released Tuesday night.
The Louisiana GOP, Attorney General Jeff Landry, and former Gov. Bobby Jindal have also all released statements remembering Letlow.
“When speaking to him he was always so kind and eager to help our constituents because you know he saw our constituents as his, even though he was in a different congressional district he saw all Louisianan’s the same and I always appreciated that,” said Rep. Horton.
“Luke Letlow loved Louisiana, he loved public service. He worked with Congressman Abraham for a number of years. And Louisiana has lost a true patriot, and a leader, a young leader,” said Caddo Parish Republican Party ChairmanLouis Avallone.
And they remember him being a public servant to all.
“His willingness to put himself out there for people he didn’t know and willingness to serve, just so grateful for that and his kind spirit will definitely be missed,” said Horton.