State Representative Julie Emerson Finding Purpose in Public Purpose

State Representative Julie Emerson loves helping others and addressing the needs of her constituents. A Republican representing District 39 which covers Northern Lafayette Parish and Southern St. Landry Parish, Julie was first elected in 2015 at the tender age of 27 and was re-elected in October 2019 to serve another four-year term. On this episode of Discover Lafayette, Julie discusses why it’s important for constituents to have access to their elected officials, why she believes it is important for young people to become involved and be elected to political office, and how her conservative values drive her agenda to get government “out of the way.”

An active Republican since her high school days, Julie Emerson worked with the Republican Party of Louisiana and attended the 2008, 2012, and 2016 state and national conventions. While her family is not overtly partisan, Julie’s avid interest in politics was cemented when the Affordable Care Act was first proposed while she was a biology major at UL-Lafayette; the thought of how this law would affect her potential medical career grabbed her attention and she attended the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis. She’s never looked back as she’s gained an active voice and a seat at the table advancing conservative interests.

Julie currently serves as an elected member of the Republican State Central Committee. While she is no longer the youngest member of the Louisiana Legislature since the recent election of Matthew Willard from New Orleans who is a few months younger than her, she is the youngest Republican female ever elected to the Louisiana legislature. She serves on the House Committees of Appropriations, Agriculture, and Education.

While 50 to 69-year-olds are ‘chronic voters,” the most frequent and dependable voting bloc at election time, Julie believes that Millennial voters need to hear a concise and clear message as to why it’s important to vote. She believes the Republican Party actually represents young voter interests more effectively than a socialist or democratic platform. Most of her friends are not partisan, they just want government “out of their way.” In the podcast, she explained that most busy young parents don’t pay attention because they are busy shuttling their kids to sports, working their way up the career ladder and haven’t yet experienced how government can impact their lives.

In 2018, Julie was named one of the 15 most Persuasive Millenial Politicians and Activists in the U. S. by Micgoat, an online community connecting people to video debate society’s biggest issues in politics, finance, sports and more. Julie is an active proponent of citizen engagement. The following video of Rep. Julie Emerson explaining why all Millennials should be Republican has gained more than 300,000 views on Facebook.

Julie Emerson explains why Millennials need to hear a clear, concise message about why Republican values are much more in line with their basic beliefs in a free market, low taxes, freedom to choose schools, and cheap health insurance. “It’s about time the Grand Ole Party got some fresh new blood.”

An interesting example of how Louisiana government regulation can get in the way of people conducting business involves the hair braiding profession. The Louisiana State Board of Cosmetology requires hair braiders to obtain 500 hours of training to qualify for an “alternative hair design permit,” as opposed to the rules in Mississippi which require a $25 fee with a filled-out application. Julie took up the cause to deregulate this cosmetology overreach, deeming it indicative of the bigger issue of government overreach as well as impractical as no school offered classes in hair braiding at the time. She also took up the cause to deregulate floral designing in Louisiana, which is the only state in the nation to require licensure. Both bills were killed, but Julie retains hope for future action as there is a study committee reviewing licensure requirements.

State Rep. Julie Emerson testifying with Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain at hearing to abolish floral licensing requirements in Louisiana, the only state to require an occupational license for this industry. Photo by Mark Ballard of the Advocate.

Typical issues that are important to constituents include Medicaid and Social Security questions. Julie believes access to elected officials is important and she welcomes calls even when she and her staff need to redirect constituents to the appropriate local or federal officials. Surprisingly, Emerson’s District 30 is represented by three different members of Congress: Representatives Mike Johnson, Clay Higgins, and Ralph Abraham. Knowing the boundaries of each Congressional District has become second nature to her office as they field the various calls for assistance.

Julie’s life outside of politics is full. She serves on the Board of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, a charge she accepted seven years ago, and she is an active member of First Baptist Church of Lafayette. Her two furry buddies, Louie, her seven-month-old puppy, and Nelson, her cat, also keep her busy.

Rep. Julie Emerson may be reached at (337)886-5314 or emersonj@legis.la.gov. For more information, visit
https://www.julieemerson.org/

We thank Rep. Julie Emerson for her dedication to our community and state.