BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana Congressman-elect Luke Letlow died 10 days after being hospitalized at Ochsner LSU Health in Shreveport with COVID-19, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Tuesday night on Twitter.
“Congressman-elect Letlow felt a calling from a young age to serve the people of his home state, working behind the scenes for former Governor Bobby Jindal and serving as chief of staff to Congressman Ralph Abraham, who he was recently elected to succeed,” Edwards said. “COVID-19 has taken Congressman-elect Letlow from us far too soon. I am heartbroken that he will not be able to serve our people as a U.S. Representative, but I am even more devastated for his loving family. I hope all of the people of Louisiana will join Donna and me in praying for Congressman-elect Letlow’s family, especially his wife Julia and their two children, his many friends and the people of the 5th Congressional District. Louisiana has lost more than 7,300 people to COVID-19 since March, and each one of them leaves a tremendous hole in our state.”
Gov. Edwards has ordered flags to be flown at half staff on the day of Congressman-elect Letlow’s funeral.
Letlow was elected to succeed Ralph Abraham to represent District 5 in Congress, which includes part of East and West Feliciana. He recently turned 41 and leaves behind a wife and two young children.
A spokesperson for Gov. John Bel Edwards says qualifying for the election for Letlow’s seat will start Jan. 20, 2021. The primary election will be held in March 2021.
“Luke was part of our family. We loved him. We’re gonna miss him,” Abraham said. “He loved America. He loved his God and he loved his family.”
State leaders, including Gov. Edwards, offered their condolences on Twitter.
“Luke Letlow led an honorable life in public service to our State and our Nation,” Attorney General Jeff Landry said in a press release. “Luke was a true statesman committed to making Louisiana better. Luke’s death is a great tragedy, and Sharon’s and my prayers are with Julia and the kids.”
House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-La.), Congressman Ralph Abraham (R-La.), Congressman Garret Graves (R-La.), Senator John Kennedy (R-La.), Congressman Clay Higgins (R-La.), and Congressman Mike Johnson (R-La.) released the following statement on the passing of Congressman-Elect Luke Letlow:
“We are devastated to hear of Luke Letlow’s passing. Luke had such a positive spirit, and a tremendously bright future ahead of him. He was looking forward to serving the people of Louisiana in Congress, and we were excited to welcome him to our delegation where he was ready to make an even greater impact on our state and our Nation. More than anything, Luke was a loving husband, father, brother, and son, and his family – like so many others who have been affected by this evil disease – needs our prayers. “We all join in sending our strongest support to Luke’s wife Julia and their young family, and are keeping them in our prayers.”
Rep. Clay Schexnayder, speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives, also issued a statement on Letlow’s passing:
“We were heartbroken to hear of the passing of Congressman-elect Luke Letlow.
“Luke served as Congressman Abraham’s Chief of Staff before running and winning the election to represent Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District. He died on Tuesday after battling COVID-19, leaving behind his wife Julia and two very young children.
“As I sit here this morning thinking about the friend we lost way too soon, I am reminded of how we should take advantage of the time we have with the ones we love. It makes me think about what’s important in life. It’s so easy to say; ‘I’ll be right back,’ ‘hold on I’m busy’ or even ‘give daddy a minute. I’ll read you a book later’.
“This pandemic is real and it’s taken too many of our loved ones. Too many husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, daughters and sons.
“Luke lived his life fully and loved his family and friends with all of his heart. Pray for his family today and hold yours close. We do not know how much time we are given and should take advantage of every second we have.”
Funeral services will be held Jan. 2 in Monroe for Letlow.
A special election will be held March 20.
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