- Associated Press - Friday, June 19, 2015

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The chairman of the state House Commerce Committee has resigned from the Louisiana Legislature.

Rep. Erich Ponti, a Republican from Baton Rouge, announced Friday he has given up his seat to take a job as executive director of the Louisiana Asphalt Pavement Association.

He had previously announced he wasn’t running for re-election this fall. But in a statement, Ponti said he was leaving the House early to avoid “the suggestion or possibility of conflicts.”

Ponti, in office for two terms since 2008, says his legislative office will remain open through the end of the year to assist constituents.

House Speaker Chuck Kleckley’s office said he will set a special election date to fill the vacant House seat, concurrent with the Oct. 24 election date already set in legislative races.

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