Dusty McGehee: Legislators at the lake

Pictured within the story is State Representative Buddy Mincey (Denham Springs) with one of his catches.

Legislators at the lake

I know better than to write about politics, as this is a subject where my readers could be split 50/50.  But I will make an exception for this, as this is something I believe all of you will enjoy.  Thursday, I was part of the 2nd annual Legislators ProAm fishing tournament on beautiful Lake D’arbonne.  Our State Representative Chris Turner is the man who leads this effort, so we discussed how this event came about and why he is so passionate about it.

Chris Turner was born and raised in Oak Grove and moved to Ruston in 1990 to go to LA Tech.  Chris worked at Super 1 for 24 years and after he left his job at Super 1, he was bombarded by phone calls asking him to run for office.  Why did so many people want him to run for office??  Turner thinks it’s because of his heart for his community. He was known to volunteer about 400 hours a year in our area so people knew where his heart was.  Running a successful campaign, Chris won and is now our State Rep for District 12; he represents all of Union Parish and about half of Lincoln Parish.

How did this start and why?

When you think of politics in La, you think of Interstate 10 North and South.  Everyone says all the money always go south of I-10.  What a better way for people to see Louisiana Tech, Grambling, ULM, basically the whole I-20 corridor.  I wanted to bring everyone up here to show them two of the best places in the country, Squire Creek Country Club and Lake D’Arbonne.  This showcases our area and helps me to get funding up here where needed.

The whole event is to get legislators up here and show them where the resources from Baton Rouge will go and what it will look like.  Once they are able to see that in person, it’s a whole lot easier to sell it.

How many are coming?

This year we have 33 participants out of 105 in the House of Representatives.  This is double what we had last year.  We are growing!

What has the feedback been from the legislators that have attended this in the past?

When I returned to Baton Rouge after this event last year, there were people mad they weren’t invited.  It’s been overwhelming the amount of people that want to come up here and participate.

Is this a common thing for legislators to have a get-together like this event?

I will tell you what’s uncommon….. This one of the only events like this that is not a fundraiser.  I’m strictly doing this to showcase the lake and our area.  In fact, some people from Farmerville wanted to do a fundraiser for me, but I just want to showcase Lincoln and Union parish.  I don’t want any pressure for the legislators, boat captains, or for the guests who come to this event.

What is the latest news on the Mega Ramp proposed for Lake D’arbonne?

Right now, we are looking at where the best location would be, but what’s being proposed is 100 boat trailer area, a docking area that will hold 30-40 boats, and 2-3 pavilions for tournament weigh-ins and other events.  We have national tournaments, local tournaments, and there is no feasible location for all of you to weigh in.  This will greatly help not only the tournament anglers but the weekend warrior who enjoys fishing out here.  I sure hope we can make this happen; I’ve only gotten about 10% of the money but I’m going to fight for the other 90%.

Now talk about the tournament on Thursday… at daylight, 27 legislators were paired up with captains.  I was paired up with District 71 State Rep. Buddy Mincey from the Denham Springs area.  This is the second year we have fished together.  Last year was really tough fishing, and we grinded it out and caught a few… but I guess I showed enough potential for him to request me this year.  The format for this year’s tournament was biggest 5 fish stringer.

The pressure was on!  First thing, I needed this man to get 5 fish in the boat.  Luckily, my first spot panned out and we had five fish in the boat in 45 minutes.  The fishing started off so good Buddy asked the obvious question “Dang Dusty, why didn’t you bring me to this spot last year?!”  We put 15+ fish in the boat in the first three hours.  We actually did so well that we “left fish to find fish” which is a big no-no but I wanted Buddy to see more of the lake.

We finished 9th, but neither of us cared.  Buddy caught lots of fish, and that was the most important part!  The last thing he told me today was “I can’t wait to come back next year!”

It is an honor to be involved with an event like this.  Just like Turner, I want to show what we have north of I-10.  People from all across our state are taking notice of this piece of paradise we are fortunate enough to live in.  Just like Buddy said, I can’t wait to come back next year!

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Dusty McGehee is a native of Downsville and a 2006 graduate of Louisiana Tech University with a bachelors in wildlife conservation. He is currently employed by WestRock and serves as an environmental engineer at the Hodge Mill. Dusty is an avid hunter and crappie fisherman, fishing crappie tournaments with his son when he is not in the woods. He and his wife Rachel have three young outdoorsmen/women: Anders, Ridge, and Mae. If you have a story idea or question about the great outdoors, you can reach Dusty at dusty.mcgehee@westrock.com.

 


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