Abraham resigns from Port Board so minority member can be appointed

By Lee Peck - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - After weeks of discussion and questions relative to why there were no minority representatives on the Lake Charles Harbor and Terminal District, board member Mark Abraham has resolved the issue by resigning.

Abraham, who has served on the board for 7 and half years, resigned Wednesday morning effective immediately so that a minority member can be appointed by Governor Bobby Jindal as a replacement.

The board has been without minority representation since David Darbonne resigned because he was term limited. In his resignation, Abraham said, "It should be clear that the Port does not have anything to do with appointing members to the Board. Enabling legislation clearly and legally states that the responsibility lies in the hands of the Legislature and Governor. That being said, the current Port Board through no fault of its own, may possibly be in violation of its enabling legislation. It is therefore vitally important that we maintain the legal status of the Board in order that it may continue its role as the economic turnaround of the Port."

During his time with the board Abraham has served as secretary, treasurer, vice president and president. He says he's proud of the accomplishments achieved. "I've enjoyed serving on the Port Board. It's really fascinated me. It's what I like - it's business. But there comes a time when the Port Board is bigger than any one person and so did I want to step down - no. But yet was it the best thing to do and was it the right thing to do? Yes - and that's why I did it," said Abraham.

Abraham also considered some of the big projects on the horizon, including what to do with the property next to Pinnacle, and does not want any future decision by the Port Board to be clouded with uncertainty.

"So to prevent any of that from happening and to make sure the Port Board is above any legal question and uncertainty - I am resigning," explained Abraham.

Several members with the Southwest Louisiana delegation were on hand for the meeting including Senator Willie Mount, Senator Blade Morrish, Representative Chuck Kleckley, and Rep. A.B. Franklin.

Lawmakers and Abraham's fellow board members commended him for his decision to step down.

"You have been in the post and continue to be one who gives freely and willingly as a community leader and I want to compliment you for making this step that will enable the board to continue to move forward," said Sen. Mount.

"Mark has always been supportive of the Port staff and has always had the Port's future success in the forefront of his actions while serving on the board," said Bill Rase, Port Director. "On behalf of the Port staff I would like to wish Mark great success in his future endeavors."

Meanwhile local lawmakers met after the meeting and according to Rep. Franklin have nominated former State Representative Elcie Guillory to be appointed to replace Abraham. The nomination now goes to Governor Bobby Jindal for consideration.  

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