Jerri G. Smitko was elected chair of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) and  William “Joe” McPherson,  vice-chair during the Commission’s January meeting Thursday (Jan. 7) in Baton Rouge. The two Commissioners will serve in those positions through 2021.

Smitko is an attorney and the owner of Smitko Law, APLC, in Houma. She is a graduate of Nicholls State University and Tulane University School of Law. Smitko was special legal counsel to the Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government from 1992 to 1998, and the assistant parish attorney for the same body from 1988 to 1992. She has served on various boards throughout her career.

Smitko is a member of the American Bar Association, Louisiana and Terrebonne Parish bar associations and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. She served in the Louisiana Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve until her honorable discharge in 1985.

McPherson served six full terms – 1984-96 and 2000-12 – in the Louisiana Senate. The Woodworth resident authored several bills for outdoor causes, including the creation of three wildlife management areas. He was honored with the Governor’s Award for conservation achievement in 2005. His work on behalf of outdoor heritage was recognized by various groups, including Ducks Unlimited, Safari Club International, Louisiana Outdoors Writers Association, and the Louisiana Wildlife Federation.

He is a Life Member of the Louisiana Wildlife Federation, Quality Deer Management Association, and the National Rifle Association. He is also a member of Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, and Avoyelles Wildlife Association.  McPherson is a veteran of the United States Army Reserve.