Former Louisiana House Speaker Jimmy Dimos dies at 84

Louisiana representative Jimmy Dimos, D-Monroe

MONROE, La. (AP) — Jimmy Dimos, a former legislator from northeast Louisiana who served a term as Speaker of the House during the administration of former Gov. Buddy Roemer, has died at age 84.

Dimos died last week after a short illness, according to Mulhearn Funeral Home.

Dimos was an attorney who served as a state district judge in Monroe after leaving the House.

He had immigrated to the United States in 1951 at age 12 from Macedonia, part of what was then Yugoslavia. His father had come to the U.S. first to start a business before World War II. After the war, he was able to bring his family to Monroe.

An attorney with a law degree from Tulane in New Orleans, he was elected to six legislative terms, serving as a Democrat from 1976 to 1999.

Dimos spent 1 term as speaker

He spent one term as speaker, having been elected to the post in 1988 with the backing of then-Gov. Buddy Roemer. He served during a time of bruising political battles over taxes and budgets.

In 1999 he was elected to a judgeship in a district covering Ouachita and Morehouse parishes. He retired in 2007.

In a sometimes emotional farewell speech to the House in 1999, he recalled his home town being occupied by German and Italian military as war gripped Europe.

Jimmy Dimos dies at 84

“I could look over the backyard of our house and see where they were stationed, with tents and guns. Thank goodness we were never attacked, but we suffered through a lot of inconveniences — curfews, planes flying overhead, sirens going off and on,” he said in remarks heralding American democracy.

“We win some and we lose some here,” Dimos told House members. “But never take it home, your victory or defeat. Come back and try again. It’s the best system in the world.”