BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) – Former congressman, state representative, and Democratic Party chairman Anthony C. “Buddy” Leach Jr. died on Saturday at 88.

Born in Leesville, La., Leach Jr. served as a member of the Louisana house of representatives from 1967 to 1978 and was a member of the 96th Congress from 1978 to 1981.

Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a statement on his passing.

“Buddy Leach dedicated his life to serving our great state. From the Louisiana Legislature to Congress to his many civic contributions, Buddy worked to make life better for all Lousianans. When I decided to run for Governor, he was one of the first people to encourage me. In addition to being a strong leader, he also had a heart for giving back and generously supported the efforts of Donna’s Louisiana First Foundation to enrich the lives of children. He was a friend, a mentor, and a true gentleman. Donna and I are praying for his family and all who were blessed to know him.”

Gov. John Bel Edwards

Governor Edwards has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff on the day of the funeral.