Allison Kolb

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Allison Ray Kolb
Allison R. Kolb (left) shown with Ronald W. Reagan (right), Charlton Lyons, and Tom Stagg (back) in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Louisiana State Auditor
In office
1952–1956
Preceded by L. B. Baynard
Succeeded by William Joseph "Bill" Dodd
Personal details
Born (1915-11-01)November 1, 1915
Colfax, Grant Parish, Louisiana USA
Died December 23, 1973(1973-12-23) (aged 58)
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Resting place Greenoaks Mausoleum in Baton Rouge
Nationality American
Political party Democrat-turned-Republican
Spouse(s) Dorothy Marjorie Halphen (1917-2007)
Children No children
Occupation Attorney; Businessman
Religion Methodist
(1) Kolb angered numerous local officials during his one-term as Louisiana state auditor because he publicized "nitpiking mistakes" and suggested wrongdoing in office.

(2) His party switch in 1967 did not help Kolb in his bid to become Louisiana state treasurer in 1968.

Allison Ray Kolb (November 1, 1915 – December 23, 1973)[1] was the Democratic auditor of Louisiana from 1952 to 1956, who angered many local officials in the pursuit of his job duties and was hence defeated by former Lieutenant Governor William J. "Bill" Dodd in the 1956 party primary. While he was a Democrat, Kolb was a part of the anti-Long faction in Louisiana politics.

On February 6, 1968, Kolb sought a political comeback as the Republican Party (GOP) nominee in a race to succeed retiring State Treasurer Andrew Patrick "Pat" Tugwell, Sr., a part of the Long faction. Kolb was overwhelmed in the general election by Democrat Mary Evelyn Dickerson Parker, an Allen Parish native and an operative from the administrations of both former Governors Earl Kemp Long and John J. McKeithen.

Democratic campaign for auditor, 1955-1956[edit]

Kolb was a native of Colfax, the seat of Grant Parish in north central Louisiana. He attended Louisiana Tech University in Ruston and was in the 1933 freshman class, with his residence at the time listed as Ruston.[2] Kolb became a Baton Rouge attorney, banker, and businessman.

Kolb, at thirty-two, first sought the auditor's position in the 1948 primary, running on the gubernatorial ticket of a fellow Democrat, Robert F. Kennon of Minden. The whole Kennon slate, consisting entirely of World War II veterans, lost that year.[3] Kennon failed to obtain a runoff berth against former Governors Sam Houston Jones of Lake Charles and Earl Kemp Long. Kolb was defeated by L. Baynard.[4] Kennon to but Kennon and Kolb rebounded in 1952 to claim the governorship and the auditor's office, respectively. In 1955, Kennon was ineligible to seek a second four-year term, and Bill Dodd announced that he would attempt to unseat Kolb in the primary held in January 1956. Kolb used the slogan: "Protect Your Tax Money . . . Keep Kolb".[5]

In his memoirs, Dodd claimed that Kolb "would be a sitting duck for anyone who ran against him. He had alienated every local official and professional politician in Louisiana. He did it by publicizing nitpiking mistakes and suggesting that each and every sheriff, clerk of court, tax assessor, parish school superintendent, police juror (equivalent of county commissioner in other states), and school board member was a crook. The news media had bragged on Allison [Kolb] while criticizing all those local officials. Allison could not have defeated Adolf Hitler, had the Führer been alive and running against him."[6]

Earl Long and his wife, Blanche Long, endorsed Dodd's candidacy against Kolb. Mrs. Long had a grudge against Kolb because, in Dodd's words, "old Allison [He was then forty-one.] had audited her brother and recommended that he be indicted. Her brother had purchased a lawmower through his public office and paid for it with his personal check. He did it to save a few dollars, but violated a bookkeeping rule, not any law, or even the code of ethics."[7]

After they agreed to support Dodd for auditor, either Earl or Blanche Long, or both, enticed Douglas Fowler, a local politician from Coushatta, the seat of Red River Parish, to enter the race. At first, Earl Long let Fowler speak on the platform, but Dodd said that "the public felt that I was the real Long candidate, and Fowler finally quit making our meetings. Miss Blanche threw me a couple of curves, including the printing up of some Earl Long ticket sample ballots with my number beside Fowler's name. But we caught her trick and corrected it."[8]

Fowler lost the race, but Governor Long named him "custodian of voting machines" thereafter. The position was later called "elections commissioner," and it was abolished in 2004, with duties returned to the office of secretary of state. Long had created the post as a result of a feud that he waged with Secretary of State Wade O. Martin, Jr. (1911–1990).[9]

Dodd sent Jack M. Dyer, a young Baton Rouge attorney and later a state representative (1960–1964), to the secretary of state's office to get photocopies of every corporation that Kolb had chartered as state auditor and on which Kolb took stock for fees and in which he became a director. Dodd found that Kolb had ordered the construction of a "semiprivate paved road" to Kolb's property. "We could find no project number. Allison got it built secretly." Dodd also challenged Kolb's involvement in the Gulf Union Corp. and the Gulf Union Holding Co.[10]

All the Long candidates were nominated outright in the 1956 primary. There were no runoffs because Louisiana law at the time provided for runoffs for lesser constitutional offices, including lieutenant governor, only if there was also to be a second gubernatorial primary.[11]

Republican campaign for treasurer, 1968[edit]

In 1967, Kolb switched parties and became the Republican Party choice for treasurer by acclamation at the state convention in Baton Rouge. With Tugwell's retirement, only Mrs. Parker entered the Democratic race for treasurer. She, like Dodd, had roots in Allen Parish. Over the years, however, Mrs. Parker refused to support Dodd for governor, and, in Dodd's words, "undercut" him "whenever she could."[9]

In his memoirs, Dodd described Mrs. Parker accordingly: "As a teacher [in Oakdale High School], I had taught her how to speak; as a legislator, I had gotten her a scholarship that gave her a college education; and as lieutenant governor, I had found her a big job in our administration. She was a wonderful speaker and a good administrator, but she must have been a born ingrate."[9]

Mrs. Parker had also been the Louisiana welfare commissioner. She was the Democratic national committeewoman from Louisiana from 1948 to 1952 and was therefore a staunch party loyalist. As Dodd attested to her speaking talent, in the 1964 Democratic gubernatorial runoff primary campaign, she delivered a speech entitled "All That Glitters Is Not Gold." Though a line from Shakespeare, Mrs. Parker's speech was really a vituperative attack on the record of McKeithen's intraparty opponent, former New Orleans Mayor deLesseps Story Morrison, Sr.[9]

Mrs. Parker ran for treasurer, with McKeithen's full support. McKeithen had defeated conservative Democratic Congressman John Rarick in the primary and was unopposed in the general election for his second consecutive term, the first permitted in state history.

There was not much of a campaign for treasurer. Kolb was the only statewide Republican candidate, and voters historically do not consider a minor party nominee if there is no gubernatorial candidate setting the campaign theme. Mrs. Parker won all 64 parishes: 337,234 (73.7 percent) to Kolb's 120,253 (26.3 percent). Kolb fared best in Lafayette Parish and East Baton Rouge Parish, where he polled 43 percent each. It was in those two parishes where Republicans had won special state legislative races in 1966 and 1967, respectively. Kolb polled 37 percent in St. Mary Parish, his third best showing.[12]

Mrs. Parker held the treasurer's post for nineteen years; she retired effective January 1, 1987. Fellow Democrat Mary Landrieu of New Orleans was elected to succeed her in a special 1987 election held at the same time as the jungle primary for a full term. Landrieu filled out Mrs. Parker's remaining months and then served two full terms as treasurer. She stepped down in 1996 and was succeeded by Democrat Kenneth Duncan. Landrieu had run unsuccessfully for governor in the 1995 primary. In November 1996, however, she revived her political fortunes with a narrow victory for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by popular Democrat Bennett Johnston. Landrieu is the first woman from Louisiana ever to have been elected to the Senate.[13]

Retiring State Republican Chairman Charlton Lyons, of Shreveport, the 1964 gubernatorial nominee, declared that he was not discouraged by Mrs. Parker's large victory over Allison Kolb. Lyons said that the GOP had "just lost one scrimmage." Lyons vowed that the Republicans would continue to be politically active until they established a two-party system in Louisiana. Kolb said that the "voice of the loyal opposition has been heard" and added that he thought a two-party format could produce checks and balances in state government.[14]

Kolb's obituary and legacy[edit]

Kolb founded Kolb and Rooks law office in Baton with his partner J. Taylor Rooks, who died May 3, 2006.[15]

Kolb died in Baton Rouge General Hospital at the age of fifty-eight. Services were held at his home church, the University United Methodist Church on Christmas Eve afternoon, 1973. Entombment was in the Greenoaks Mausoleum. (His old rival Dodd is buried in the overall Greenoaks Memorial Park.)[16]

Kolb was survived by his wife, the former Dorothy Marjorie Halphen (March 19, 1917 - June 3, 2007), four sisters, and numerous nieces and nephews. A native of the community of Omaha in Morris County in northeast Texas, Mrs. Kolb was the daughter of Walton Felix Halphen and the former Zepher Wood. She received Bachelor of Arts degrees in music and art from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. She previously taught music at Kaplan High School in Kaplan in Vermilion Parish in southwestern Louisiana. Thereafter, she was a private music teacher in Baton Rouge. She was the president of the Baton Rouge Opera Guild from 1978-1980. A charter member of the Louisiana chapter of Phi Beta Phi sorority, Mrs. Kolb was active in the Daughters of the American Revolution as well as the First United Methodist Church of Baton Rouge.[17]

In addition to the Gulf Union Corporation, Kolb was associated with the Capital Bank and Trust Co., Redi-Built Corp., Community Bank of Lafourche, American Bank and Trust Co. of Houma, Belair Corp., and Rollins International, Inc. He was a member of the nonpartisan interest group, Council for a Better Louisiana.[16]

Kolb is remembered through the philanthropic Allison R. Kolb Foundation, which was formed to help deserving students obtain a higher education. The foundation also operates High Beam Research (highbeam.com) from Baton Rouge.[15] LSU's College of Business Administration offers the annual Allison R. Kolb Memorial Award in the amount of $1,000 to an outstanding junior or senior who majors in banking or finance.[18]

In 1955, Kolb wrote Louisiana's Financial Development, a Fiscal Survey. [19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Social Security Death Index Interactive Search
  2. ^ "Louisiana Tech, 1933". usgwarchives.net. Retrieved September 5, 2010. 
  3. ^ Minden Herald, January 9, 1948, p. 3
  4. ^ Minden Press, January 23, 1948, p. 1
  5. ^ Minden Herald and Webster Review, December 8, 1955, p. 2
  6. ^ William J. "Bill" Dodd, Peapatch Politics: The Earl Long Era in Louisiana Politics Baton Rouge: Claitor's Publishers, 1991, p. 117
  7. ^ William J. "Bill" Dodd, Peapatch Politics: The Earl Long Era in Louisiana Politics Baton Rouge: Claitor's Publishers, 1991, p. 118
  8. ^ William J. "Bill" Dodd, Peapatch Politics: The Earl Long Era in Louisiana Politics Baton Rouge: Claitor's Publishers, 1991, p. 119
  9. ^ a b c d William J. "Bill" Dodd, Peapatch Politics: The Earl Long Era in Louisiana Politics Baton Rouge: Claitor's Publishers, 1991
  10. ^ William J. "Bill" Dodd, Peapatch Politics: The Earl Long Era in Louisiana Politics Baton Rouge: Claitor's Publishers, 1991, p. 120
  11. ^ William J. "Bill" Dodd, Peapatch Politics: The Earl Long Era in Louisiana Politics Baton Rouge: Claitor's Publishers, 1991, p. 125
  12. ^ Election Statistics, 1968, Baton Rouge: Secretary of State
  13. ^ Facts on women candidates and elected officials
  14. ^ Shreveport Journal, February 7, 1968
  15. ^ a b Greencastle Banner-Graphic: Story: J. Taylor Rooks
  16. ^ a b Allison Kolb obituary," Baton Rouge Morning Advocate, December 24, 1973
  17. ^ Obituary of Mrs. Kolb, Baton Rouge Morning Advocate, June 4, 2007
  18. ^ http://aaweb.lsu.edu/catalogs/2001/financialAid.htm
  19. ^ http://www.colorado.edu/Libraries/govpubs/lsca/states/louisiana.htm

External links[edit]

Preceded by
L.B. Baynard
Louisiana State Auditor

Allison Ray Kolb
1952–1956

Succeeded by
William Joseph "Bill" Dodd