Chris Hazel

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Lowell Christopher "Chris" Hazel
Louisiana State Representative from District 27 (Rapides Parish)
Assumed office
January 2008
Preceded by Rick L. Farrar
Majority 62.5 percent
Personal details
Born (1965-01-25) January 25, 1965 (age 50)
New Orleans Orleans Parish, Louisiana, USA
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Karen Frances Centanni Hazel
Children Sydney and Brik Hazel
Residence Ball, north of Pineville, Louisiana
Alma mater University of New Orleans

Thomas M. Cooley Law School

Occupation Attorney
Religion Episcopalian
Hazel is only the second Republican ever to hold the District 27 seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives. He is only the third member of his party in modern times to represent Rapides Parish in the state House, the others having been the late Jock Scott, who served as a Republican from neighboring District 26 from 1985-1988, and Randy Wiggins, the District 27 representative from 1996-2000, who left the House after an unsuccessful challenge in 1999 to State Senator Joe McPherson.
Hazel campaign sign from his unsuccessful 2014 race for Rapides Parish district attorney

Lowell Christopher Hazel, known as Chris Hazel (born January 25, 1965), is an attorney from Pineville, Louisiana, who is a Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from District 27, which encompasses northern Rapides Parish in the central portion of his state.

Election history[edit]

In the October 20, 2007, nonpartisan blanket primary, Hazel unseated Democrat Representative Rick L. Farrar of Pineville, 9,330 votes (62.5 percent) to 5,611 (37.5 percent).[1] Farrar had first won the seat in the primary held on October 19, 1991, when he upset fellow Democrat Carl Newton Gunter, Jr., 7,729 (56.6 percent) to 5,929 (43.4 percent).[2] Gunter had been known for his populist political stance and his fiery opposition to abortion.[3] Farrar was narrowly unseated for the 1996-2000 term by the Republican Randy Wiggins of Pineville, a State Farm Insurance agent in Alexandria. On October 6, 1995, Wiggins defeated Farrar, 6,350 votes (51.1 percent) to 6,077 (48.9 percent).[4] When Wiggins ran for the state senate in 1999 against former Senator Joe McPherson, who did not run in 1995, Farrar staged a successful return to office. In the 2003 primary, Farrar handily defeated Independent "Pete" Ferrington, 7,072 (61 percent) to 4,519 (39 percent).[5]

Randy Wiggins, meanwhile, challenged the reelection of Hazel in the primary held on October 22, 2011, but Hazel handily defeated the former representative, 8,089 votes (60.8 percent) to 5,220 votes (39.2 percent).[6]

Legal experience[edit]

Hazel served from 2004 to 2007 as an assistant district attorney in Alexandria, the seat of Rapides Parish and the largest city in Central Louisiana. From 2003 to 2004, Hazel was the assistant D.A. in Colfax, the seat of neighboring Grant Parish. From 2000-2002, he was a law clerk for Ninth Judicial District Judge Tom Yeager in Alexandria.[7]

Education and background[edit]

Hazel graduated in 1983 from the Roman Catholic Holy Cross High School in New Orleans. He then attended United States Marine Corps infantry training school at Camp Pendleton, California, and served in the Marines at 29 Palms, California, until 1986. Thereafter, he was a Lyndon B. Johnson intern for Democratic U.S. Representative Lindy Boggs of Louisiana's 2nd congressional district in New Orleans. In 1990, Hazel received his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of New Orleans. He attended the United States Border Patrol training institute at Artesia, New Mexico. From 1992-1997, he was a Border Patrol agent at the Chula Vista station in San Diego. In 1997, he entered the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan, which conferred on him his Juris Doctor degree in 2000. After law school, he returned to Louisiana to begin a legal career.[7][8]

Hazel holds membership in the Louisiana Bar and the Louisiana District Attorney's associations, the American Legion, Kiwanis Club, Amerita Club, the Rapides/Pineville Soccer Association, and the National Rifle Association. He is a vestry member at St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Pineville. He is married to the former Karen Frances Centanni, and the couple has two children, Sydney and Brik.[7] The Hazels reside in Ball north of Pineville.

Legislative service[edit]

As a legislator, Hazel sits on these committees: (1) Administration of Criminal Justice, (2) Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture, and Rural Development, and (3) Appropriations.[9] Hazel's first bill, HB 148, passed in the 2008 legislative session. It "adds the intentional manufacturing, purchasing, distributing, or attempting to manufacture, purchase, or distribute a controlled dangerous substance in violation of the CDS law in the presence of a minor child as an element of the crime of cruelty to a juvenile."[10]

Reflecting his own background as an employee of two district attorneys, Hazel introduced HB303 in March 2008. This would authorize former employees of district attorneys and assistant district attorneys to retain their retirement benefits if they become reemployed at a salary less than provided under existing state law. The measure would not apply to Hazel, for he had only four years of such service.[11]

Hazel also introduced HB 40 in the 2008 session to help police crack down on prostitution by broadening the definition of "sexual intercourse" to include "oral, anal or vaginal" contact. Hazel said that his measure would "close loopholes" so that defense attorneys could not argue over the nuances of sexual relations in certain instances.[12] Despite ridicule from numerous bloggers, Hazel's bill was signed into law by Governor Jindal on June 12, 2008.[13]

In April 2014, Hazel confirmed that he would run for Rapides Parish District Attorney in the primary election on November 4. The long-term incumbent, Jam Downs, a Democrat, retired. Hazel finished a strong second in the primary to Pineville City Judge Phillip Terrell, a Democrat. He polled 15,001 votes (34.6 percent) to Terrell's 15,245 (35.2 percent). The third candidate, Democrat former state Representative Christopher Roy, Jr., the brother of Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy, trailed with 13,081 votes (30.2 percent).[14]In the runoff election held on December 6, Terrell defeated Hazel, 20,053 votes (52.9 percent) to 17,840 (47.1 percent).[15]


  1. ^ "Election results, October 20, 2007, primary". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved April 29, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Election results, October 19, 1991, primary". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved April 29, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Fetus Fetishists Simpsonized?". Retrieved April 25, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Election returns, October 21, 1995". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved April 29, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Election returns, October 4, 2003". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved April 29, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Louisiana primary election returns, October 22, 2011". Retrieved October 15, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c "Chris Hazel biography" (PDF). Retrieved April 25, 2009. 
  8. ^ name=hazel/ "Louisiana House of Representatives, Representative's Personal Page". Retrieved April 25, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Lowell Chris Hazel". Retrieved April 25, 2009. 
  10. ^ "Rep. Chris Hazel Passes His First Bill in the House". Retrieved April 25, 2009. 
  11. ^ "Questions About Chris Hazel’s (R-Pineville) HB 303 and Herbert Dixon’s (D-Alexandria) HB344". Retrieved April 25, 2009. 
  12. ^ "The Gambit: Chris Hazel’s Prostitution Legislation". Retrieved April 27, 2009. 
  13. ^ ""The Web Portal to the Louisiana State Legislature": HB40 - 2008 Regular Session (Act 138)". Retrieved April 28, 2009. 
  14. ^ "Election Results for 11/4/2014". Retrieved November 5, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Runoff election returns, December 6, 2014". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved December 6, 2014.