Gerald Long

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Gerald Long
Member of the Louisiana Senate
from the 31st district
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 14, 2008
Preceded by Mike Smith
Personal details
Born (1944-07-09) July 9, 1944 (age 70)
Winnfield, Louisiana, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Rose Landry (1966–present)
Children Andrea
Pamela
Richard
Alma mater Northwestern State University
Religion Baptist

Gerald Long (born July 9, 1944), is a rare Republican member of the traditionally Democratic Long political dynasty in the U.S. state of Louisiana. Specifically, he is a third cousin of the late Governors Huey Pierce Long, Jr., and Earl Kemp Long.[1] He was elected on October 20, 2007, to the Louisiana State Senate District 31, which includes Grant and Natchitoches parishes and parts of Rapides, Red River, Sabine, and Winn parishes in the north central portion of the state. Long and former State Representative Rick Nowlin are the first two Republicans since Reconstruction to represent Natchitoches Parish in the Louisiana legislature.

Long political dynasty[edit]

Gerald Long is the only Long family member holding high office in Louisiana. Most Longites remained in the Democratic Party over the years. Another exception was the late Secretary of State W. Fox McKeithen, who switched parties and won four statewide elections as a Republican. Fox McKeithen's father, the late Governor John McKeithen, was a leading Long figure in the 1960s and 1970s, but the McKeithens were not relatives of the Longs.

Long and his twin brother, Carroll Long, were the last of eight sons born to Rubin Ray Long (1900–1966) and the former Ruby Smith (1906–1984). Ruby Smith's brother, P.K. Smith, later an automobile dealer in Winnfield, was a member of the Louisiana House from Winn Parish from 1960 to 1964. P.K. Smith's son, Mike Smith, served twelve years in the Louisiana State Senate as a Democrat from 1996 to 2008. Term-limited, Mike Smith preceded his cousin, Gerald Long, in the state Senate.

Rubin Long was originally a Winn Parish sharecropper. Long's paternal grandparents were Thomas Jefferson Long (1861–1948) and the former Mary Ella Wright (1864–1902). Gillis William Long (1923–1985), a former U.S. representative from Louisiana's 8th congressional district, since disbanded, was also a paternal grandson of Thomas Jefferson Long and hence Gerald Long's first cousin. An older brother of Gerald Long, Jimmy D. Long (born 1931) served in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1968 to 2000 as a Democrat from Natchitoches. In that capacity, Jimmy Long became known as a leading legislative authority on education, an area which would also become important in Gerald Long's career as an educator and a motivational speaker. Another brother is Dr. William Jackson "Bill" Long (born 1940), a former planning commission executive in Alexandria, the seat of Rapides Parish, who was the publisher of "The Louisiana Business Journal" and a former weekly newspaper in Pineville known as the Red River Journal. Bill Long also owned Sunbelt Research Corporation. He ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 1983. Gerald Long was a distant cousin of former Pineville Mayor Floyd W. Smith, Jr. (1932–2010), whose mother was a Long. Floyd Smith spent his later years near his native Winnfield, the seat of Winn Parish.[2]

Education, work history[edit]

Like his brothers, Long was educated in the Winn Parish public schools. In 1962, he graduated from Winnfield Senior High School and entered Northwestern State University in Natchitoches on an football scholarship. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in education in 1966, the year that his father died. For the next four years, Long (1) taught at Houma Junior High School at Houma in Terrebonne Parish in south Louisiana and (2) taught and coached at Leesville High School in Leesville, the seat of Vernon Parish in western Louisiana.[3]

Long left teaching to become an insurance agent, a representative of the State Farm Company. He is a lifetime member of the President’s Club, which is earned by fewer than 2 percent of insurance agents nationally. While in the insurance business, Long was for nine years a volunteer for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Northwestern State University. FCA, a national organization devoted to college, high school and junior-high students, attempts to instill moral and spiritual values in young people to prepare them for their future. In July 1999, Long retired from business to serve full-time as the FCA representative for Rapides, Grant, Winn, Natchitoches, Sabine, and five other parishes.[3]

In the summer of 1966, Long married the former Rose Landry. The couple has three grown children, Andrea Phillips, Pamela Jordan, and Richard Gerald Long (born 1976). They also had eight grandsons as of November 2007.

Long has spoken before schools, civic organizations, churches, and senior citizens organizations. He has also been an interim Baptist pastor for four churches in the Natchitoches area. He is considered both a fiscal and social conservative.[4]

Election to the state senate[edit]

In the 2007 campaign, Long defeated the Democratic State Representative Thomas Taylor Townsend, a nephew and law partner of former State Senator Donald G. Kelly of Natchitoches. Townsend had unseated Jimmy Long in the 1999 jungle primary for the Louisiana House. Townsend, who ran to the political "left" of Long, did not seek a third term in the House but instead sought the open Senate seat vacated by his cousin, Mike Smith, a businessman in Winnfield.[5] Long procured 20,609 votes (54 percent) to Townsend's 17,699 (46 percent). Long won five of the six parishes in the district, having lost only in Natchitoches, the home of both candidates. He even won in Red River Parish, one of only two north Louisiana parishes that did not support the successful Republican gubernatorial candidate, Bobby Jindal, in the October 20 primary.[6]

Potential gubernatorial bid[edit]

Long was elected without opposition in 2011 to a second term in the state Senate. In May 2012, he indicated in an interview with The Piney Woods Journal in Winnfield that he is considering a gubernatorial bid of his own in 2015, when Jindal will be prohibited from seeking a third consecutive term. In that interview Long criticized a bill submitted by State Senator Elbert Guillory, an Opelousas Democrat, which would freeze cost of living adjustments to state retirees until an overhaul of the pension system is established. Long, a member of the Senate Retirement Committee said that the Guillory plan is "a really bad bill" and if implemented could mean that retirees might never obtain a COLA.[7]

In 2013, Long introduced legislation to provide tax incentives to encourage the younger generation of farm families and loggers to remain in business after their parents reach retirement age. Such family businesses, Long noted, are often passed down to the upcoming generation.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Town Talk - www.thetowntalk.com - Alexandria-Pineville, Louisiana
  2. ^ Yahoo! Search Results for jimmy d. long of natchitoches genealogy
  3. ^ a b ""Claiborne Academy: High School seniors earn top honors", May 8, 2008". Claiborne Academy Guardian-Journal. Retrieved October 30, 2009. 
  4. ^ For this and the preceding paragraph, see: http://www.longforsenate.org/about.html
  5. ^ Louisiana State Senate - District 31
  6. ^ Louisiana Secretary of State-Election Results by Parish Inquiry
  7. ^ Tom Aswell, "Sen. Long hints at race for Governor", The Piney Woods Journal, June 2012, p. 1
  8. ^ James Ronald Skains, "Budget issues, Medicaid face LA legislature", The Piney Woods Journal, May 2013, pp. 1, 9
Louisiana Senate
Preceded by
Mike Smith
Member of the Louisiana State Senate
from the 31st district

2008–present
Incumbent