Gerald Theunissen

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Gerald Joseph "Jerry" Theunissen
Louisiana State Senator from District 25 (southwest)
In office
September 1996 – January 14, 2008
Preceded by Cecil J. Picard
Succeeded by Dan Morrish
Louisiana House of Representatives District 37 (Acadia, Jefferson Davis, and Calcasieu parishes)
In office
1992 – September 1996
Preceded by James P. Martin
Succeeded by Dan Morrish
Personal details
Born (1933-08-19) August 19, 1933 (age 80)
Political party Democrat-turned-Republican
Spouse(s) Patricia Reaud Theunissen
Residence Jennings, Jefferson Davis Parish, Louisiana, USA
Alma mater Jennings High School

University of Louisiana at Lafayette
University of Nebraska at Omaha

Occupation Banker; Businessman
Religion Roman Catholic

Gerald Joseph Theunissen, or Jerry Theunissen (born August 19, 1933), is the vice president of Jeff Davis Bank in Jennings, Louisiana, USA, and served as a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from District 37 (1992–1996) and as the state senator from District 25 (1996–2008). He was term-limited in 2007 from seeking a fourth term in the upper chamber of the legislature.[1]

Theunissen was elected twice to the House in 1991 and 1995 and in his first state Senate race in 1996 as a Democrat. He later switched to Republican affiliation and is listed in the official records as a member of the GOP in the 2000–2004 legislative session.[2] He was also succeeded by a Republican, Dan Morrish.

Theunissen graduated in 1951 from Jennings High School in Jennings, the seat of Jefferson Parish. He attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, then the University of Southwestern Louisiana, but he received his bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He is a retired lieutenant colonel from the United States Air Force, in which he served from 1953 to 1974. He has been active in Jennings civic and community affairs, including membership on the Louisiana Advisory Commission on Pesticides from 1985 to 1991. In 1985, the Jennings Rotary International gave him its "Outstanding Community Service Award". He has served on the Jennings Industrial Development Board and as state director of the National Agricultural Aviation Association, the interest group of crop dusters. He is also a past president of the Greater Jennings Chamber of Commerce. Theunissen, who is Roman Catholic, is wed to the former Patricia Reaud (born ca. 1929).[3]

In 1987, Theunissen forced incumbent Democratic Representative James P. Martin into a runoff election. Though Martin prevailed, 5,918 (51.2 percent) to Theunissen's 5,631 (48.8 percent),[4] he retired from the House in 1992. Theunissen again ran, having defeated fellow Democrat Andy Buisson of Jennings, in the 1991 primary, 9,549 (60.5 percent) to 6,243 (39.5 percent).[5] In 1995, he was unopposed for his second House term, of which he served less than a year before moving up to the Senate.

When Governor Murphy J. "Mike" Foster, Jr., named Democratic state Senator Cecil J. Picard as education secretary, a special election was held on August 24, 1996, to begin the process of choosing a successor to Picard. Theunissen led the contest with 7,086 votes (29.5 percent). In second place was the lone Republican on the ballot, party chairman Mike Francis, with 6,112 votes (25.5 percent). Four other Democrats shared the remaining but crucial 45 percent of the ballots.[6] In the runoff election, Theunissen defeated Francis, 20,320 (55.7 percent) to 16,172 (44.3 percent).[7]

Theunissen was unopposed for his second and third Senate terms in the primaries of 1999 and 2003. In addition to Jefferson Davis Parish, District 25 includes portions of Acadia, Calcasieu, Cameron, and Vermilion Parishes. Because of his long-term legislative interest in education, Governor-elect Bobby Jindal named Theunissen to his educational transition advisory council.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Senate District 25". newshorn.com. Retrieved October 31, 2009. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Membership in the Louisiana State Senate, 1880–2012". legis.state.la.us. Retrieved October 31, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Senate District 25". enlou.com. Retrieved October 31, 2009. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Louisiana election returns, November 21, 1987". sos.louisiana.gov. Retrieved October 31, 2009. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Louisiana election returns, October 19, 1991". sos.louisiana.gov. Retrieved October 31, 2009. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Louisiana special election returns, August 24, 1996". sos.louisiana.gov. Retrieved October 31, 2009. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Special election runoff returns, September 21, 1996". sos.louisiana.gov. Retrieved October 31, 2009. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Bobby Jindal Selects Education Transition Team". bayoubuzz.com. Retrieved October 31, 2009. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Cecil Picard
Louisiana State Senator from District 25 (Southwestern Louisiana)

Gerald J. "Jerry" Theunissen
1996–2008

Succeeded by
Dan Morrish
Political offices
Preceded by
James P. Martin
Louisiana State Representative from District 37 (Acadia, Jefferson Davis, and Calcasieu parishes)

Gerald J. "Jerry" Theunissen
1992–1996

Succeeded by
Dan Morrish