Gregory Tarver

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Gregory Williams "Greg" Tarver, Sr.
Louisiana State Senator from District 39 (Caddo Parish)
Preceded by Billy P. Keith
Succeeded by Lydia P. Jackson
In office
1984–2004
In office
2012 – Incumbent
Preceded by Lydia P. Jackson
Shreveport City Council member
In office
1978–1984
Preceded by New position
Personal details
Born (1946-03-30) March 30, 1946 (age 68)
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Velma Jean Kirksey Tarver
Children Gregory Tarver, Jr.

Balistine Tarver Anderson
Lauren Tarver
Rebekah Tarver
Carolyne Tarver

Residence Shreveport, Caddo Parish, Louisiana, USA
Alma mater Grambling State University
Occupation Funeral home owner
Religion Baptist

Gregory Williams Tarver, Sr., known as Greg Tarver (born March 30, 1946), is an African American businessman and Democratic politician in Shreveport, Louisiana, who served on the Shreveport City Council from 1978 to 1984 and as a Louisiana state senator from the predominantly black District 39 in Caddo Parish from 1984 to 2004.[1]

After an eight-year hiatus, Tarver returns to the Senate on January 9, 2012. In the general election held on November 19, 2011, he unseated his successor in the post, Senator Lydia P. Jackson, also of Shreveport, 9,168 votes (52.5 percent) to 8,295 (47.5 percent).[2]

Background[edit]

Tarver's family has operated the J. S. Williams Funeral Home and insurance companies in Shreveport[3] for more than a century. Tarver graduated from Alton Senior High School in Alton in Madison County, Illinois, home of the 19th century abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy. He also attended a business college and Grambling State University in Grambling west of Ruston in Lincoln Parish. He served in the military from 1967 to 1969. From 1973 to 1975, he was one of the directors of what became the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, formerly known as Confederate Memorial Medical Center or "Charity Hospital".[4] From 1975 to 1978, he held the District 5 seat on the former Caddo Parish Police Jury, subsequently the Caddo Parish Commission, the parish governing board.[5] Tarver was named in 1978 among the "Outstanding Young Men of America". In 1983, he was designated "Black Leader of the Year" in Shreveport. He is a member of the Masonic lodge and the Baptist denomination.[4]

Tarver is married to Velma J. Kirksey-Tarver, a Certified Professional Life Coach, the owner of Quality Office Supply, and the chairwoman of VRC Educational Scholarship Foundation. Mrs. Tarver is also the founder of the Institute for Global Outreach, a non-profit organization whose mission is to increase awareness of global suffering and to provide humanitarian services to impoverished children and families in Ethiopia.[6]

Legislative matters[edit]

Tarver served on the Shreveport City Council when the body was first switched to a mayor-council government from the previous city commission system. He and two other African-Americans, the late Herman Farr, a minister, and Hilry Huckaby, Jr., held three of the seven seats on the council. His white colleagues included former Shreveport Mayor James C. Gardner.[7]

Tarver won his Senate seat in 1983, when he unseated fellow Democrat Bill Keith. Tarver received 9,264 votes (51.4 percent) to Keith's 8,769 (48.6 percent).[8] Keith, an author, wrote the 1981 Louisiana law which had it been implemented would have required balanced treatment in the presentation of creation science and evolution in public schools. The measure was struck down in 1987 by the United States Supreme Court. Keith, who has since relocated to Texasw, is the last white person to hold this particular Senate seat.

Senator Tarver was chairman of the Insurance Committee and served on the Envronmental Quality and Finance committees as well.[3] He did not seek a sixth term in the nonpartisan blanket primary held in October 2003.

Tarver was unopposed in the senatorial elections of 1987, 1991, and 1999. In 1995, he polled 18,687 votes (56 percent) in the primary against two other Democrats, the Shreveport dentist C.O. Simpkins and Michael R. Ward.[9]

In the nonpartisan blanket primary held on November 19, 2011 Tarver beat incumbent Lydia Jackson for the State Senate District 39 seat.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Membership in the Louisiana State Senate, 1880-2012". legis.state.la.us. Retrieved November 25, 2009. 
  2. ^ Louisiana Secretary of State, General election returns, November 19, 2011
  3. ^ a b "Senator Gregory W. "Greg" Tarver, Sr."". senate.legis.state.la.us. Retrieved November 25, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b "Senate District 39". enlou.com. Retrieved November 25, 2009. 
  5. ^ "History: Afro-Americans and Caddo Parish Police Jurors/Caddo Pa rish Commissioners". caddohistory.com. Retrieved November 25, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Coach Velma K. Tarver, July 16, 2010". Retrieved July 16, 2010. 
  7. ^ Jim Gardner and Shreveport, Vol. 2, Ritz Publications of Shreveport
  8. ^ "Louisiana general election returns, November 19, 1983". staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved March 10, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Louisiana election returns, October 21, 1995". sos.louisiana.gov. Retrieved November 25, 2009. [dead link]
Louisiana Senate
Preceded by
Billy K. Keith
Louisiana State Senator from District 39 (Caddo Parish)

Gregory Williams "Greg" Tarver, Sr.
1984–2004

Succeeded by
Lydia P. Jackson
Preceded by
Lydia P. Jackson
Louisiana State Senator from District 39 (Caddo Parish)

Gregory Williams "Greg" Tarver, Sr.
2012-

Succeeded by
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
New position
Shreveport City Council member

Gregory Williams "Greg" Tarver, Sr.
1978–1984

Succeeded by
Missing