J. Bennett Johnston, Jr.

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John Bennett Johnston, Jr.
J000189.jpg
United States Senator
from Louisiana
In office
November 14, 1972 – January 3, 1997
Preceded by Elaine S. Edwards
Succeeded by Mary Landrieu
Louisiana State Senator from Caddo Parish
In office
1968–1972
Preceded by B. H. "Johnny" Rogers

Jackson B. Davis

Succeeded by Jackson B. Davis

Cecil K. Carter, Jr.
Don W. Williamson

Louisiana State Representative from Caddo Parish
In office
1964–1968
Preceded by Wellborn Jack within at-large delegation
Succeeded by At-large delegation
Personal details
Born June 10, 1932 (age 82)
Shreveport, Caddo Parish
Louisiana, USA
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Mary Gunn Johnston
Relations Timothy J. Roemer
Children J. Bennett Johnston, III

N. Hunter Johnston
Sally Johnston Roemer
Mary Lyon Johnston

Alma mater Southfield School

C.E. Byrd High School
United States Military Academy
Washington and Lee University
Louisiana State University Law Center

Occupation Attorney, lobbyist
Religion Baptist
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1956-1959
Unit Judge Advocate General's Corps

John Bennett Johnston, Jr. (born June 10, 1932), usually known as J. Bennett Johnston, Jr., is an American lobbyist and a Democrat who represented Louisiana in the United States Senate from 1972 to 1997.

Early life[edit]

Johnston was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, to the attorney John Bennett Johnston, Sr. (1894–1977),[1][2] and the former Wilma Lyon (1904–1996).[3][4] Johnston attended the private elementary and junior high Southfield School in the South Highlands neighborhood of Shreveport. He was inducted into the Southfield Hall of Fame in 1994.[5] After Southfield, Johnston graduated from C.E. Byrd High School in Shreveport.[6] He attended the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, and Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.[7]

In 1956, Johnston graduated from Louisiana State University Law Center in Baton Rouge. He was admitted to the bar that same year.[7] He served in the United States Army, Judge Advocate General Corps in Germany from 1956 to 1959.[7]

In 1964, Johnston was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives, along with two Republicans, Morley A. Hudson and Taylor W. O'Hearn, and two other Democrats from Caddo Parish, Algie D. Brown and Frank Fulco.[8][9] Hudson and O'Hearn were the first Republicans to serve in the legislature since Reconstruction.

In 1966, Johnston hired Ralph Perlman, a business graduate of Columbia University in New York City, to the legislative staff. Soon Governor John McKeithen elevated Perlman to the position of state budget director, a role which he filled from 1967 to 1988.[10]

In 1968, Johnston was elected at-large to the Louisiana State Senate, along with fellow Democrats Jackson B. Davis and Joe LeSage.[11] One of the candidates that he defeated was the Republican Tom Stagg, later a judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana in Shreveport. Under senatorial courtesy, Johnston could have blocked Stagg's confirmation but did not do so. In 1971, Johnston ran for governor of Louisiana and lost narrowly to Edwin Washington Edwards in the Democratic runoff election.[12]

Campaigns of 1972, 1978, and 1984[edit]

In 1972, Johnston challenged the long-term incumbent, Allen J. Ellender, for the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate.[13] Ellender died during the campaign,[13] and Johnston, with powerful name identification stemming from his gubernatorial bid only months earlier, won the primary easily. In the primary, Johnston received 623,076 votes (79.4 percent); Frank T. Allen, 88,198 votes (11.2 percent), and the deceased Ellender, 73,088 votes (9.3 percent).[14] Johnston then defeated Republican Ben C. Toledano, then a New Orleans attorney and a former candidate for mayor of New Orleans, and former Governor John McKeithen of Columbia, a fellow Democrat who ran as an Independent in the general election because the filing period was not reopened upon Ellender's death. Johnston received 598,987 votes (55.2 percent); McKeithen, 250,161 (23.1 percent), and Toledano's 206,846 (19.1 percent). Another 28,910 voters (2.6 percent) chose the American Independent Party candidate, Hall Lyons, a Shreveport native who had relocated in the oil business to Lafayette.[15] He was the younger son of Louisiana Republican pioneer Charlton Lyons of Shreveport. (The position was filled by appointment from July to November 1972 by Governor Edwards' first wife, Elaine Schwartzenburg Edwards,[16] the interim senator.)

In office, Senator Johnston cultivated good relationships with the Louisiana media, realizing that their portrayal of him would impact his electoral future. The state's newspaper gave Johnston wide coverage. The Alexandria Daily Town Talk's managing editor, Adras LaBorde, for instance, gave extensive coverage to both Johnston and Senate colleague Russell B. Long.

For a time, Johnston's director of special projects was James Arthur Reeder (1933-2012), a former Shreveport and Washington, D.C., attorney and the owner of a chain of radio stations.[17] Like Johnston, Reeder was later inducted into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield.[18] In 1966, Reeder ran as a Republican for a district judgeship in Caddo Parish.[19] He subsequently organized voter registration drives in Caddo Parish to empower minority voters. In 2009, Reeder narrated the inaugural parade of U.S. President Barack H. Obama.[17]

In 1978, Johnston defeated then Democrat, later Republican, State Representative Woody Jenkins of Baton Rouge in the nonpartisan blanket primary, 498,773 (59.4 percent) to 340,896 (40.6 percent).[20]

In 1984, Johnston faced minor opposition from Robert Max Ross (1933–2009), a small businessman from Mangham in Richland Parish in northeast Louisiana.[21] Several other minor candidates also filed against Johnston in the primary but none made a showing. Some Republicans had encouraged former Governor David C. Treen to run against Johnston. Treen filed but withdrew in the wake of his loss the previous year for governor. Ross therefore ran as the best-known of the Republican candidates. The tally was 838,181 votes (85.7 percent) for Johnston, 86,546 votes (8.9 percent) for Ross, and others took 52,745 votes (5.4 percent).[22]

Johnston v. Duke[edit]

Johnston's closest re-election race was in 1990 against former Ku Klux Klansman and Republican candidate State Representative David Duke, who was not endorsed by his party's leadership. In fact, Louisiana State Senator Ben Bagert of New Orleans dropped out of the primary race in a bid to avoid a runoff battle between Johnston and Duke. Eight Republican U.S. senators endorsed Johnston over Duke.[23] These included Ted Stevens and Frank Murkowski of Alaska, David Durenberger and Rudy Boschwitz of Minnesota, John Danforth of Missouri, William Cohen of Maine, Warren Rudman of New Hampshire, and Nancy Landon Kassebaum of Kansas.[24][25]

The HUD Secretary at the time, Jack Kemp, also endorsed Johnston.[26]

Johnston defeated Duke in the primary, 752,902 votes (53.9 percent), to 607,391 votes (43.5 percent). Other candidates took the remaining 35,820 votes (2.5 percent).[27]

Johnston retired after his fourth term ended in 1997; he was succeeded by his choice for the seat, fellow Democrat Mary Landrieu of New Orleans, daughter of Jimmy Carter's HUD Secretary and former New Orleans Mayor Moon Landrieu.

A conservative within the Democratic Caucus[edit]

Considered a conservative within the Democratic caucus, Johnston procured Senate passage in 1981 of a measure to limit school busing for purposes of racial balance to a distance of no more than five miles or fifteen minutes of time. Johnston's bill passed the Republican-controlled Senate, 60 to 39, with the liberal Republican Lowell Weicker of Connecticut leading the opposition.[28] However, Speaker Tip O'Neill of Massachusetts blocked the measure from being considered by the House of Representatives.[clarification needed]

Johnston broke with his party in 1991 to authorize the use of military force in Operation Desert Storm in Iraq[29] and in support of the narrow confirmation of Clarence Thomas as associate justice on the United States Supreme Court.[30] However, in 1987, he had voted with his Democratic majority against President Ronald W. Reagan's choice of former D.C. Appeals Court Judge Robert Bork for elevation to the Supreme Court.[31]

Johnston was one of the few Senate Democrats to vote against the Budget Act of 1993, which was strongly supported by President Bill Clinton. He repeatedly voted against the Balanced Budget Amendment and giving the President the line-item veto, both of which were measures strongly favored by fiscal conservatives in both parties. On foreign policy issues, he frequently voted with more liberal Democrats to terminate restrictions on travel to communist Cuba and in support of the United Nations and foreign aid. Johnston was the only member of either house of Congress to vote against a 1995 resolution to allow Taiwan's president Lee Teng-hui to visit the United States.[32]

During his tenure as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, he was recognized as the nation's pre-eminent legislator on energy policy.[33]

Johnston was a firm advocate of the Flag Desecration Amendment,[34] opposed abortion and most gun control measures.

Losing out for majority leader to George Mitchell and post-Senate life[edit]

In 1988, Johnston sought the position of Senate Majority Leader but lost to George J. Mitchell of Maine.[35] From 1972 to 1987, Johnston's Louisiana colleague was Russell Long. The two agreed on many issues and formed a close working relationship to deliver federal spending to Louisiana. On Long's death, Johnston delivered a moving eulogy at the funeral. Johnston continued the same kind of partnership with Long's successor, former Senator John B. Breaux, who served from 1987 to 2005.

Since leaving the Senate, Johnston formed Johnston & Associates LLC.[36][37] In 2008, Steptoe & Johnson, a major international law firm, formed a "strategic alliance" with Johnston. Steptoe added three members from Johnston & Associates to the firm.[38]

In 1997, Johnston was elected to Chevron's board of directors[39] but since left the board.[40]

In 2010, Johnston received the National Parks Conservation Association Centennial Leadership Award.[41] In addition, Johnston and former Senator Howard Baker of Tennessee co-chaired the National Parks Second Century Commission.[42]

Currently, Johnston is one of the advisory directors at Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold[43] and Angeleno Group, an energy-based investment group.[44][45]

Johnston's wife, the former Mary Gunn, is a native of Natchitoches, Louisiana. Her brother and only sibling was the Alexandria banker and businessman Norman L. Gunn (1927-2011). Norman Gunn was employed from 1950 to 1988 by the former Rapides Bank and Trust Company, for which he was a senior vice president upon retirement. He was also a former president and one of only five lifetime members of the Alexandria-Pineville Chamber of Commerce.[46]

The Johnstons' son-in-law, former Democratic U.S. Representative Timothy J. Roemer of Indiana,[47] served on the 9/11 Commission.[48]

Johnston is a member of the Baptist Church; his wife[49] is Roman Catholic.[50][51][52] The Johnston children are Bennett, Hunter, Mary, and Sally; there are ten grandchildren.[37][53]

The video conferencing room at Southern University at Shreveport is named in Johnston's honor; it is located inside Stone Hall, named for the late civil rights activist and former president of the Southern University System, Jesse N. Stone of Shreveport.[54]

DEBRA vs Johnston[edit]

In April 2013 Kyrgyz Republic's Agency DEBRA filed a claim with the October Regional Court of Bishkek, against several defendants including J. Bennett Johnston - who was the member of the AUB bank board. DEBRA's statement says that although the ex-senator received $175,000 a year plus share options, "during 2009 and 2010..." he attended board meetings only once.[55]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About CAMD". came.lsu.edu. CAMD. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  2. ^ "John Bennett Johnston, Sr". Retrieved 9 September 2011. 
  3. ^ "Mother of retiring senator dead at 92". The Advocate. 2 December 1996. Retrieved 9 September 2011. 
  4. ^ "U.S. Congress Votes Database". washingtonpost.com. Washington Post. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  5. ^ "Southfield Hall of Fame". southfield-school.org. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  6. ^ "C. E. Byrd High School Collection". scripts.lsus.edu. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c "JOHNSTON, John Bennett, Jr., (1932 - )". bioguide.congress.gov. United States Congress. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  8. ^ David R. Poynter, Legislative Research Library Louisiana House of Representatives. "MEMBERSHIP IN THE LOUISIANA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 1812 - 2012". pp. 43–44. Retrieved 4 September 2011. 
  9. ^ Emily Robison & Wendy Rogers, co-compilers & Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library, Louisiana State University Libraries, Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Spring 2002). "Johnston (J. Bennett) Collection (#4473) Inventory". p. 4. Retrieved 4 September 2011. 
  10. ^ "Ralph Perlman". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved May 31, 2013. 
  11. ^ "MEMBERSHIP IN THE LOUISIANA SENATE 1880 - 2008". p. 24. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  12. ^ "Close Louisiana Race Settled". St. Petersburg Times. 20 December 1971. p. 18-A. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  13. ^ a b Press Dispatches (28 July 1972). "Ellender Dies at 81; Was Dean Of Senate". The Milwaukee Journal. Retrieved 6 September 2011. 
  14. ^ Milburn Calhoun; Jeanne Frois (2006). Louisiana Almanac: 2006-2007. Pelican Publishing. p. 542. ISBN 978-1-58980-306-0. Retrieved 5 September 2011.  Missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  15. ^ Benjamin J. Guthrie & W. Pat Jennings (1973). "Statistics of the Presidential and Congressional Election of November 7, 1972". p. 18. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  16. ^ Kurtz, Michael L. (1998). Louisiana since the Longs: 1960 to Century's End. Lafayette, LA: Center for Louisiana Studies, University of Southwestern Louisiana. p. 81. ISBN 978-1-887366-26-7. ,
  17. ^ a b "James Reeder". Shreveport Times. Retrieved 4 April 2012. 
  18. ^ "Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame". cityofwinnfield.com. Retrieved 22 August 2009. 
  19. ^ Shreveport Times, 9 November 1966
  20. ^ Milburn E. Calhoun, Jeanne Frois (2006). Louisiana Almanac: 2006-2007. Pelican Publishing. p. 544. ISBN 978-1-58980-306-0. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  21. ^ "Ouachita-Richland County Louisiana Archives Obituaries.....ROSS, ROBERT MAX September 15, 2009". 15 September 2009. Retrieved 6 September 2011. 
  22. ^ Charles Bruce Brownson; Anna L. Brownson (1991). Congressional staff directory: Advance locator for Capitol Hill, Part 1. Congressional Staff Directory. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-87289-089-3. Retrieved 6 September 2011.  Missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  23. ^ Kevin McGill (5 October 1990). "Republican quits to help Democrat". The Hour. Retrieved 7 September 2011. 
  24. ^ "Johnston Is Endorsed By 8 Republican Senators". The Washington Post. 4 October 1990. Retrieved 7 September 2011. 
  25. ^ "GOP senators shun Duke, endorse Democrat". The Washington Times. 4 October 1990. Retrieved 7 September 2011. 
  26. ^ "Johnston Takes Lead Over Duke in Louisiana". Los Angeles Times. 7 October 1990. Retrieved 7 September 2011. 
  27. ^ Charles Bruce Brownson; Anna L. Brownson (1991). Congressional staff directory: Advance locator for Capitol Hill, Part 1. Congressional Staff Directory. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-87289-089-3. Retrieved 6 September 2011.  Missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  28. ^ "Johnston's anti-busing bill wins bout in the Senate", Minden Press-Herald, September 17, 1981, p. 1
  29. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 102nd Congress - 1st Session". 12 January 1991. Retrieved 1 November 2010. 
  30. ^ "Congressional Record-Senate". 15 October 1991. Retrieved 1 November 2010. 
  31. ^ "Congressional Record-Senate". 23 October 1987. Retrieved 1 November 2010. 
  32. ^ http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=104&session=1&vote=00157
  33. ^ "Senator J. Bennett Johnston". Bipartisan Policy Center. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  34. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 104th Congress - 1st Session". Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  35. ^ Susan F. Rasky (30 November 1988). "Mitchell of Maine is chosen to lead Senate Democrats". New York Times. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  36. ^ "Lobbying Report". 2010. Retrieved 3 September 2011. 
  37. ^ a b "Senator J. Bennett Johnson". Retrieved 3 September 2011. 
  38. ^ "Steptoe Forms Strategic Alliance with Former Senator J. Bennett Johnston". 23 January 2008. Retrieved 3 September 2011. 
  39. ^ "Former U.S. Senator J. Bennett Johnston Is Elected To Chevron Board Of Directors". 27 January 1997. Retrieved 4 September 2011. 
  40. ^ "Board Of Directors". Retrieved 4 September 2011. 
  41. ^ "J. Bennett Johnston Receives the National Parks Conservation Association Centennial Leadership Award". 24 March 2010. Retrieved 4 September 2011. 
  42. ^ "National Parks Second Century Commission Members". Retrieved 4 September 2011. 
  43. ^ "Advisory Directors". Retrieved 4 September 2011. 
  44. ^ "The Honorable Bennett Johnston". Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  45. ^ "Focus". Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  46. ^ "Norman L. Gunn obituary". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  47. ^ Bill Adair (30 April 2001). "The House is not a home". The St. Petersburg Times (St. Petersburg, FL: Times Publishing Company). Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  48. ^ "National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States". Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  49. ^ "J. Bennett Johnston". Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Libraries. 2002. p. 4. Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  50. ^ ""bennett johnston" catholic Google Search". Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  51. ^ Bartley, Numan; Hugh Davis Graham (1975). Southern politics and the second reconstruction. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 155. ISBN 9780801816673. Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  52. ^ ""bennett johnston" "wife and children" Google Search". Retrieved 3 September 2011. 
  53. ^ Emily Robison & Wendy Rogers, co-compilers & Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library, Louisiana State University Libraries, Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Spring 2002). "Johnston (J. Bennett) Collection (#4473) Inventory". p. 4. Retrieved 3 September 2011. 
  54. ^ "Jesse N. Stone Lecture hall". susla.edu. Retrieved 23 May 2010. 
  55. ^ "Kyrgyzstan to sell Zalkar Bank to Russian investors". http://www.bne.eu/. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 

External links[edit]


United States Senate
Preceded by
Elaine S. Edwards
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Louisiana
1972–1997
Served alongside: Russell B. Long, John Breaux
Succeeded by
Mary Landrieu
Political offices
Preceded by
James A. McClure
Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
1987–1995
Succeeded by
Frank Murkowski
Party political offices
Preceded by
Office created
Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
1975–1976
Succeeded by
Wendell H. Ford