|Jack Arthur "Jay" Blossman, Jr.|
|Louisiana Public Service Commissioner|
January 1, 1997 – December 31, 2008
|Preceded by||John F. Schwegmann|
|Succeeded by||Eric F. Skrmetta|
October 3, 1964 |
Covington, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, USA
|Alma mater||Louisiana State University
Southern University Law School
|Occupation||Attorney in Mandeville, Louisiana|
Jack Arthur Blossman, Jr., known as Jay Blossman (born October 3, 1964), is an attorney from Mandeville, Louisiana, who is a Republican former member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission. Blossman was the PSC chairman for his last two years on the board, 2007 to 2008.
The First District PSC seat encompasses all or parts of Ascension, Jefferson, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes in south Louisiana. Blossman was first elected to the PSC in 1996, when at thirty-two, he was the youngest person to have been elected to the commission. He was reelected in 2002. His term expired on December 31, 2008, and he did not seek reelection.
Early years, education, affiliations
Blossman was born to Mr. and Mrs. Jack Blossman, Sr., in Covington, the seat of St. Tammany Parish. He graduated from the St. Paul's School in Covington. In 1987, he received a bachelor's degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Thereafter, in 1991, Blossman obtained his Juris Doctor degree from the historically black Southern University School of Law in Baton Rouge. He resides in Mandeville with his wife, Lynette Blossman, and their children.
Blossman is a member of Victims and Citizens Against Crime, the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, and the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. He is a past chairman of the Boy Scouts of America. Blossman is a member of the board of directors of the Covington-based Parish National Bank. He is also a member of the American Heart Association and the Louisiana Bone Marrow Registry.
In 1995, Blossman ran as a Democrat in the nonpartisan blanket primary for the District 77 seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives. He was defeated by Republican businesswoman Diane Winston, who held the seat from 1996 until she was term-limited in 2008.
Defeating John F. Schwegmann twice
As a Republican, Blossman in 1996 unseated incumbent Commissioner John F. Schwegmann (born 1946), then a Democrat from Metairie, a large census-designated place in Jefferson Parish. Schwegmann's father was the late state legislator and PSC member John G. Schwegmann. He is the husband of former Lieutenant Governor Melinda Schwegmann, another Democrat turned Republican. Blossman polled 133,455 votes (55 percent) to Schwegmann's 108,957 (45 percent).
Blossman beat Schwegmann again in 2002, 104,963 votes (68 percent) to 49,643 ballots (32 percent). It was in the October 2002 primary that Schwegmann was first listed as an Independent or officially "No Party" on the Louisiana ballot.
The ill-fated gubernatorial attempt, 2003
Main article: Louisiana gubernatorial election, 2003
In 2003, Blossman announced that he would seek to become the Republican gubernatorial consensus candidate to succeed term-limited GOP Governor Murphy J. "Mike" Foster. Blossman calls himself a "Reagan conservative." He opposed the since repealed Stelly Plan, which increased property taxes on most middle-class families and was named for its author, former state Representative Vic Stelly of Lake Charles.
However, other Republicans wanted to run as well, including former Governor David C. Treen, who in retirement had settled in Blossman's own St. Tammany Parish. Treen, after testing the waters, never filed his papers to make the race. Two other Republicans continued in the race: (1) state Representative Huntington B. "Hunt" Downer, Jr., of Houma, the seat of Terrebonne Parish, and (2) Bobby L. Jindal, an Indian-American health-care specialist then of Baton Rouge and the favorite of Governor Foster, U.S. President George W. Bush, and much of the Republican leadership. The Republican hopefuls risked dividing their party's base to such an extent that two Democrats, and no Republican candidate, might have been thrust into the general election under Louisiana's unique nonpartisan blanket primary.
Blossman found himself in hot water with outgoing Governor Foster, who lashed out against the public service commissioner on radio. Blossman had run a television commercial which blamed state leaders for not funding a DNA program that could have led to the earlier arrest of a suspected South Louisiana serial killer. Foster said that he considered that his criticism could aid Blossman's campaign by giving it more exposure, but the governor spoke out and accused Blossman of running an offensive advertisement in bad taste.
Blossman spent more than $1 million in his race, much of that amount consisting of his own loans to his campaign. By late summer, Blossman had $613,000 on hand. He spent $552,000 in the second quarter of 2003, including the repayment of $285,000 in loans to himself. He raised $168,000 from others in the third quarter, $512,000 since January 1, 2003.
When Blossman failed to make the expected traction in the polls, he announced that former Republican Congressman Clyde C. Holloway of Forest Hill in Rapides Parish would join him on an unofficial "ticket" as the lieutenant governor's candidate. Candidates had stopped forming such combinations after the 1971 Democratic primaries. Holloway was widely identified as a social conservative by his voting record. He had represented the heavily Democratic and since defunct Eighth Congressional District from 1987-1993. Holloway had left Congress four years before Blossman joined the PSC. In his bid for lieutenant governor, Holloway stressed the need to halt the loss of manufacturing jobs from Louisiana and to boost the low-wage base in many parishes.
Blossman continued to sink in the opinion polls, was denied a seat in a candidate debate forum, withdrew from the gubernatorial race, and endorsed Downer, who contested Jindal for a potential but not assured GOP slot in the general election. Earlier, Blossman had called Downer "a liberal Democrat", but he then said that only Downer, among the Republican candidates, could actually win the general election. Blossman said that Jindal, who is seven years younger than Blossman, was at that time too young and inexperienced to prevail in the governor's race.
Jindal went on to lead the pack of candidates and was placed into a second round of balloting with the top Democrat, outgoing Lieutenant Governor (and former member of the PSC as well) Kathleen Babineaux Blanco of Lafayette. Blanco in turn defeated Jindal, 52-48 percent.
Holloway remained in the lieutenant governor's race after Blossman dropped his candidacy. He finished a weak second to Democrat Mitchell Landrieu of the New Orleans Landrieu family. Landrieu in fact won the second office directly in the primary. Also in the lieutenant governor's race was a former holder of the office, Melinda Schwegmann, wife of Blossman's former PSC opponent, John F. Schwegmann.
Leaving the PSC
Blossman had planned to seek a third term on the PSC but withdrew from consideration in July 2008, after an ethics complaint had been filed against him. Blossman also said that he wished to spend more time with his family and his family-owned bank. The Louisiana Ethics Board charged Blossman with improperly sending letters on PSC letterhead stationery to trucking company executives, whose businesses are regulated by the PSC, asking that they meet with a salesman friend of his who was offering a new product of potential interest to them. Blossman denied having broken any laws in sending out the letters.
Former Commissioner John F. Schwegmann, using the "No Party" label, led a field of four candidates in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 4, 2008. Schwegmann led in the primary with 61,711 (41.8 percent) to the 34,206 ballots (23.1 percent) for Republican Eric F. Skrmetta of Metairie. The other candidates were populist Democrat-turned-Republican former State Representative Kenneth L. Odinet, Sr., of Arabi, with 33,470 (22.6 percent), and "No Party" Bruce C. Kincade, with 18,440 (12.5 percent). In the November 4 general election, Skrmetta easily defeated Schwegmann, 222,268 (60 percent) to 149,220 (40 percent).
Oddly in April 2009, some three months after Blossman left the PSC, Clyde Holloway won a special election to fill a vacancy on the body in a neighboring district.
John F. Schwegmann
|Louisiana Public Service Commissioner (District I)
Jack Arthur "Jay" Blossman, Jr.
Eric F. Skrmetta
- "Stunner: Jay Blossman Quits PSC race". lapolitics.com. July 18, 2008. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
- Louisiana Secretary of State website: http://www400.sos.louisiana.gov:8090/cgibin/?rqstyp=elcms2&rqsdta=100408
- Louisiana secretary of state, Louisiana general election returns, November 4, 2008: http://electionresults.sos.louisiana.gov/weborb30/soselection/soselection.html