Joe R. Salter

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Joe Reece Salter
Louisiana State Representative from District 24 (Sabine and Red River and parts of De Soto and Vernon parishes)
In office
1986 – January 14, 2008
Preceded by H.M. "Mutt" Fowler
Succeeded by Frank A. Howard
Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives
In office
January 12, 2004 – January 14, 2008
Preceded by Charles W. DeWitt, Jr.
Succeeded by Jim Tucker
Personal details
Born (1943-08-13) August 13, 1943 (age 70)
Florien, Sabine Parish, Louisiana, USA
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Bettye Lilly Salter
Children Amanda M. Gibbs

Brantley Reece Salter

Occupation Educator
Religion Baptist
(1) After twenty-one years in the Louisiana House of Representatives, the last four as Speaker, Salter became the chief lobbyist for the Louisiana Department of Education with other government agencies.

(2) Salter's experience in professional education dates back to his work as a classroom teacher in his native Sabine Parish in 1965.

(3) Salter initially won election to the legislature when scandal forced the resignation of H.M. "Mutt" Fowler.

(4) The replacement of Democratic precincts from Bienville Parish with parts of Vernon Parish sufficiently altered District 24 so as to allow a Republican to win the seat in 2007.

Joe Reece Salter (born August 13, 1943) is the director of governmental affairs of the Louisiana State Department of Education and a Democratic former Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives.

In 1986, he began representing District 24 in northwestern Louisiana, which then included Sabine, De Soto, Bienville, and Red River parishes. He was initially seated after a special election was held to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of H.M. "Mutt" Fowler of Coushatta in Red River Parish.


Early years and education[edit]

A native of Florien in Sabine Parish, Salter graduated in 1961 from Florien High School. He obtained his Bachelor of Science and master's degree in professional education from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, where he was Phi Delta Kappa and also affiliated with Phi Kappa Phi honor society and the Blue Key honor fraternity. He began teaching in 1965 in Sabine Parish. In 1969, he became principal of Florien High School, having succeeded his father-in-law in that position. In 1980, Salter became the assistant superintendent of schools for Sabine Parish. He is affiliated with the interest group, the Louisiana Association of School Executives. Salter has also been a bank board member, a Florien town alderman, and a member of his parish Fire Protection District. Salter's wife, the former Bettye Lilly, is a former teacher. The couple has two children, Amanda M. Gibbs and Brantley Reece Salter. Salter is a member of the Lions Club and Rotary International. He is Baptist.[1]


Election history[edit]

Salter was elected without opposition for his first full term in the legislature in the 1987 jungle primary. In 1991, however, he faced a runoff, officially the general election in Louisiana, with fellow Democrat Kenneth Simmons. Salter prevailed 10,054 (53.9 percent) to Simmons' 8,617 (46.2 percent).[2] In 1995, Salter faced a "No party" challenger, Lowray "Matt" Chachere, but prevailed, 12,041 (75.9 percent) to 3,831 (24.1 percent).[3]

No one challenged Salter in 1999. In his last election on October 4, 2003, Salter, with 10,794 votes (75.9 percent), handily defeated two fellow Republican's, Jack Adair (11.8 percent) and Charles "Chuck" Adcock (12.3 percent).[4]

Selection as Speaker[edit]

In 2004, Salter was tapped by Democratic Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco as her choice to be the 62nd Speaker of the Louisiana House to succeed Charles W. DeWitt, Jr., of Rapides Parish as presiding officer. He was the first person from his House district ever to be Speaker. Unlike most states, Louisiana's governor recommends a choice for speaker, and that person is almost always chosen by the full chamber.

Considering his experience in education, Salter served on the House Education Committee and on the key committees which address the budget and financing of state government – Appropriations Committee, the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget, and the Joint Capital Outlay Committee.[5]

Salter's honors include the following: Louisiana Federation of Teachers Legislative Golden Apple Award (1986, 1987, 1990) and Representative of the Year Award (1991 and 2001); Louisiana Association of Educators Friend of Education (1994), Outstanding Serve Award and Legislative Honor Roll (1997), and Outstanding Legislator (2001); Louisiana Library Association Distinguished Legislator of the Year (1989); Louisiana Council on Aging Directors’ Association, Champion of Senior Citizen Issues in Louisiana Special Award (2001); Fleur de Lis Health Care Leadership Award (2002); Guardian of Small Business Award( 1991) Louisiana Rural Health Association, Legislator of the Year (1995); Louisiana Public Broadcasting President’s Award (2000); Police Jury Association of Louisiana Friend of the Parishes (1997). He is a member of the Coushatta-Red River and Sabine Parish chambers of commerce, Toledo Bend Reservoir Citizens Advisory Committee, and Toledo Bend Lake Association.[5]

Salter has been vice chairman of the board of Ddrectors of the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts in Natchitoches. He has served too on the advisory board Northwestern State University - Leesville/Fort Polk campus. On a regional and national level, he served on the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and their education committee, the Southern Regional Education Board Legislative Advisory Council, and the Education Commission of the States.[5]


Education lobbyist[edit]

Salter was term-limited in the 2007 elections. In 2008, he began his latest position at a salary of $120,000 annually under Education Superintendent Paul Pastorek. In 2007, Pastorek assumed the superintendency on the death of Cecil Picard, a former member of both houses of the legislature. In Louisiana, the education was previously elected, but the post became appointive in the 1980s, Pastorek was retained by Republican Governor Bobby Jindal. The superintendent is selected by the 11-member elected Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and while the governor's recommendation is significant, it is not binding; the superintendent is now John White. Salter acted as a lobbyist and liaison officer for the Education Department with his former colleagues in the legislature, with the state's congressional delegation, and with local school boards.[6]


Two Republicans succeed Salter[edit]

Not only did Republican Jim Tucker succeed Salter as Speaker of the House, but Republican Frank A. Howard followed him in the District 24 seat. The district grew more Republican with the removal of heavily Democratic Bienville Parish and the placement of fifteen precincts in Vernon Parish, which is more politically balanced between the parties.[7] Frankie Howard, as he is known, hence became in 2008 the first Republican representative ever from District 24.[8]

In 2008, Salter was inducted into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield[9]

References[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Charles W. DeWitt, Jr.
Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives

Joe Reece Salter
2004–2008

Succeeded by
Jim Tucker
Louisiana House of Representatives
Preceded by
H.M. "Mutt" Fowler
Louisiana State Representative from District 24 (Sabine and Red River and parts of De Soto and Vernon parishes)

Joe Reece Salter
1986–2008

Succeeded by
Frank A. Howard