Kip Holden

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Melvin Lee "Kip" Holden
Mayor-President of East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana
Assumed office
January 3, 2005
Preceded by Bobby Simpson
Louisiana State Senator from District 15
In office
Preceded by Wilson Fields
Succeeded by Sharon Weston Broome
Louisiana State Representative from District 63
In office
Preceded by Jewel Joseph Newman
Succeeded by Avon R. Honey
Personal details
Born (1952-08-12) August 12, 1952 (age 62)
New Orleans, Louisiana
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Lois Stevenson Holden
Children Melvin, II, Monique, Angela, Myron, and Brian-Micheal Holden
Alma mater Southern University

Southern University Law Center
Louisiana State University

Occupation Journalist; Lawyer

Melvin Lee Holden, known as Kip Holden (born August 12, 1952), has been since 2005 the African-American Democratic Mayor-President of East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, USA. The parish includes the state capital of Baton Rouge and smaller suburban cities such as Baker, Central City, and Zachary.


Holden was elected mayor-president on November 3, 2004, when he unseated the Republican incumbent, Bobby Simpson of Baker. Holden was inaugurated on January 3, 2005.

The 2004 race was Holden's third attempt to win the mayor-presidency. In 1996, he had failed in a bid to unseat Democrat-turned-Republican Mayor-President Tom Ed McHugh of Zachary, later the executive director of the Louisiana Municipal Association.

Holden's election as the first African-American Mayor-President of East Baton Rouge Parish was fostered through the support of his urban black base but also with substantial support from suburban whites, many being Republicans. Support from the latter group was buoyed by backing from Jim Bernhard, CEO of The Shaw Group, and several other figures in business and industry. The dissatisfaction with Mayor-President Simpson was demonstrated in dramatic fashion by the fact that President Bush received 54 percent of the parish vote in his re-election campaign, and then U.S. Representative Richard Hugh Baker received 69 percent. In the same election Holden matched Bush's 54 percent parishwide total.

On taking office, Holden retained Walter Monsour, a Republican lawyer originally from Shreveport, as the chief administrative officer, even though Monsour had supported Simpson's reelection. Monsour told Holden that he would take the position if Holden agreed to treat all areas of the parish equally whether or not those precincts voted for Holden. Monsour had held the same post twenty years earlier in 1985 under then Democratic Mayor-President Pat Screen and was credited with resolving fiscal problems that developed in Screen's second term.[1] Early in 2009, Monsour stepped down as CAO and was replaced by his assistant, former Republican State Representative Mike Futrell, a Baton Rouge native.[2]

Holden is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition,[3] an organization formed in 2006 and co-chaired by Mayors Michael Bloomberg of New York City and Thomas Menino of Boston, Massachusetts.

In 2008, Holden was inducted into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield.[4]

Professional history[edit]

Previous to his political career, Holden was a journalist and later an attorney. His resume reads, accordingly:

  • Member of the Baton Rouge Metro Council from District 2 (1984–1988)
  • Louisiana Department of Labor, Clerk in the Workers' Compensation Office
  • Baton Rouge City Police, Public information officer
  • WBRZ Channel 2, Baton Rouge - Reporter (1978–1979)


Campaign 2012[edit]

Holden handily won reelection in the nonpartisan blanket primary held in conjunction with the national election on November 6, 2012. One of his opponents, Republican J. Michael "Mike" Walker, Sr., a member of the Metro Council, questioned Holden and the city-parish for having provided security services for Louis Farrakhan when the Nation of Islam spokesman addressed a group on October 3 at Southern University. Walker's advertisement includes a video of Farrakhan thanking Holden and the police chief for security services and Farrakhan's escort to Baton Rouge from the airport in New Orleans.[7]

With 115,305 votes (60 percent), Holden defeated three opponents. Walker finished second with 65,972 ballots (34.3 percent). Two Independents held the remaining 5.7 percent of the vote.[8]

Campaign 2015[edit]

In August 2014, Holden announced that he seek the position of lieutenant governor in 2015, as the incumbent Republican Jay Dardenne, also of Baton Rouge, challenges U.S. Senator David Vitter for the right to succeed the term-limited Republican Governor Bobby Jindal. Holden's opponents are expected to include three Republicans, a fellow African American, State Senator Elbert Guillory of St. Landry Parish, who spoke out against the unsuccessful re-election bid of U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu in the 2014 election, and John Young, the Republican president of Jefferson Parish. Already in the race is a 2011 candidate who lost to Dardenne, Billy Nungesser, the president of Plaquemines Parish. The position is focused upon the promotion of tourism in Louisiana.[9][10]tove

Personal life[edit]

Holden is one of five children, two deceased, of the late Mr. and Mrs. Curtis Lee Holden, Sr. He has two sisters, Evelyn and Brenda Holden. His older brother, Curtis Holden, Jr. (1950-2013), a native of Woodville, Mississippi, was a retired employee of the Baton Rouge municipal public works department.[11] Prior to his death from complications resulting from two strokes, Holden had operated Holden's Powerhouse, a family-owned bar in the African-American Scotlandville neighborhood of Baton Rouge.[12]

Married to the former Lois Stevenson, Holden has five children, Melvin, II, Monique, Angela, Myron, and Brian-Micheal.


  1. ^ "James E. Shelledy, "Walter Monsour, the most powerful man you’ve never voted for"". Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Executive Orders: Mike Futrell". Retrieved July 14, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Mayors Against Illegal Guns: Coalition Members".  Retrieved on June 18, 2007
  4. ^ "Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame". Retrieved August 22, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Membership of the Louisiana State Senate, 1880-2012". Retrieved October 25, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Membership of the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2016". Retrieved December 19, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Faimon Roberts, III, "Holden denounces ad"". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved October 25, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Louisiana election returns, November 6, 2012". Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  9. ^ Rebekah Allen. "BR mayor Kip Holden says he's running for Lieutenant Gov.". Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved August 6, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Mayor announces campaign for lieutenant governor". Alexandria Town Talk. December 10, 2014. Retrieved December 11, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Curtis Lee Holden, Jr.". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved December 19, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Curtis Holden Jr., mayor’s brother, dies". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved December 19, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Bobby Ray Simpson
Baton Rouge Mayor-President

Melvin L. "Kip" Holden

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Wilson Fields
Louisiana State Senator from District 15

Melvin L. "Kip" Holden

Succeeded by
Sharon Weston Broome
Preceded by
Jewel Joseph Newman
Louisiana State Representative from District 63 (East Baton Rouge Parish)

Melvin L. "Kip" Holden

Succeeded by
Avon R. Honey