Mike Walsworth

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Michael Arthur "Mike" Walsworth
Member of the Louisiana Senate
from the 33rd district
Incumbent
Assumed office
2008
Preceded by Robert Jocelyn Barham
Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives
from the 15th district
In office
1996–2008
Preceded by Charles Anding
Succeeded by Frank A. Hoffmann
Personal details
Born (1956-03-27) March 27, 1956 (age 59)
West Monroe, Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, USA
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Married
Children Lindsay Michelle Walsworth
Education University of Louisiana at Monroe
Occupation Real estate developer
Religion Churches of Christ

Michael Arthur Walsworth, known as Mike Walsworth (born March 27, 1956), is an American real estate developer from West Monroe, Louisiana, who is a Republican member from District 33 of the Louisiana State Senate. He was first elected in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 20, 2007. Prior to then he represented District 15 (Ouachita Parish) in the Louisiana House of Representatives until he was unable to seek reelection because of term limits. Walsworth's Senate district includes Ouachita, Claiborne, Morehouse, Union, and West Carroll parishes. He defeated the Democratic State Representative Charles McDonald of Fairbanks community in northern Ouachita Parish to succeed the term-limited Republican Senator Robert J. Barham of Oak Ridge in Morehouse Parish. Walsworth polled 17,292 (51.7 percent) to McDonald's 16,058 (48.3 percent).[1] McDonald's House seat, to which he was term-limited, was narrowly won in the November 17, 2007, state election by a Republican, Sam Little, retired farmer from Bastrop, seat of Morehouse Parish. In a 2013 committee meeting, a question which Walsworth raised, about the theory of evolution as it relates to E. Coli bacteria, caused his critics to claim that he lacks basic scientific knowledge.[2] From 1984 to 1996, Walsworth was a member of the Louisiana Republican State Central Committee. On February 9, 2008, he sought to return to the committee to represent his former State Representative District 15 berth. But he withdrew his candidacy two days before the closed primary election, and the position went by default to M. Randall "Randy" Donald. Walsworth was first elected to the state House in the 1995 primary when he unseated two-term Democrat Charles Anding of West Monroe and assumed the seat in 1996.

Biography[edit]

Walsworth was born to Leo Walsworth and his wife Lila "Tootsie" Kitchens (1921–2007) in West Monroe adjacent to Monroe in Ouachita Parish. His maternal grandparents, Marshall and Emily Kitchens, operated a grocery store in Monroe. Walsworth was graduated from West Monroe High School in 1974. Thereafter, he procured a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Louisiana at Monroe (then Northeast Louisiana University). He is a real estate developer. He previously worked in management of Coca-Cola. He is affiliated with the Greater Ouachita Lions Club, American Red Cross, Boys and Girls Clubs, Civitan Club, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and American Heart Association. He is also involved in the United Way of America, National Rifle Association, and ULM Alumni Association. Walsworth is the song leader at a local Church of Christ. He is the father of one daughter, Lindsay Michelle Walsworth. "Looking at the generation, not the next election" has been a motto of Walsworth's political campaigns. In the legislature, Walsworth worked to establish the Ouachita Port Commission and the Ouachita Expressway Commission. He authored a law which renders video voyeurism illegal in Louisiana. He worked on the Ethics Reform Bill to prohibit lawmakers from doing business with the state. He also worked to pass tort reform in his first legislative session. He has pushed for funding of rural schools, which abound in House District 15 and Senate District 33. In his initial election to the House, Walsworth defeated Charles Anding, 7,745 (55 percent) to 6,403 (45 percent).[3] In 1999, with 9,060 votes (67 percent), Walsworth defeated Democrat Royce Calhoun, who had 4,441 votes (33 percent), to win a second term in the House. Walsworth was unopposed in 2003 for his third and final term in the House. In 2013, Walsworth joined State Representative Rob Shadoin of Ruston to rename the Louisiana Highway 33 bridge over Lake D’Arbonne in Farmerville after Representative James Peyton Smith of Union Parish. James Peyton Smith had died in 2006.[4]

Creationism and other controversy[edit]

In a 2013 committee hearing on Louisiana Senate Bill 374,[5] Walsworth raised a question which, according to Walsworth's critics, revealed his misapprehension, or misrepresentation, of the theory of evolution. Walsworth's question was about an experiment on E. coli bacteria. As a science teacher described Richard Lenski's decades-long study with E. coli bacteria which froze some and allowed others to evolve, Walsworth asked whether any of the bacteria evolved—during the experiment—into human beings.[6] His critics claim that Walsworth either lacks knowledge of, or misrepresented, or expressed a jocular attitude toward, the scientific method and scientific theory by describing as "just a theory" the entire process of evolution. Louisiana Senate Bill 374 was designed to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act.

In 2014, Walsworth was alleged to have been involved in conveying a video to the Ouachita Citizen, weekly newspaper published in West Monroe. The video showed Republican United States Representative Vance McAllister of Louisiana's 5th congressional district in an ostensibly passionate kiss with his subordinate, Melissa Anne Hixon Peacock, married to a longtime friend of McAllister, who is also married. Walsworth firmly denied any connection with, or even knowledge of, the video prior to its publication. The video, which had been anonymously left with the Ouachita Citizen, evoked a national news story.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Results for Election Date: 10/20/2007". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved May 23, 2014. 
  2. ^ Plait, Phil. "And These Are the People Making Laws in Louisiana". Slate.com. Retrieved 2015-05-03. 
  3. ^ "Results for Election Date: 10/21/1995". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved May 22, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Greg Hilburn, State honors the late Rep. Smith with bridge renaming, September 12, 2013". Monroe News-Star. Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  5. ^ SENATE BILL NO. 374
  6. ^ Creationist Senator in Louisiana lectured on Evolution, YouTube
  7. ^ Mustian, Jim (2014-04-09). "Voters let down by 'kissing congressman'". Advocate (Baton Rouge, Louisiana). pp. 1A, 5A. Retrieved 2014-04-09.  The allegation toward Walsworth and his denial thereof appear on p. 5A. Later in the same year McAllister failed to win re-election, being eliminated in the primary. Advancing to the general election were Monroe mayor Democrat Jamie Mayo and veterinarian and physician Ralph Abraham of Mangham in Richland Parish, with Abraham, a Republican, winning the seat and replacing McAllister.

News Articles[edit]

External links[edit]

Louisiana House of Representatives
Preceded by
Charles Anding
Louisiana State Representative from District 16
1996 – 2008
Succeeded by
Frank A. Hoffmann
Louisiana Senate
Preceded by
Robert Jocelyn Barham
Louisiana State Senator from District 33
2008 – present
Succeeded by
Incumbent