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 R. Anding
Succeeded by Frank Albert Hoffmann
Personal details
Born (1956-03-27) March 27, 1956 (age 58)
West Monroe, Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, USA
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Married
Children One daughter: Lindsay Michelle Walsworth
Occupation Real estate developer
Religion Churches of Christ

Michael Arthur Walsworth, known as Mike Walsworth (born March 27, 1956), is a Republican member of the Louisiana State Senate, elected in the October 20, 2007 jungle primary. Prior to this he represented District 15 (Ouachita Parish) in the Louisiana House of Representatives until he was unable to seek reelection due to term limits. His Senate District 33 includes Ouachita, Claiborne, Morehouse, Union, and West Carroll parishes. He defeated the Democratic State Representative Charles McDonald of the 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 (52 percent) to McDonald's 16,058 (48 percent). 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, a retired farmer from Bastrop, the seat of Morehouse Parish. He rose to infamy in 2013 for his apparent ignorance of the process of evolution as it related to E. Coli bacteria, with critics highlighting his lack of basic science knowledge as likely underpinning his denial of empiricism.[1]

Walsworth was a candidate for a seat on the Republican State Central Committee from his former State Representative District 15 berth in the Louisiana closed primary scheduled for February 9, 2008. However, he withdrew his candidacy two days before the 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 the Democrat Charles R. Anding. He assumed the seat in 1996.

Biography[edit]

Walsworth was born to the late Leo Walsworth and the former 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 graduated from West Monroe High School in 1974. Thereafter, he procured a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Louisiana at Monroe (then Northeastern Louisiana University). He is a real estate developer. He previously worked in management of Coca-Cola. He was a member of the Louisiana Republican State Central Committee from 1984 to 1996. He is affiliated with the Greater Ouachita Lions Club, the American Red Cross, Boys and Girls Clubs, the Civitan Club, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and the American Heart Association. He is also involved in the United Way, the National Rifle Association, and the ULM Alumni Association. Walsworth is the song leader at a local Church of Christ. He is the father of one daughter, Lindsay Michelle Walsworth, a ULM student.

"Looking at the generation, not the next election" is a motto of the Walsworth campaign. In the legislature, Walsworth worked to establish the Ouachita Port Commission and the Ouachita Expressway Commission. He authored the new law which prohibits video voyeurism. 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 Senate District 15.

In his initial election to the House, Walsworth defeated Charles Anding, 7,745 (55 percent) to 6,403 (45 percent). In 1999, with 9,060 (67 percent), he defeated the Democrat Royce Calhoun, with 4,441 (33 percent) to win his second term in the House. He was unopposed in 2003.

In 2013, Walsworth joined with State Representative Rob Shadoin of Ruston to rename the Louisiana Highway 33 bridge over Lake D’Arbonne in Farmerville after the late Representative James Peyton Smith of Union Parish.[2]

Creationism and other controversy[edit]

In a committee hearing on Louisiana State Senate Bill No. 374,[3] Walsworth denied the validity of the theory of evolution by requiring an experiment that "proved" humans evolved from E-Coli.[4] He indicated a lack of knowledge of the scientific method and scientific theory by claiming evolution was "just a theory." As a science teacher described Richard Lenski's decades-long study with E. coli bacteria which froze some and allowed others to evolve, Senator Walsworth asked whether any of them evolved into human beings.[5] Louisiana state 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, which showed United States Representative Vance McAllister (RSwartz, Louisiana) in an ostensibly passionate kiss with his subordinate Melissa Anne Hixon Peacock, who was married to a longtime friend of McAllister, who was 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.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Plait, Phil. "And These Are the People Making Laws in Louisiana". Slate.com. Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  2. ^ "Greg Hilburn, State honors the late Rep. Smith with bridge renaming, September 12, 2013". Monroe News-Star. Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  3. ^ SENATE BILL NO. 374
  4. ^ Creationist Senator wants to know how to turn E. Coli into Humans
  5. ^ Creationist Senator in Louisiana lectured on Evolution, Youtube
  6. ^ 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.

News Articles[edit]

External links[edit]

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