Robert Kostelka

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Robert William "Bob" Kostelka
Member of the Louisiana Senate
from the 35th district
Incumbent
Assumed office
2004
Preceded by William "Bill" Jones
Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judge
In office
1998–2003
Louisiana Fourth District State Court Judge
In office
1982–1998
District Attorney of Ouachita Parish, Louisiana
In office
1971–1972
Assistant District Attorney in Ouachita Parish
In office
1964–1971
Personal details
Born (1933-02-18) February 18, 1933 (age 81)
Shreveport, Caddo Parish, Louisiana, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) (1) Bobbie Ann Morales (died 1983)

(2) Felicia Marie Danna

Children Five children, including

R. Clifton Kostelka (died 1995)

Residence Monroe, Ouachita Parish, Louisiana
Alma mater C.E. Byrd High School

Centenary College of Louisiana
Louisiana State University
Northwestern University School of Law

Profession Attorney
Religion Presbyterian

Robert William Kostelka, usually known as Bob Kostelka (born February 18, 1933), is a former district attorney, district judge, and circuit judge, and, currently, a Republican member of the Louisiana State Senate from Monroe.[1] As state senator, he has represented Ouachita, Lincoln, and Jackson parishes in District 35 since 2004. He was unopposed for a second Senate term in the October 20, 2007, nonpartisan blanket primary. Kostelka retired from his circuit judgeship in 2003, when he reached the age of seventy, as required by an amendment to the Louisiana Constitution of 1974.

Kostelka endorsed U.S. Senator John McCain of Arizona for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. He told delegates at the state convention in Baton Rouge on February 16, 2008, that they should coalesce behind McCain, who trailed former Governor Michael Dale "Mike" Huckabee of Arkansas in the February 9 Louisiana presidential primary. "Can you believe the United States is on the verge of electing Barack Hussein Obama or the wife of Monica's ex-boyfriend?", a reference to Monica Lewinsky, the White House intern who had an affair with former U.S. President Bill Clinton. "It's enough to make you want to cry," the Monroe Republican continued.[2]

In 1992, Kostelka was nominated by then President George Herbert Walker Bush for the federal judgeship held by the retiring Richard M. Nixon appointee Thomas E. Stagg, Jr., of Shreveport in Caddo Parish. The nomination died with the election of Bill Clinton as president.[1]

Early years, education, affiliations[edit]

The Shreveport-born[1] Kostelka graduated from C.E. Byrd High School, as have numerous political figures, including former U.S. Senator J. Bennett Johnston, Jr., of Louisiana and current U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia. After high school, Kostelka attended the Methodist-affiliated Centenary College in Shreveport. He then transferred to Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1957, Kostelka obtained his law degree from LSU. He later received training for prosecuting attorneys at the Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. He was a member of Kappa Alpha Society and the Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity. He is a member of the American Bar, Louisiana Bar, and the Appellate Judges' associations.

Kostelka has long been a member of the Salvation Army, was the Monroe chairman for three terms, and was named "Citizen of the Year" in 1971. He has been a member of Rotary International in Monroe since 1968. He was worked in Boy Scouts of America and the YMCA. He is a member of the National Rifle Association, Ducks Unlimited, Bass Research Foundation, National Wildlife Federation, the Arthritis Foundation, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Kostelka has been a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Monroe since 1968. He is an elder and a former Sunday school teacher.[1]

Kostelka has been twice married. His first wife, the former Bobbie Ann Morales (1936–1983) of Port Allen in West Baton Rouge Parish died of breast cancer. She was the mother of four of his children,[1] including R. Clifton Kostelka of San Antonio, who died of AIDS in 1995. Kostelka later married the former Felicia Marie Danna (born 1958) of West Monroe, also in Ouachita Parish. Bob and Felicia Kostelka have one child from their marriage.[1]

Kostelka's hobbies include backpacking and hiking, bass and trout fishing, jogging and tennis, and outdoor and wildlife photography.[1]

Two defeats for district attorney[edit]

Kostelka was an assistant district attorney (1964–1971) and then briefly the appointed Democratic district attorney for the Louisiana Fourth District Court from 1971 to 1972. He ran in the November 6, 1971, Democratic primary for an unexpired term as district attorney. He made "social conservatism" a centerpiece of his campaign even before the term was widely used. He vowed to use the district attorney's office to prosecute violators of obscenity laws. Kostelka, however, was defeated by Johnie Carl Parkerson (1932-2013) of Monroe,[3] 21,639 (57.2 percent) to 16,203 (42.8 percent).

By 1972, Kostelka had switched to Republican affiliation and ran in the general election to challenge Parkerson for a full six-year term, and he lost again, even though he supposedly would have benefited from the successful Nixon-Agnew ticket in Louisiana. Kostelka received 16,518 votes the second time, almost identical to his raw votes as a Democrat. Parkerson again prevailed with 25,556 votes (60.7 percent).[4] At the time of his death in 2013, Parkerson was a registered Independent.[5][6]

Kostelka's percent of the vote declined by 3.5 points even though his actual vote was stable from one election to the next. On vacating the D.A.'s office, he established a private law practice in Monroe.

Election to state judgeships[edit]

Kostelka was first elected on December 18, 1982, to an unexpired term on the Fourth Judicial District Court, consisting of Ouachita and Morehouse parishes. He was reelected to six-year terms in 1984, 1990 and 1996, with minimal or no opposition.

In 1998, however, he left the district court when he was elected without opposition to the Louisiana State Second Circuit Court of Appeal, based in Monroe. He retired from the judgeship and ran for the state Senate in 2003. Kostelka was succeeded as district judge by state Representative Jimmy Dimos, a Democrat who had served as Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives in the Charles E. Roemer, III, administration from 1988 to 1992.

Three Senate elections[edit]

Kostelka challenged freshman Senator William "Bill" Jones (not to be confused with former African-American Democratic state Senator Charles D. Jones). Kostelka stressed his conservative and generally pro-business views, as opposed to the moderate to even liberal and pro-labor votes that Jones had cast in his one legislative term. Still, Kostelka won only by a narrow margin, 17,331 (52 percent) to 16,964 (48 percent), according to official returns from 112 precincts in the three parishes.

In the Senate, Kostelka has been a member of the Insurance, Judiciary A, and Homeland Security committees.

Kostelka has demonstrated the ability to work with Democratic colleagues when the Senate lacked a Republican majority. One of his colleagues, Robert Adley, a Democrat (later Republican) from Bossier City in Bossier Parish, affectionately referred to Kostelka as "my lawyer." Adley's remark came when Kostelka slipped Adley a note during debate, which said that a compromise on an oil cleanup bill was almost completed, and the issue then before the Senate should be tabled.

Kostelka won his third term in the state Senate in the primary election held on October 22, 2011. He defeated his fellow Republican Jeffrey Dowling "Jeff" Guerriero, a Monroe attorney. The tally was 14,638 votes (52 percent) to 13,488 votes (48 percent).[7]

Kostelka is term-limited in 2015. Newly-converted Republican State Representative James R. Fannin of Jonesboro, who is term-limited in the House, is considered a leading prospect to seek Kostelka's seat.[8]

Opposition to same-sex marriage[edit]

In 2004, in his first term in the Senate, Kostelka sponsored an amendment to the Louisiana Constitution to limit the meaning of "marriage" to the union of one male and one female and to forbid same-sex unions. He was able to personalize the debate on the Senate floor, when he clashed with Senator Kip Holden, a Baton Rouge Democrat, who later in the year would be elected mayor-president of the City of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish. The liberal Holden had argued that the Kostelka amendment could easily be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kostelka said that a federal constitutional ban on marriage between members of the same sex is required, but he also favored addressing the matter in the state constitution. The purpose of marriage is to continue the human species, he noted. Kostelka also noted that he "had a son who died of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. I loved my son, and I cherish his memory, but, as I told him, I could never accept his life-style."

Four senators in committee, two from each party, joined Kostelka in voting for the proposal, which the legislature and then the Louisiana electorate approved in 2004. Holden and fellow liberal black Senator Cleo Fields, also of Baton Rouge, opposed the amendment.

Kostelka targets "deadbeat" parents[edit]

Kostelka sponsored legislation to make it illegal for a man or woman intentionally to withhold child support payments. He got the bill passed, and Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco signed it into law.[9]

The bill was opposed by several groups because it failed to provide protection for parents who are being abused by the existing child-support laws. Child support orders in excess of 50 percent of a person's net income are not uncommon under current law.

The "Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act" makes nonpayment of child support a criminal offense that could send a non-paying parent to jail.[9] Bowler predicted that the new law will have no impact on the collection of overdue support payments. Incarcerating a parent could cost the person his job and make it even harder for the individual to find another livelihood, she said. Kostelka and other supporters, however, said that the fear of criminal penalties could compel more who are in arrears to catch up with their payments. At the time, the amount of child support in arrears in Louisiana was believed to be approximately $800 million.[9] The law applies to parents who either owe more than $5,000 or have gone more than a year without making payments.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Senator Robert W. "Bob" Kostelka - District 35". Louisiana State Senate. Retrieved 14 December 2012. 
  2. ^ Anderson, Ed (16 February 2008). "State's delegates move to McCain column". The Times-Picayune (Baton Rouge, Louisiana). 
  3. ^ "Barbara Leader, Former DA Parkerson dead at 80, November 12, 2013". Monroe News-Star. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  4. ^ Louisiana Secretary of State, General election returns, November 1972
  5. ^ "Punch Johnie Parkerson, November 1932". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  6. ^ The Secretary of State's office spells Parkerson's name "Johnie", but newspapers usually use "Johnny" for the first name.
  7. ^ "Unofficial Election Results – Results for Election Date: 10/22/2011". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved October 22, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Greg Hilburn, "Appropriations Chairman Fannin switches to Republican Party"". Monroe News-Star, July 11, 2013. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c The Associated Press (9 July 2004). "Child Support Bill Gets Signature". KPLC-TV 7. 
Louisiana Senate
Preceded by
William "Bill" Jones
Louisiana State Senator for the 35th District (Ouachita, Lincoln, and Jackson parishes)

Robert William "Bob" Kostelka
2004–

Succeeded by
Incumbent