Vance McAllister

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Vance McAllister
Vance McAllister, Official Portrait, 113th Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 5th district
Incumbent
Assumed office
November 16, 2013
Preceded by Rodney Alexander
Personal details
Born Vance Michael McAllister
(1974-01-07) January 7, 1974 (age 40)
Oak Grove, West Carroll Parish
Louisiana, USA
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Kelly Duncan McAllister (m. 1997); 5 children
Residence Swartz, Louisiana
Alma mater University of Louisiana at Monroe
Occupation Diversified businessman
Religion Southern Baptist
McAllister campaign sign

Vance Michael McAllister, Sr. (born January 7, 1974), is a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from Louisiana's 5th congressional district. He won a special runoff election held on November 16, 2013, for the seat vacated by fellow Republican Rodney Alexander.

According to the office of Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler in Baton Rouge, McAllister defeated Riser, 54,449 (59.7 percent) to 36,837 (40.3 percent), with all 981 precincts reporting.[1]

Background[edit]

McAllister is a lifelong resident of northeast Louisiana. He was born to Gene and Kathy McAllister in Oak Grove, Louisiana. The senior McAllister worked for forty-two years at the former International Paper Company mill in Bastrop. McAllister grew up on a small community in West Carroll Parish and graduated in 1992 from Forest High School in Forest, Louisiana, south of Oak Grove. Immediately after high school, McAllister entered the United States Army, in which he became a combat medic and served a tour of duty in South Korea. Later, he was stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky.[2] He subsequently joined the Louisiana National Guard and attended the University of Louisiana at Monroe but dropped out to accept employment from Mustang Engineering, a company which sent him on foreign assignments. He remained affiliated with Mustang until he resigned to run for Congress.[3]

Business career[edit]

McAllister first worked in the oilfield technology business and then branched into oil and natural gas leasing, real estate, convenience stores, pipeline construction, equipment rental, and the promotion of wrestling matches and other sporting events. His most successful company is an oil exploration and production company, Texas Coastal Energy Company, based in Irving. Texas Coastal explores for oil and natural gas domestically, and is run by its CEO, Jeff Gordon. He has Fox Pizza fast-food restaurant franchises and owns three Subway sandwich shops, two in Monroe and one in Oak Grove.[2]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

2013 election[edit]

McAllister was politically unknown until he entered the contest to choose a successor to Rodney Alexander, who stepped down on September 26, 2013, in the first year of his sixth term in Congress, to join the administration of Governor Bobby Jindal as secretary of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs. With 18 percent of the vote, McAllister finished second among fourteen candidates in the first round of balloting held on October 19. State Senator Neil Riser finished first with 32 percent of the vote. In the first round of balloting, Riser led McAllister by nearly 15,000 votes and carried thirteen of the twenty-four parishes in the district.

McAllister was the leading votegetter only in West Carroll and Richland parishes but ran a strong second to Riser in Ouachita Parish.[4] As the top two candidates, Riser and McAllister entered the runoff contest.

The catalyst for McAllister's strong showing in the race is believed in part to have been the celebrity endorsement of Phil Robertson of the Duck Dynasty television series, which is filmed in West Monroe. Robertson had joked that McAllister has less political experience than Riser as a factor in McAllister's favor.[5]

Riser stressed his own experience acquired since 2008 in passing legislation, working on the Louisiana state budget, and performing constituent services,[6] but McAllister disagrees. "Look where experience has gotten us. Washington is so disconnected from the 5th District that voters are turning their backs on the establishment," McAllister is quoted in an interview with the Monroe-based journalist Greg Hilburn.[7]

McAllister spent more than $400,000 of his own money in the primary campaign. "A lot of people are seeking me out now asking how I got here, more about my business and background and who I am and what I stand for. They asked why did you put your money in there. It's because there's no strings attached to me. I'm a complete outsider. I've earned everything I've [spent] in this race myself," McAllister told Hilburn. McAllister said that since the primary he has received limited funding from supporters in the runoff campaign.[7] He spent an additional $400,000 in the race against Riser.[8]

McAllister and Riser both oppose the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law in 2010 by President Obama, but the two differ on how to approach the legislation known as Obamacare. McAllister opposed the United States federal government shutdown of 2013 as a proper method to force the repeal of the measure: "Obamacare is a nightmare, but it's a reality, and it's here. [We] have to live with it, we have to make it livable. We have to make it work for the people until one day we [have the votes] to repeal it."[7] Riser supported the House Republicans' failed effort to de-fund the Affordable Care Act despite the temporary government shutdown. He supports a balanced budget at the national level, as is required for all the states. McAllister said that he would support a path to citizenship for individuals already in the country illegally.[7] Riser, however, urged that border security be addressed before any other immigration concern. Riser endorsed the House approach of piecemeal immigration reform, rather than the comprehensive route favored by the U.S. Senate.[6]

Though Louisiana's congressional delegation supported Riser, McAllister won the support of the third-place special election candidate, Jamie Mayo, the Democratic mayor of Monroe. Mayo said he found McAllister "more approachable" than Riser.[9] Days later, McAllister garnered the endorsement of Republican Clyde C. Holloway, who ran fourth in the primary, just behind Mayo.[10]

On November 16, 2013, McAllister carried 14 of the 24 parishes in the district, including large margins in his home parishes of West Carroll and Ouachita as well as in Rapides, the largest parish in Central Louisiana, Jackson, Lincoln, Morehouse, Richland, and the African-American majority parishes, East Carroll, Madison, and Tensas. Riser fared best within his state Senate district, including his home parish of Caldwell, Catahoula, Concordia, Franklin, and La Salle and several of the Florida Parishes in the southeastern corner of the state.[1]

Tenure[edit]

On taking office, McAllister retained Alexander's congressional staff, headed by Gregory Adam Terry (born 1980), formerly of Harrisonburg and Ruston, Louisiana. McAllister's swearing-in marked his first ever trip to Washington, D.C.[11] He predicted that he will take conservative positions most of the time, but on occasion he will vote liberal on roll call votes. "Every incumbent ought to be a little nervous. ... The 5th District spoke and they [sic] spoke loud and clear. They see that if one of the poorest districts in the country can do it [rebut the party establishment], why wouldn't one of the most powerful districts in the country do it?", McAllister said, after he was sworn into office by Speaker John Boehner.[8] McAllister's guest at the 2014 State of the Union Address was Duck Dynasty's Willie Robertson.[12]

After two months in office, McAllister told a Monroe Chamber of Commerce gathering that the job of U.S. Representative "sucks. It ain't no fun. But, the day I start enjoying it in Washington, D.C., is the day that I should come home."[13] McAllister said he will focus on cutting spending and will serve in a "bipartisan" capacity: "People are sick and tired of government not working. Bipartisanship is necessary for government to work. All this talk about government shutdown is unnecessary."[13]

In June 2014, the non-profit watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington requested that the Department of Justice and House Ethics Committee investigate a published statement from McAllister that an unnamed colleague had told him he would receive a $1,200 contribution from The Heritage Foundation for voting against a measure related to the Bureau of Land Management.[14] McAllister responded that he had not received a donation, which he ascribed to the group being "upset" with him after revelations of his extramarital affair with a staffer. He also said that he had not cast the vote with the expectation of receiving money, but had revealed what was said to him to show how "money controls Washington" and how work in Congress is a "steady cycle of voting for fundraising and money instead of voting for what is right." A spokesman for The Heritage Foundation stated: "we would never do anything like that... we do not [make political donations]. The Heritage Foundation is a think tank and does research and education, but does not get involved with political bills at all."[15]

Committee assignments[edit]

Personal life[edit]

McAllister and his wife, the former Kelly Duncan,[citation needed] whom he married in 1997, have five children and reside in rural Swartz, Louisiana.[2] He is a member of the North Monroe Baptist Church. He describes his decision to run for Congress as a "prayerful one. Many people make light of my spiritual faith, but that is okay with me. I know the blessing that I have received from the good Lord and the inner peace that comes from being a believer. ... I knew there were a number of qualified people in the district to be congressman, but also I realized that I had the time and the financial capability ... that maybe [the others] didn't."[2]

Extramarital encounter[edit]

On April 7, 2014, the Ouachita Citizen newspaper of West Monroe, posted online a copy of a surveillance video from an anonymous source which shows McAllister kissing a woman in his Monroe district office.[17] The video was recorded in McAllister's Monroe congressional office on December 23, 2013.[18] McAllister is shown turning off the lights and then kissing a woman for approximately 30 seconds.[19] The woman was subsequently identified as a married, longtime employee of McAllister.[20][21]

McAllister made a statement concerning the video: "There's no doubt I've fallen short and I'm asking for forgiveness. I’m asking for forgiveness from God, my wife, my kids, my staff, and my constituents who elected me to serve".[22] Former opponent Republican State Senator Neil Riser said, "I think right now we should be mindful and sensitive to the families who are involved.”[22] McAllister's chief of staff, Adam Terry, said that the staff member was fired by the congressman.[23][24]

The Hill, a Washington, D.C. newspaper, reported on April 9, 2014, that Roger Villere, chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party, called for McAllister to resign.[25] One day later Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal issued a similar demand,[26] as did Hammond's Daily Star, a politically nonaligned newspaper editorially.[27] McAllister found himself being defended by Representative Cedric Richmond, the sole Democrat in Louisiana's U.S. House delegation. Richmond described McAllister's situation as one of the "gotcha moments" in which the political parties have "taken joy in the pain of their supposed opponents"; U.S. Representative Bill Cassidy (RBaton Rouge) urged respect for the McAllister family's privacy and cited the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12).[28]

2014 campaign[edit]

On April 11, Alexandria Republican attorney Ed Tarpley, a former district attorney for Grant Parish, became McAllister's first challenger in the November 4 primary election.[29] McAllister has consistently maintained that he intends to seek reelection.[30][31]

McAllister announced on April 28, 2014 that he would not seek reelection. He said that his marriage and family remain solid through the crisis and that his decision not to run for a full term had nothing to do with Governor Jindal or Chairman Roger Villere, who had opposed his candidacy in the beginning.[32]

On June 30, 2014 McAllister announced he was running for reelection despite his previous statement announcing his retirement.[33]

Joining Tarpley in a challenge to McAllister is Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, who also ran in 2013, and the Monroe Republican Harris Brown (born c. 1965), an oil and natural gas businessman and the younger son of the late state Senator William Denis "Billy" Brown, III, also of Monroe.[34]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "5th congressional district special election returns, November 16, 2013". staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved November 16, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d James Ronald Skains, "Riser, McAllister placed in runoff for Congress seat", The Piney Woods Journal, November 2013, pp. 1-4
  3. ^ "About Vance McAllister". Facebook. Retrieved November 3, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Results for Election Date: 10/19/2013". staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved November 3, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Scott Kaufman, Duck Dynasty’ patron Phil Robertson endorses Vance McAllister because he ‘has the least experience’, October 20, 2013". rawstory.com. Retrieved November 3, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Greg Hilburn, Neil Riser: No time for amateur hour in Congress". Alexandria Daily Town Talk. Retrieved November 3, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Vance McAllister: 'Look where experience has gotten us', November 3, 2013". Alexandria Daily Town Talk. Retrieved November 3, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "McAllister: Election sends message to incumbents, November 24, 2013". Alexandria Daily Town Talk. Retrieved November 24, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Mayo supports more approachable McAllister". The News-Star. Monroe, LA. Archived from the original on November 15, 2013. Retrieved October 29, 2013. 
  10. ^ McGaughy, Lauren (November 5, 2013). "Holloway endorses McAllister ahead of 5th Congressional District election". Times-Picayune (New Orleans). Retrieved November 10, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Greg Hilburn, McAllister makes first trip to D.C., November 20, 2013". The News-Star. Retrieved November 24, 2013. 
  12. ^ Grace, Stephanie (2014-04-11). "McAllister seems more expendable than Vitter". Advocate (Baton Rouge). p. 11B. 
  13. ^ a b "Barbara Leader, U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister: Congressional job 'sucks'". Shreveport Times. January 23, 2014. Retrieved April 8, 2014. 
  14. ^ Alpert, Bruce (June 16, 2014). "Watchdog group wants probe into Rep. Vance McAllister's statement of $1,200 donation offered for 'no' vote". The Times-Picayune. Archived from the original on June 22, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  15. ^ "McAllister admits to vote for contribution". The Ouachita Citizen. June 6, 2014. Retrieved July 17, 2014. 
  16. ^ http://www.thenewsstar.com/article/20131204/NEWS01/312040029/McAllister-secures-spots-on-ag-natural-resources-committees
  17. ^ Grace, Stephanie (2014-04-13). "Hypocrisy on McAllister predictable". Advocate (Baton Rouge). p. 7B. Retrieved 2014-04-15 7B. 
  18. ^ McAllister's aide Leah Gordon was alleged to have leaked the video to the Ouachita Citizen. The staff member who kissed McAllister was Melissa Anne Hixon Peacock. Both aides resigned in 2014. "Staffer accused of video leak quits". Daily Star (Hammond, Louisiana). 2014-04-17. p. 5A. Retrieved 2014-04-17. 
  19. ^ "UPDATED: McAllister caught in extramarital encounter, issues apology (video)". The Ouachita Citizen. April 7, 2014. Retrieved April 7, 2014. 
  20. ^ Mustian, Jim (2014-04-09). "Voters let down by 'kissing congressman'". Advocate (Baton Rouge, Louisiana). pp. 1A, 5A. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  21. ^ "McAllister district manager leaked kissing video, staffer's husband says it 'has wrecked my life'". New Orleans Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA). April 8, 2014. 
  22. ^ a b "Rep. McAllister asks forgiveness following video of him kissing woman". The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved April 8, 2014. 
  23. ^ Frates, Chris; Devine, Curt (2014-04-09). "First on CNN: Husband on kissing congressman: ‘He has wrecked my life’". Political ticker. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  24. ^ "Despite video scandal, McAllister says he does not intend to resign". Washington Post. 8 April 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2014. 
  25. ^ "Report: GOP Chief thinks McAllister should resign seat, April 9, 2014". Monroe News-Star. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  26. ^ Mustian, Jim; Shuler, Marsha (2014-04-11). "Jindal, GOP issue calls to resign". Advocate (Baton Rouge). pp. 1A, 4A. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  27. ^ "GOP leaders are clear about McAllister". Sunday Star (Hammond, Louisiana). 2014-04-13. p. 4A. Retrieved 2014-04-15. 
  28. ^ Alpert, Bruce (2014-04-11). "Richmond reaches out to McAllister: He admonishes both parties". Times-Picayune (New Orleans). p. A3. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  29. ^ The Moon Griffon Show, April 11, 2014
  30. ^ Barrow, Bill (2014-04-12). "Voters disappointed but forgiving of congressman". Yahoo News. Retrieved 2014-04-12. 
  31. ^ James Gill, James (2014-04-15). "McAllister has plenty of company with scandal issue". Advocate (Baton Rouge). p. 6B. Retrieved 2014-04-15. 
  32. ^ "Greg Hilburn, McAllister won't seek reelection, April 28, 2014". Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved April 29, 2014. 
  33. ^ PARTI, TARINI (30 June 2014). "‘Kissing Congressman’ Vance McAllister will run for full term". Politico. Retrieved 30 June 2014. 
  34. ^ "Greg Hilburn, Monroe businessman Brown to run for 5th District, May 14, 2014". Monroe News-Star. Retrieved May 15, 2014. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Rodney Alexander
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 5th congressional district

November 21, 2013 – present
Incumbent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Jason T. Smith
D-Missouri
United States Representatives by seniority
429th
Succeeded by
Katherine Clark
D-Massachusetts