Ben Nevers

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Ben Wayne Nevers
Louisiana State Senator for District 12 (St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes)
In office
Preceded byDr. Jerry A. Thomas
Succeeded byBeth Mizell
Louisiana State Representative for District 75 (St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes)
In office
Preceded byDr. Jerry A. Thomas[1]
Succeeded byHarold Ritchie
Personal details
BornOctober 1946
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Barbara Ann Williams Nevers
ChildrenThree children
Washington Parish
Louisiana, USA
Alma materBogalusa High Schoolbr> Louisiana Technical College
OccupationElectrical contractor

Ben Wayne Nevers (born October 1946) is an electrical contractor from Bogalusa, Louisiana, who is the chief of staff to his fellow Democrat, Governor John Bel Edwards.[2]

From 2004 to January 11, 2016, Nevers was a member of the Louisiana State Senate for District 12, which includes parts of Washington, St. Tammany, and Tangipahoa parishes. From 2000 to 2004, he was a one-term member of the Louisiana House of Representatives for District 75. Earlier he served on the Bogalusa City School Board.


Nevers graduated in 1964 from Bogalusa High School. In 1969, he completed his studies at the Sullivan Campus of Louisiana Technical College. Between 1965 and 1971, he served in the United States Army. Nevers is chairman of the Senate Education Committee and a member of various statewide educational committees, including the Louisiana Tuition Trust Authority, the Louisiana High School Redesign Commission, and the Blue Ribbon Commission for Educational Excellence. He is a member of the Hurricane Katrina Memorial Commission and also claims a special legislative interest in agriculture, economic development, and health care.[3]

Nevers and his wife, the former Barbara Ann Williams, an educator, have three children and, as of 2011, six grandchildren. He is a deacon in his church.[3]

Senate service[edit]

In the 2003 nonpartisan blanket primary for senator, which attracted seven candidates, including former State Representative Weldon Russell of Amite City in Tangipahoa Parish, Nevers was forced into a second round of balloting with the Republican Richard E. Tanner, a retired teacher from St. Tammany Parish.[4] However, Tanner withdrew from the race on the grounds that the candidates held similar views.[5] Subsequently Nevers was unopposed in the 2007 primary.

Considered a Conservative Democrat, Nevers in 2007 filed an anti-abortion bill, backed by outgoing Democratic Governor Kathleen Blanco, that permits abortions only in situations in which a woman's life is at risk from a pregnancy.[5] He sponsored the Louisiana Science Education Act, which permits teachers to use supplementary materials in class concerning the theory of evolution and creationism. Nevers said that the law, signed by then Republican Governor Bobby Jindal, is "strictly about teaching science in the classroom. It has nothing to do with religion. ... It shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against any particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion."[6][7] In 2011, opponents of the Louisiana Science Education Act, led by state Senator Karen Carter Peterson of New Orleans, failed in an attempt to repeal the law. Some forty Nobel Prize-winning scientists endorsed the repeal of the measure on the premise that the law allows teachers to offer creationism views in classrooms.[8]

In 1995, Nevers ran unsuccessfully for the House, having been defeated by the incumbent Democrat, later Republican, Jerry Thomas, a former Washington Parish coroner. Nevers polled 6,546 votes (42.9 percent) to Thomas's 8,713 votes (57.1 percent).[9]

2011 reelection[edit]

Nevers was narrowly reelected in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 20, 2011. He received 15,116 votes (50.6 percent) to 14,764 (49.4 percent) for his Republican opponent, Beth Mizell.[10]

Nevers is listed among the state and local officials who have endorsed the reelection in 2014 of Democrat U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu.[11]

Term-limited in the state Senate, Nevers was succeeded by his Republican former opponent, Beth Mizell, who won the seat in the general election held on November 21, 2015. Mizell easily defeated the Democrat, Mickey Murphy, 19,404 votes (58 percent) to 14,033 (42 percent). She is the only Republican to have won a formerly Democratic Senate seat in the 2015 general election.[12] Murphy is a former teacher, counselor, welding instructor, and college dean. He formerly chaired a workforce development board. He is a former president of his local Chamber of Commerce. The operator of a preschool, Mizell opposes Nevers' long-term proposal to build a reservoir in the Senate district, a project Murphy supported in the campaign.[13]


  1. ^ "Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2008" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 2, 2007. Retrieved November 13, 2009.
  2. ^ Kevin Litten (November 23, 2015). "John Bel Edwards names Ben Nevers chief of staff, transition team". New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved November 25, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Senator Ben Nevers - District 12". Archived from the original on June 10, 2011. Retrieved September 1, 2011.
  4. ^ "Louisiana primary election returns, October 4, 2003". Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  5. ^ a b "Senator Ben Nevers". Retrieved September 1, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Louisiana's Ben Nevers: Creationist Doublethink, June 23, 2008". Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  7. ^ "John Timmer, Louisiana passes first antievolution "academic freedom" law, June 2008". Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  8. ^ "Senators reject repeal of "Science Education Act", May 26, 2011". Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  9. ^ "Louisiana election returns, October 21, 1995". Retrieved September 1, 2011.
  10. ^ "Louisiana primary election returns, October 22, 2011". Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  11. ^ "Landrieu's GOP Endorsements Pale In Comparison To 2008 Election". Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  12. ^ "Results for Election Date: 11/21/2015". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved November 25, 2015.
  13. ^ Chad Rogers. "Mizell v. Lifelong Bureaucrat in 12th District". The Dead Pelican. Retrieved November 25, 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
Louisiana State Senate
Preceded by
Dr. Jerry A. Thomas
Louisiana State Senator for District 12 (St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes)

Ben Wayne Nevers

Succeeded by
Beth Mizell
Louisiana House of Representatives
Preceded by
Dr. Jerry A. Thomas
Louisiana State Representative for District 75 (Tangipahoa and Washington parishes)

Ben Wayne Nevers

Succeeded by
Harold Ritchie