Billy Montgomery

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Billy Wayne Montgomery
Louisiana House of Representatives District 9 (Bossier Parish)
In office
1988 – January 14, 2008
Preceded by Jesse C. Deen
Succeeded by Henry Lee Burns
Personal details
Born (1937-07-07) July 7, 1937 (age 78)
Political party Democrat turned Republican in 2006
Alma mater Northwestern State University
Occupation Educator
Religion Assembly of God

Billy Wayne Montgomery, often known as Coach Montgomery (born July 7, 1937), is a former educator who represented the Bossier City-based District 9 in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1988-2008. He was elected as a Democrat, but he switched affiliation to the Republican Party on October 3, 2006.

Term-limited in his House seat, Montgomery was a candidate for the District 37 seat in the Louisiana State Senate in the November 17, 2007, general election to fill the position being vacated by Republican Senator Max T. Malone of Shreveport, who was also term-limited. Montgomery relocated from his previous residence in Haughton to live once again in Bossier City. In the general election, Montgomery was defeated by fellow Republican B. L. "Buddy" Shaw of Shreveport, 7,157 (57 percent) to 5,317 (43 percent). In the primary, Shaw and Montgomery had also faced two other Republicans, oilman Jack Clary "Jay" Murrell, Jr. (born February 1949), a former Caddo Parish commissioner, Republican activist, son-in-law of the Democratic attorney DeWitt T. Methvin, Jr., of Alexandria, and an itinerant radio talk show host, and the businessman Barrow Peacock. Sheva Sims, an African-American lawyer who came within six votes of beating incumbent Monty Wafford for the Shreveport City Council District "B" seat in 2006, was the only Democrat in the primary. She is now the Shreveport city judge.

On October 9, 2007, the conservative Louisiana Prolife Alliance announced its opposition to Montgomery because of his past support for human cloning. Montgomery said the reason the group said this is because he was for stem cell research. LFF spokesman Dan Richey, himself a former state senator then of Ferriday, listed ten Senate candidates who have supported cloning in the past, eight Democrats and two Republicans, Montgomery and Sherri Smith Cheek of Shreveport. Cheek, the successor to former Senator Ron Bean, was elected to a second term in the primary.

Montgomery led the primary with 7,524 votes (29 percent) to Shaw's 6,676 ballots (22 percent). Under unique Louisiana rules, the two met in the general election even though both are of the same party. Shaw is considered the more politically conservative of the two. Peacock finished third with 4,620 votes (18 percent). Sims ran fourth with 4,564 (17 percent), and Murrell finished last with 3,951 (15 percent).

Montgomery graduated from Provençal High School in Natchitoches Parish. He obtained his bachelor's and his master's plus thirty semester hours from Northwestern State University (then Northwestern State College) in Natchitoches, the seat of Natchitoches Parish. He did graduate coursework at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, the seat of Lincoln Parish, Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, and the University of Louisiana at Monroe (then Northeast Louisiana State College) in Monroe, the seat of Ouachita Parish.

Montgomery served in the U.S. Army from 1959 to 1964. He began his educational career in 1960 as a teacher and coach while he was still in the Army. He was an assistant principal from 1970–1982 and a principal from 1982–1988, when he entered the legislature and retired from professional education. In 1991, Representative Montgomery was named to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Coaches and Administrators Hall of Fame. In 1970, he was named the "Acadiana Coach of the Year." For eight years he was cited as "District Coach of the Year."

The Louisiana Association of Educators named Montgomery a "Distinguished Legislator" in 1989 and one of the "Twenty Best Friends" [of Education] in the Louisiana legislature. The Louisiana Federation of Teachers cited Montgomery as the "New Legislator of the Year" in 1988.

In 2006, Montgomery and then state Senator Lydia P. Jackson, a Shreveport Democrat, were co-recipients of the Christus Medical Center Health Award for their service in supporting health care issues in the legislature.

Montgomery has won all of his legislative elections thus far as a Democrat. He last faced an opponent in 1991, when he defeated the nonpartisan Kermit K. Westmoreland, 8,538 (74 percent) to 2,983 (26 percent).

In his first election in 1987, Montgomery almost failed to make the general election, sometimes called the "runoff" in Louisiana. Democrat Donald Edward Jones, the mayor of Bossier City, led the field with 7,673 votes (just under 50 percent) to Montgomery's 6,531 (43 percent), and 1,153 (8 percent) for Democrat Charles S. Whorton. Jones fell twelve votes short of an outright primary majority. In the general election, Montgomery surprisingly prevailed with 5,209 (53 percent) to Jones' 4,553 (47 percent). The turnout was much lower in the second race. Jones lost exactly 3,100 votes between the primary and the general election. Montgomery lost votes too, but only 1,322.[1]

Montgomery said that his party switch was not particularly motivated by opposition to the Democrats but the expectation that he could more easily win the state Senate seat as a Republican than as a Democrat. The Louisiana Democratic Party issued this statement in regard to Montgomery's party switch: "It's unfortunate that he felt he had to switch parties to win that race."

Montgomery had worked closely with a Democratic colleague, Roy McArthur "Hoppy" Hopkins of Oil City. The two in fact were originally elected to the legislature on the same day, and both were among the more powerful legislators in the House chamber. Hopkins died of bone cancer on November 24, 2006.

Montgomery attends Central Assembly of God in Haughton.

On January 28, 2012, Montgomery, along with the late Fred Baden, former mayor of Pineville, and the late Adras LaBorde, former managing editor of the Alexandria Daily Town Talk, was inducted into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield. A banquet at the Winnfield Civic Center honored the inductees, three living and three deceased.[2][3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "General election returns, November 21, 1987". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  2. ^ Avoyelles Today, January 4, 2012
  3. ^ "La. Political Hall inducts former Pineville mayor, 5 others". Alexandria Daily Town Talk, January 29, 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2012. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Jesse C. Deen (D) turned (R)
Louisiana State Representative from District 9 (Bossier Parish)

Billy Wayne Montgomery (D) turned (R)
1988–2008

Succeeded by
Henry Burns (R)