Elbert Guillory

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Elbert Guillory
Member of the Louisiana Senate
from the 24th district
Assumed office
January 2009
Preceded by Don Cravins, Jr.
Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives
from the 40th district
In office
January 2007 – January 2009
Preceded by Don Cravins, Jr.[1]
Succeeded by Ledricka Thierry
Personal details
Born (1944-06-24) June 24, 1944 (age 71)
Opelousas, Louisiana, U.S.
Political party Republican (Before 2007; 2013–present)
Democratic (2007–2013)
Alma mater Southern University
Norfolk State University
Rutgers University, Newark
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website Personal website
Elbert Guillory on Facebook
Military service
Service/branch United States Navy
Battles/wars Vietnam War

Elbert Lee Guillory (born June 24, 1944)[2] is a member of the Louisiana State Senate. He is an African American and a Republican. Guillory represents District 24, including his native Opelousas, Louisiana, and several rural precincts.

Previously represented by the Democrat Don Cravins, Jr., Guillory's district encompasses most of Saint Landry Parish and a northern part of adjacent Lafayette Parish.[3] Guillory previously served as state representative for District 40, having succeeded Democrat Don Cravins, Jr..[1][not in citation given]

Background[edit]

Guillory was reared in a divorced family in St. Landry Parish.

"My parents lived seven miles from each other on the same road. They were both always part of my life, but they could never live together. They were opposites." [4]

His Roman Catholic father, Ozema Ledee (died c. 2009), was an entrepreneur and an adventurer who flew his own plane, a rarity for a black man in the 1950s. He was also a bootlegger. Guillory's mother, who was still living in 2013 at the age of 104, was a strict Baptist who forbade alcohol and cursing in her home. She worked as a teacher and school principal.[4]

Guillory had aspirations of becoming a physician, but switched to studying law. In 1961, he enrolled in historically black Southern University in Baton Rouge. As the editor of the university paper, The Digest, he wrote an editorial in which he referred to U.S. Senator Allen J. Ellender, a Democrat from Houma, Louisiana, as a "lunatic", for which Guillory was expelled from Southern. He subsequently joined the Navy, obtained his Bachelor of Arts at another historically black institution, Norfolk State University, Virginia, and obtained his Juris doctor from Rutgers School of Law in Newark, New Jersey. He also attended a Baptist theological seminary in New York to study for the ministry, but was never ordained. From 1985 he practiced law in his native Opelousas.[4][5]

Personal life[edit]

Guillory has been married and divorced four times[4] His avocation is mountain climbing. Not only has he reached the summit of Mount Rainier in Washington State and Mount McKinley in Alaska, but he also has climbed his "namesake" Mount Elbert, the apex of the Colorado Rockies.[4]

Party affiliation[edit]

Up until 2007, Guillory had been a registered Republican[6] and served on the Louisiana Republican state central committee.[7] He became a Democrat in 2007 when he first ran for the state House in the heavily Democratic District 40.[7][8][9] During the 2013 regular session of the Louisiana Legislature, Guillory switched his party affiliation back to Republican.[10] Officially, Guillory's party-switch occurred on May 31, when he was presented with the Frederick Douglass Award from the @Large Society.

State Senator Karen Carter Peterson, the chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party, had indicated racism to be the reason why the Louisiana Legislature and Governor Bobby Jindal opposed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, enacted in 2010 by Congress and signed into law by President Barack H. Obama. Jindal and the legislature had declined to implement in Louisiana that part of the federal act offering the states federal funding for Medicaid. Guillory took exception to Carter Peterson's characterization of the opponents of the law, but his intent to switch parties had already been under consideration.[citation needed][11]

Before Guillory's switch, the last Republican of African-American ethnicity in the Louisiana Senate had served during the Reconstruction era.[12] In accepting the award, Guillory compared himself to 19th-century abolitionist Frederick Douglass, a Republican who had supported Abraham Lincoln.[13]

Guillory's conservative political philosophy was indicated in his pre-2007 membership in the Republican Party, according to Daily Kos,[14] Guillory explained his 2013 party switch in a 4-minute 17-second video widely circulated in state and national media outlets, including the radio programs of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Moon Griffon as well as by Neil Cavuto on Fox News. The video was viewed on YouTube within the first three days by nearly 500,000. Filmed in the rear of the Senate chamber, the video calls the Democrats "the party of Jim Crow" and depicts "the party of freedom and progress" as the Republicans. Guillory called his switch "not only right for me, but for all of my brothers and sisters in the black community" as he left the Democrats for the Republicans.[15]

Soon after becoming a Republican, Guillory founded the Free at Last PAC, a political action committee dedicated to electing black conservatives to office.

Louisiana Science Education Act[edit]

Guillory spoke in a hearing about the Louisiana Science Education Act, a law concerning religion and science in public schools. Guillory argued to keep the law on the books because of an experience he had with a witch doctor—who “wore no shoes, was semi-clothed, used a lot of bones that he threw around”.[16]

Legislative Black Caucus[edit]

Guillory remains a member of the Louisiana Legislature's Black Delegation, a caucus—a matter clarified by Legislative Black Caucus Chair State Representative Katrina Jackson, a Democrat from West Monroe.[17] The Baton Rouge Advocate asserted that Guillory's switch to the Republicans "favors the GOP's efforts to broaden its base"—in an editorial.[18]

Speculation on future office[edit]

Within days of Guillory's change of parties, Jim Shannon of KLTV-TV speculated that Guillory may be a candidate for lieutenant governor in the 2015 state elections, when Jay Dardenne steps down to challenge fellow Republican U.S. Senator David Vitter for the governorship vacated by the term-limited Bobby Jindal. Guillory did not comment.[19] Others in the race for lieutenant governor include a defeated 2011 candidate, Billy Nungesser, the president of Plaquemines Parish, and possibly John Young, the Republican president of Jefferson Parish. Democrat Mayor-President Kip Holden of East Baton Rouge Parish, another African-American, has announced that he too will seek the office. The position is focused upon the promotion of tourism in Louisiana.[20]

Community involvement[edit]

Guillory has served on the boards of directors for the Saint Landry Parish Chamber of Commerce, the local Salvation Army, the Saint Landry Parish Indigent Defenders, and the Opelousas Daily World newspaper. He is a Rotarian and a supporter of the American Cancer Society. Guillory is Roman Catholic like his father, being an active member of Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Opelousas.[21]

Elbert Guillory is the brother-in-law of the late Jane Nora "Genore" Guillory (1958–2000), who was brutally murdered in East Feliciana Parish Louisiana. Senator Guillory and his daughter Imani Malique Guillory were interviewed in Investigation Discovery's 2013 Southern Fried Homicide documentary on the murder, for which four of Genore's neighbors were convicted.[22]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b http://www.parlouisiana.com/explore.cfm/guideupdate2009/
  2. ^ "Sen. Elbert Guillory (R-LA 24th District)". AAUW Louisiana. 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-31. 
  3. ^ "District 24" (PDF). Act 24 2011 1st E.S. (Senate). 2011. Retrieved 2013-05-31. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Moore, Evan (July 1, 2013). "With switch to Republican Party, state Senator Guillory getting the unexpected". The Alexandria Town Talk. Alexandria, Louisiana. Retrieved July 13, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Elbert Guillory". Ballotpedia. 2013-03-13. Retrieved 2013-05-31.  "Elbert Guillory". Justia Lawyer Directory. 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  6. ^ Hasten, Mike (2013-05-31). "Guillory switches back to Republican Party". The Daily Advertiser. Retrieved 2013-06-19. 
  7. ^ a b Stubbs, Nathan (March 25, 2009). "Elbert vs. The Machine". The IND Monthly. Retrieved 2013-06-19. 
  8. ^ C. Ray Nagin, the former mayor of New Orleans, was also a Republican and switched parties to run for office.
  9. ^ McGaughy, Lauren (2013-05-13). "State Sen. Elbert Guillory, now a Republican, says Democratic Party chair remarks helped spur his switch". Times-Picayune. Retrieved 2013-06-19. 
  10. ^ Shuler, Marsha (2013-06-01). "State Sen. Guillory abandons Democratic Party to join GOP". Advocate (Baton Rouge, Louisiana). p. 11A. Retrieved 2013-06-01. 
  11. ^ Louisiana was hardly alone in declining the funding. Numerous Republican governors and Republican-controlled state legislatures around the country did likewise.
  12. ^ "Elbert Guillory switches parties, now first black GOP state senator since Reconstruction". Nola.com. May 31, 2013. Retrieved May 31, 2013. 
  13. ^ Hayward, John (2013-05-31). "Elbert Guillory, Frederick Douglass Republican". Human Events. Retrieved 2013-05-31. 
  14. ^ SantaFeMarie (June 4, 2013). "Party switch creates black Republican officeholder in Louisiana. Shame about the voodoo. Updates.". Daily Kos. Retrieved June 7, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Guillory party switch video goes viral". News-Star (Monroe, Louisiana). 2013-06-13. Retrieved 2013-06-21.  See also McCollister, Rolfe (June3 25, 2013). "Guillory video goes viral". Business Report (Baton Rouge, Louisiana). p. 6. Retrieved June 25, 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  16. ^ Kopplin, Zack (2013-06-04). "Louisiana’s latest anti-scientific folly, on video". Slate. Retrieved 2013-06-018.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  17. ^ Capital News Bureau (2013-06-02). "Guillory still holds caucus membership". Advocate (Baton Rouge, Louisiana). pp. 1B, 3B. Retrieved 2013-06-02. 
  18. ^ "New switch favors GOP". Advocate (Baton Rouge, Louisiana). 2013-06-04. p. 6B. Retrieved 2013-06-04. 
  19. ^ Shannon, Jim (2013-06-06). "Surprise candidates emerge for office of Lt. Governor in 2015". KLTV Channel 7 (Tyler, Texas). Retrieved 2013-06-07.  KLTV broadcasts from east Texas, but its coverage area includes part of west Louisiana.
  20. ^ Rebekah Allen. "BR mayor Kip Holden says he's running for Lieutenant Gov.". Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved August 6, 2014. 
  21. ^ Senate Office of Communication (2009-05-18). "Elbert Guillory officially seated as District 24 state senator" (PDF). Senator's News Release. Retrieved 2013-06-01. 
  22. ^ For facts of the murder see Hustmyre, Chuck (2013-07-31). "The brutal murder of Genore Guillory". Crime library: Criminal minds & methods. Retrieved 2013-07-31.  Convicted in 2005 were Phillip Skipper, Johnny Hoyt, Lisa Skipper Hoyt, and John Baillio.
Louisiana House of Representatives
Preceded by
Don Cravins, Jr.
Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives
from the 40th district

2007–2009
Succeeded by
Ledricka Thierry
Louisiana Senate
Preceded by
Don Cravins, Jr.
Member of the Louisiana Senate
from 24th district

2009–present
Incumbent