Fred Mills (politician)

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Fred Henry Mills Jr.
Louisiana State Senator for District 22 (Iberia and St. Martin parishes)
Assumed office
January 24, 2011
Preceded by Troy Hebert
Louisiana State Representative for District 46 (St. Martin Parish)
In office
January 14, 2008 – January 24, 2011
Preceded by Sydnie Mae Maraist Durand
Succeeded by Mike "Pete" Huval
Personal details
Born (1955-01-13) January 13, 1955 (age 62)
Political party Democratic-turned-Republican Party (December 2010)
Spouse(s) Deborah K. Mills
Occupation Pharmacist; Banker

Fred Henry Mills Jr. (born January 13, 1955) is a pharmacist and banker from Parks, Louisiana who is a Republican member of the Louisiana State Senate, having won a special election on January 22, 2011, for the District 22 seat for Iberia and St. Martin parishes, vacated in 2010 by the Independent Troy Hebert of Jeanerette.

Mills had since 2008 represented District 46 in the Louisiana House of Representatives.[1]

He is closely allied with his lifelong friend Scott Angelle, a member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2015.


Mills holds a degree in pharmacy from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. He is the owner in St. Martin Parish of Mills Cashway Pharmacy in Parks and the president and chief executive officer of Farmers-Merchants Bank and Trust Co. of Breaux Bridge.[2] Farmers-Merchants, originally established in 1932, also has a branch at 1525 Ambassador Caffery Parkway in Lafayette.[3]

Mills previously served on the St. Martin Parish Council. He and his wife, Deborah K. Mills, reside in St. Martinville but have business interests throughout the parish. He is Roman Catholic.[1]

As legislator[edit]

In the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 20, 2007, the incumbent Democratic representative, Sydnie Mae Maraist Durand, did not seek reelection. In a two-candidate field, Mills, then a Democrat himself, won outright by a wide margin over a fellow Democrat, Marie Etienne of St. Martin Parish, 12,034 (84 percent) to 2,237 (16 percent).[4]

In 2008 and 2009, Mills received a 100 percent rating from the Louisiana Right-to-Life Federation. He has been rated 69 percent by the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry. The Louisiana Family Forum in 2009 rated him at 89 percent.[5]

Mills guided to passage in 2010 legislation to permit pharmacists to administer medication therapy management services to patients in Louisiana. The interest group, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, supported the legislation. The bill was signed on June 25, 2010, by then Governor Bobby Jindal. The measure authorizes the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals to create an MTM pharmacy program.[6]

NACDS president Steven C. Anderson said that the Louisiana measure "illustrates that pharmacist-administered medication therapy management is an important component in helping patients stay healthy and in reducing health-care costs. Pharmacists are uniquely qualified to offer health screenings and counsel patients about how to take their medications in the right ways to achieve better results. The law will also enable pharmacists to assist patients in managing chronic diseases, such as diabetes."[6]

Party bolt[edit]

In 2010, Mills joined several legislative colleagues in switching allegiance from the Democrats to the Republicans.[7] Others who made the switch in December 2010 are Representative Noble Ellington of Winnsboro in Franklin Parish and State Senators John Alario of Westwego in Jefferson Parish and John R. Smith of Leesville in Vernon Parish.[8]

Mills polled 12,812 votes in the special Senate election, or 60 percent of the total. The runner-up was Simone B. Champagne of Jeanerette, another recent Republican convert and a state representative from Iberia Parish, who received 4,040 votes (19 percent). Champagne campaigned as a "Reagan Republican" and had the open support of U.S. Senator David Vitter; she returned the favor by endorsing Vitter for governor in 2015. Independent David Groner finished third with 2,534 votes (12 percent). The remaining ballots favored two other Republican candidates and a second Independent hopeful. No Democrats ran for the position.[9]

Two Republicans ran in an April 2, 2011, special election to fill the nine months remaining in Mills' House term. St. Martin Parish councilman Mike "Pete" Huval defeated St. Martinville city councilman Craig Prosper, 58 to 42 percent.[10]

Mills held the title of "newest Louisiana state senator" for only a month. Jonathan W. Perry of Kaplan in Vermilion Parish, winner of a special election in District 26 on February 19, 2011, soon filled that billing, and oddly, he too is known for his humor, often appearing as a stand-up Cajun comic.[11]

In January 2016, Senate President John Alario appointed Mills chairman of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.[12]

Mills the humorist[edit]

Mills began writing advertising for his pharmacy in Parks, at first traditional commercials as a pharmacist in his smock counting pills. Then he began the role of a Cajun-accented character in drag called "Taunte Pills." As Mills explains, the Jaycees had a charity fund-raising "womanless pageant. It was a spoof. We called it 'Le Femme de Mystique.'"[13] Later, responding to the Budweiser frogs commercial, Mills got the idea of having an old woman interacting with Fred the pharmacist. "Those things took off . . . and we doubled our business with those ads."[13]


  1. ^ a b "Fred Mills Jr.". Retrieved December 18, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Rep. Fred H. Mills Jr.". Retrieved December 18, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Opening Event Confirms St. Martin Parish Based - FM Bank - Expansion into Lafayette" (PDF). Retrieved December 18, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Louisiana primary election returns, October 20, 2007". Archived from the original on September 4, 2010. Retrieved December 18, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Rep. Fred H. Mills Jr. (LA)". Retrieved December 18, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b ""NACDS Lauds Louisiana Medication Therapy Management Law," July 15, 2010". Retrieved December 18, 2010. 
  7. ^ Barrow, Bill (2010-12-14). "St. Martin lawmaker dons GOP garb: Party switch latest in Louisiana trend". Times-Picayune (Saint Tammany Edition). p. A2. Retrieved 2010-12-14. 
  8. ^ "Ellington considers party switch". Monroe News Star, December 9, 2010. Retrieved December 11, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Louisiana Senate District 22 special election returns". Louisiana Secretary of State. January 22, 2011. Retrieved November 6, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Two qualify for House seat". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved February 19, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Rep. Perry, Jonathan (Biography)". Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved February 19, 2011. 
  12. ^ Greg Hilburn (January 13, 2016). "Senate Labor chair won't support minimum wage increase". The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved January 16, 2016. 
  13. ^ a b "New state Sen. Fred Mills shows off comical side". Shreveport Times, February 19, 2011. Retrieved February 24, 2011. 
Louisiana Senate
Preceded by
Troy Hebert
Louisiana State Senator for District 22 (Iberia and St. Martin parishes)
2011 – present
Succeeded by
Louisiana House of Representatives
Preceded by
Sydnie Mae Maraist Durand
Louisiana State Representative from District 46
2008 – 2011
Succeeded by
Mike "Pete" Huval