Gene Reynolds (politician)

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Harlie Eugene "Gene" Reynolds
Louisiana State Representative for
District 10 (Webster Parish and one precinct in Bossier Parish)
Assumed office
January 9, 2012
Preceded by Jean Doerge
Louisiana House Democratic Leader
Assumed office
January 11, 2016
Preceded by John Bel Edwards
Personal details
Born (1950-12-28) December 28, 1950 (age 66)
Shreveport, Caddo Parish
Louisiana, USA
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Martha Nell Moore Reynolds

Dustin Wade Reynolds

David Cole Reynolds
Parents Harlie and Elizabeth Reynolds
Residence Dubberly, Webster Parish
Alma mater

Woodlawn High School (Shreveport)

Louisiana Tech University
Occupation Retired educator

Harlie Eugene Reynolds, known as Gene Reynolds (born December 28, 1950), is a retired educator in Dubberly, Louisiana, who is a Democratic member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from District 10 (Webster Parish and one precinct from Bossier Parish). In 2016, his colleagues named him the House Democratic Leader, in which capacity he succeeded former Representative John Bel Edwards of Tangipahoa Parish, the incoming governor of Louisiana.[1]


A native of Shreveport, Reynolds is one of six children of the late Harlie Reynolds and Elizabeth Reynolds, since Elizabeth Woods. He was reared in the lower-middle-class neighborhood, later predominantly African American, known as Cedar Grove. In 1968, he graduated from Woodlawn High School in Shreveport. After his graduation, his parents relocated to Ringgold in Bienville Parish, where he met his future wife, the former Martha Nell Moore. Thereafter, Reynolds worked in industry but returned to school and graduated in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston. He subsequently obtained graduate credentials from Louisiana Tech in 1982 and 1992. Gene and Martha Reynolds were employed for nearly three decades by the Webster Parish School Board. From 1994 to 1998, he was principal in Sarepta.[2][self-published source] In 1994, he chaired the Webster Parish sex education curriculum writing committee.[3] School Superintendent Jerry Lott said at the time that the work compiled by Reynolds' committee "emphasizes abstinence".[4] He later helped to start the combination Lakeside Junior High and High School south of Sibley. n the aftermath of Hurricane Rita in 2005, the Reynoldses temporarily relocated to Cameron Parish in southwestern Louisiana. They returned in 2010 to Webster Parish to reside in Dubberly near their son, Dustin, and his family.[2][self-published source]

Dustin Reynolds, who carries no partisan affiliation, was an unsuccessful candidate for Minden city marshal in the December 6, 2014 runoff election in which he faced the incumbent Democrat Jack R. "Randy" Shelley, who had led a three-candidate field in the primary election by nearly four hundred votes.[5] In the second round of balloting, Shelley prevailed with 55.5 percent of the vote.[6]

Legislative career[edit]

Reynolds won the District 10 seat in the general election held on November 19, 2011,[7] when he defeated the Republican candidate, Jerri Ray de Pingre (born January 1959)[8] of Minden, also a former educator and later the director of the local Chamber of Commerce, 4,232 (54.7 percent) to 3,508 (45.3 percent).[9] In 2012, de Pingre was elected to the District 10 seat on the Louisiana Republican State Central Committee.[10]

Two other Republicans, Gerald Holland, a retired banker from Springhill and a former parish party chairman,[11] and Ronnie Broughton of Minden, a past president and a member of the Webster Parish School Board, had been eliminated in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 22.[12] Broughton thereafter left the GOP and is chairman of the state Constitution Party. He is also one of the few Constitution Party members holding any public office in Louisiana.[13]

Reynolds was endorsed by his predecessor in the office, the term-limited Democrat, Jean Doerge of Minden, who had served since 1998, when she won a special election to succeed her late husband, Representative Everett Doerge. Both Doerges were also educators. Broughton, eliminated in the 2011 primary, had lost the 2007 election to Jean Doerge.[14]

Reynolds is a member of the House committees on (1) Commerce, (2) Education, and (3) Retirement.[15]

In the 2012 legislative session, Reynolds voted against proposals to increase the number of charter schools, establish school vouchers, and to amend the state's teacher tenure policy.[7] In 2013, Reynolds voted for a judicial pay raise, which the legislature approved. He favored the removal of term limits on judges, but that amendment failed in the House. He supported a state law which now requires that women working for the state receive the same pay as men in the same job, something already required under a federal provision in 1963. He voted for surrogacy contracts for couples designating another woman to bear their child, a measure approved by the legislature. Reynolds voted with the House majority to oppose reducing the penalties for possession of marijuana, to prohibit state enforcement of federal firearm regulations on weapon manufacturers, and to prohibit the publication of the names of persons with concealed weapon permits. He also voted to authorize lifetime concealed weapon permits.[7] In all of these votes, Reynolds' positions were identical to those of his Republican colleague from District 9, Rob Shadoin of Ruston.[16]

The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry rated Reynolds 38 percent since he took office but 67 percent for the 2013 session.[17] In 2014, he was rated 100 percent by Louisiana Right to Life, when he voted with a large majority of House members to require abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges near their clinics. He was scored 70 percent by the Louisiana Family Forum, and 92 percent by the Louisiana Association of Educators.[18]

Reynolds ran without opposition for a second term in the House in the nonpartisan blanket primary scheduled for October 24, 2015.[19]

In March 2016, Reynolds joined a House bipartisan majority for a one-cent increase in the state sales tax. State representatives voted 76 to 28 for the tax hike, a part of the revenue-raising measures pushed by new Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards. [20] A House and Senate conference committee subsequently trimmed the five years for the duration of the tax to expire instead after twenty-seven months, effective from April 1, 2016 to June 30, 2018. Even the sale of Bibles and religious publications and Girl Scout cookies are now subject to the tax.[21]

In June 2017, Reynolds resigned as the House Democratic Leader, He cited his heavy workload as the chief factor in his decision to step down. House Republican Leader Lance Harris of Alexandria expressed regret that Reynolds is leaving the leadership. Reynolds will complete his House term until January 2020 and may seek a third term in the 2019 legislative elections.[22] The next month, however, Reynolds rescinded his resignation as party leader.[23]


  1. ^ Greg Hilburn (January 29, 2016). "Sine die sabotage? Not true, GOP leader Lance Harris says". The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved January 30, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Gene Reynolds for State Representative". Retrieved August 21, 2013. 
  3. ^ Pat Culverhouse, "Sex ed program implemented for sophomores; 7th, 8th grade plan on hold," Minden Press-Herald, January 25, 1994, p. 1
  4. ^ Virgie Davis, "Board Approves Sex Ed Curriculum", 'Minden Press-Herald, February 23, 1994, p. 1
  5. ^ "Election Results for 11/4/2014". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved November 5, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Election results, December 6, 2014". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved December 6, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c "Representative Gene Reynolds Voting Records". Retrieved August 21, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Jerri Depingre, January 1959". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved June 20, 2015. 
  9. ^ "General election returns, November 19, 2011". Retrieved May 18, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Results for Election Date: 3/24/2012". Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  11. ^ "GOP head to speak", Minden Press-Herald, March 31, 1976, p. 1
  12. ^ "Primary election returns, October 22, 2011". Retrieved May 18, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Constitution Party meets possible presidential nominee". The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved July 27, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Louisiana primary election returns, October 20, 2007". Retrieved August 21, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Gene Reynolds's Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved May 19, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Representative Rob Shadoin's Voting Records". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved August 21, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Representative Harlie "Gene" Reynolds". Retrieved August 21, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Gene Reynolds's Ratings and Endorsements". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved May 19, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Candidates Qualified in Statewide Elections". KEEL. Retrieved September 11, 2015. 
  20. ^ "State House of Representatives Vote to Increase Sales Tax". KEEL. February 25, 2016. Retrieved March 28, 2016. 
  21. ^ "See the list: Examples of goods, services that'll now be taxed in Louisiana". The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved April 1, 2016. 
  22. ^ "Reynolds stepping down as the Democrat House chair". Minden Press-Herald. June 6, 2017. Retrieved June 7, 2017. 
  23. ^ "House Democrat Leader Rescinds Resignation". July 5, 2017. Retrieved July 6, 2017. 
Louisiana House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jean Doerge
Louisiana State Representative for
District 10 (Webster and Bossier parishes)

Harlie Eugene "Gene" Reynolds

Succeeded by
Preceded by
John Bel Edwards
Louisiana State House Majority Leader

Harlie Eugene "Gene" Reynolds
2016 –

Succeeded by