Jim Tucker (Louisiana politician)

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James Wilton "Jim" Tucker
Louisiana State Representative for
District 86 (Orleans and Jefferson parishes; in 2012 only Tangipahoa Parish)
In office
March 2001 – 2012
Preceded by Stephen J. Windhorst
Succeeded by Chris Broadwater
Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives
In office
January 2008 – January 2012
Preceded by Joe Salter
Succeeded by Chuck Kleckley
Personal details
Born (1964-11-11) November 11, 1964 (age 53)
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Marisol Fernandez Tucker
Residence Terrytown
New Orleans, Louisiana
Alma mater

O.P. Walker High School

University of New Orleans
Occupation Banker

James Wilton Tucker, known as Jim Tucker (born November 11, 1964), is the former Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives who was allied with then Governor Bobby Jindal. An investment banker from the Terrytown section of the New Orleans metropolitan area, Tucker's former House District 86 includes precincts from both Jefferson and Orleans parishes. He held the House seat from his victory in a special election on March 17, 2001, until 2012.[1] The vastly reconfigured district in 2012 will include only Tangipahoa Parish.

In the primary election held on October 22, 2011, Tucker was narrowly defeated in the race for Louisiana Secretary of State by the incumbent, fellow Republican Tom Schedler, a former state senator from St. Tammany Parish. Tucker carried thirty-eight of the sixty-four parishes, including all in north Louisiana, but lost to Schedler by some 9,000 votes, 440,872 (49.5 percent) to 449,370 (50.5 percent).[2]

Legislative politics[edit]

Democrats outnumbered Republicans in the Louisiana House at the time of Tucker's Speakership, 53–50 (with two "No Party" members). The governor in Louisiana traditionally recommends the Speaker, and House members concur despite the separation of powers. Tucker said that some seventy members, including nearly twenty Democrats, had pre-committed to his candidacy, including African American Representative and former congressional candidate Karen Carter Peterson of New Orleans. He succeeded outgoing Democratic Speaker Joe Salter of Florien in Sabine Parish in north Louisiana, who had been recommended in 2003 by Jindal's predecessor and successful opponent, outgoing Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco.[3] By 2011, the GOP had a House majority after defections and special elections.

As head of the House Republican Caucus, Tucker spearheaded GOP opposition to Blanco's legislative initiatives, especially in regard to state spending. Jindal, a departing Republican congressman from suburban New Orleans, vowed to prevent Washington D.C.-style partisanship from taking root in the state capital, Baton Rouge. Jindal said that Tucker's "bipartisan coalition" indicates that the new Speaker can work well with members of both parties.[4]

Former Democratic State Representative Don Cazayoux of New Roads, the seat of Pointe Coupee Parish north of Baton Rouge, now a former member of the United States House of Representatives, had pursued the leadership post and questioned why Jindal got involved so soon in the process. Jindal said that he was ratifying a consensus choice already made by lawmakers.

For Senate president, Jindal recommended Democratic State Senator Joel Thomas Chaisson, II, of Destrehan in St. Charles Parish, also in the New Orleans suburbs. Democrats at the time easily controlled the Senate, twenty-three to sixteen and selected Chaisson, who pledged "bipartisanship".

Tucker won his House seat in 2001, when he defeated fellow Republican Robert B. "Robby" Evans, III, 2,509 (58 percent) to 1,794 (42 percent) to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Republican Stephen J. Windhorst of Terrytown, a son of Republican former State Senator Fritz Windhorst. Stephen Windhorst was instead elected to a judgeship in the 24th Judicial District.[5] Tucker was unopposed for full terms in 2003 and 2007.[6] Tucker hence became Speaker without ever polling more than 2,509 votes in a contested legislative election.

Tucker graduated from O.P. Walker Senior High School in New Orleans. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of New Orleans. He is married to the former Marisol Fernandez.[citation needed]

As Speaker, Tucker named the chairmen of seventeen House committees. Among those named is the Democrat James R. Fannin of Jonesboro to the critical post of Appropriations chairman. Fannin later switched parties and moved to the state Senate in 2016.

Tucker was succeeded in the District 86 seat by his fellow Republican Chris Broadwater. In the primary held on October 22, Broadwater led the field with 37.4 percent of the ballots cast. The runner-up, Republican, George Holton, finished second with 22.8 percent. A third Republican, Joel Morgan, and a Democrat and an Independent received the remaining votes cast.[2] In the low-turnout general election held on November 19, 2011, Broadwater defeated Holton, 2,800 votes (56.9 percent) to 2,125 (43.2 percent).[7]

Recall attempt[edit]

On June 19, 2008, Gretna attorney John Roberts announced that a recall drive against Speaker Tucker. Roberts was outraged that Tucker led the successful efforts to double legislators' pay and to delay a reduction in the Louisiana state income tax until 2010. The higher pay would set Tucker's gross compensation at $100,000. That measure was later vetoed by Gov. Bobby Jindal. Roberts himself ran unsuccessfully in the 2007 election for the State Senate against John Alario of Westwego, a former Louisiana House Speaker. The recall initiative is not uncommon for politicians that reach such powerful positions. Almost every governor in Louisiana has had a recall petition started to rebuke them; all unsuccessful.[8]


External links[edit]

Louisiana House of Representatives
Preceded by
Stephen J. Windhorst
Louisiana State Representative for
District 86 (Jefferson and Orleans parishes; in 2012, only Tangipahoa Parish)

James Wilton "Jim" Tucker

Succeeded by
Chris Broadwater
Political offices
Preceded by
Joe Salter
Louisiana House Speaker

James Wilton "Jim" Tucker

Succeeded by
Chuck Kleckley