John R. Smith (politician, born 1945)

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John R. Smith
Louisiana State Senator for District 30 (Beauregard, Calcasieu, and Vernon parishes)
Assumed office
Preceded by James David Cain
Louisiana State Representative for District 30 (Beauregard and Vernon parishes)[1]
In office
Preceded by Claude "Buddy" Leach[2]
Succeeded by James Armes[2]
Personal details
Born (1945-12-29) December 29, 1945 (age 70)
Political party Republican (2010-present)
Other political
Democratic (Before 2010)
Spouse(s) Pamela Arnondin Smith

Bradford Smith

Payton Smith
Residence Leesville
Vernon Parish
Louisiana, USA
Alma mater Loyola University New Orleans
Occupation Businessman

John R. Smith (born December 29, 1945) is a politician from Leesville, Louisiana, who is a Republican member of the Louisiana State Senate from District 30, which encompasses Vernon, Beauregard, and Calcasieu parishes in western Louisiana.[3]

In 2010, Smith switched from Democratic to Republican party affiliation.[4]


Smith received both his Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees from the Roman Catholic Loyola University in New Orleans.[5] He is a member of the Leesville Lions Club, the Masonic lodge, the Shriners, Louisiana Cattleman's Association, Ducks Unlimited, and the Leesville/Vernon Parish Chamber of Commerce.

Smith is also a former member of the Vernon Parish Police Jury and was the jury president from 1980 to 1983. Those same years, he also served on the Louisiana Democratic State Central Committee.[5]

Smith and his wife, the former Pamela Arnondin, have a son and a daughter, Bradford and Payton Smith.[5]

Legislative matters[edit]

In the 2007 state Senate primary, Smith, still a Democrat, faced competition from two other Democrats, including Buddy Leach, a former state representative and U.S. representative, and a future Democratic state party chairman. Leach led in the balloting with 10,219 votes (39.4 percent); Smith trailed with 9,227 votes (35.6 percent), and a third candidate, Terry Fowler, polled a critical 6,492 ballots (25 percent).[6] In the general election on November 17, Smith prevailed, 9,326 (51.5 percent) to Leach's 8,777 (48.5 percent).[7]

From 1988 to 2008, Smith served in the Louisiana House of Representatives from District 30 (same number as the Senate district). He was unopposed in his first bid for the House in 1987, when the incumbent Buddy Leach instead ran unsuccessfully for Louisiana state treasurer, having been defeated by Mary Landrieu. In his 1991 campaign for House reelection, Smith prevailed outright in the primary with 7,773 votes (57.6 percent) over two opponents, Democrat Thomas H. "Tommy" Ford, who received 3,868 votes (28.7 percent) and Republican Sam Townsend, who trailed with 1,858 votes (13.8 percent).[8] Thereafter, Smith was again unopposed for the House in 1995, 1999, and 2003.[2]

Smith chairs the Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection, and International Affairs Committee. He also serves on (1) Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture, and Rural Development, (2) Natural Resources. He is a member of on the Incentive Program Review Subcommittee of the Joint Budget Committee.[5] In 2010, Smith voted 67 percent of the time with the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and 90 percent with the conservative Louisiana Family Forum. In 2009, he was rated 100 percent by the Louisiana Right to Life Federation.[9]

2011 election[edit]

In his bid for a second term in the general election held on November 19, 2011, Smith defeated his predecessor in the office, James David Cain. Smith received 8,457 votes (59.4 percent) to Cain's 5,772 (40.6 percent).[10]

Smith carried the backing of Governor Bobby Jindal. In the primary held on October 22, 2011, he led a three-candidate field with 9,808 votes (45.6 percent). Cain trailed with 6,343 (29.5 percent). Democrat Terry Fowler held the remaining but critical 5,370 votes (25 percent).[11]


  1. ^ In Vernon Parish, the states House and state Senate districts are both numbered "30".
  2. ^ a b c "Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2008" (PDF). Retrieved November 13, 2009. 
  3. ^ Smith bio on the Louisiana Senate site (accessed 2010-12-09).
  4. ^ Moller, Jan (2010-12-09). "State Sen. John Alario switches to GOP". Times-Picayune (Saint Tammany Edition). p. A2. Retrieved 2010-12-09. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Senator John R. Smith (LA)". Retrieved September 2, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Louisiana primary election returns, October 20, 2007". Retrieved September 2, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Louisiana general election returns, November 17, 2007". Retrieved September 2, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Louisiana primary election returns, October 19, 1991". Retrieved September 2, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Senator John R. Smith (LA)". Retrieved September 2, 2011. 
  10. ^ Louisiana Secretary of State, General election returns, November 19, 2011
  11. ^ "Louisiana primary election returns, October 22, 2011". Retrieved October 22, 2011. 
Louisiana Senate
Preceded by
James David Cain
Louisiana State Senator for District 30 (Beauregard, Calcasieu, and Vernon parishes)

John R. Smith

Succeeded by
Louisiana House of Representatives
Preceded by
Claude "Buddy" Leach
Louisiana State Representative for District 30 (Beauregard and Vernon parishes)

John R. Smith

Succeeded by
James Armes