Kirt Bennett

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Kirt Bennett
Kirt Bruce Bennett

(1967-12-15)December 15, 1967
DiedMay 3, 2010(2010-05-03) (aged 42)
ResidenceBaton Rouge, Louisiana
Alma materEleanor McMain Magnet Senior High School

Louisiana State University

Southern University
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Zanetta Denise Taylor-Bennett
ChildrenJohn Denham Bennett

Christiana Marie Bennett

Benjamin Taylor Bennett
Parent(s)Elden Denham Bennett
Nova Carlota Bennett
(1) Though he never won office as an African-American Republican in Louisiana, Bennett founded the nationally recognized Young Leaders Academy in Baton Rouge. (2) Bennett was a star track and field athlete at Louisiana State University between 1987 and 1991.

Kirt Bruce Bennett (December 15, 1967 – May 3, 2010) was an African-American Republican political activist, businessman, and educational leader in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Early years[edit]

Bennett was born in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Eleanor McMain Magnet Senior High School in New Orleans.[1] He then attended Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge on an athletic scholarship. He lettered in track and field: the shot-put, discus, and the hammer.[2] He was elected president of the LSU Student Government Association becoming the second African American SGA president in LSU's history. In 1991, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. In the early 21st century, he was invited to speak at the LSU commencement exercises. He also studied public administration at Southern University, an historically black institution in Baton Rouge.[1]

In 1993, Bennett founded the Young Leaders Academy of Baton Rouge, an institution for the education of African-American boys.[3] Youngsters from the school appeared twice on the syndicated The Oprah Winfrey Show and won Winfrey's "Use Your Life" award.[4] In 1998, the school was presented the "Points of Light" award by former U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush.[3] Other citations include three U.S. President Service awards from former President Bill Clinton and an FBI Community Service designation in 2006.[2]

Political campaigns[edit]

In March 1993, Bennett ran as a Democrat in a special election for the District 67 seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives. He finished in third place with 11 percent of the vote.[5]

In 2003, Bennett, Clyde C. Holloway, and Melinda Schwegmann were three major Republican candidates for lieutenant governor. Bennett stressed improving the state's business climate in his campaign.[1] The position instead went to the lone Democrat in the race, Mitch Landrieu.[2] Bennett ran fourth in the nonpartisan blanket primary, with 108,293 votes (8.5 percent).[6]

In 2004, Bennett ran unsuccessfully again, this time for a seat on the 144-member Republican State Central Committee from House District 61, but he lost to Dan Richey, a former member of both houses of the state legislature, having represented the area about Concordia Parish. Richey defeated Bennett, 102-65, in a low-turnout closed primary.[7]

Bennett was a representative of the Northwest Mutual Financial Network. At the time of his death, he was also serving as the treasurer of the Port of Greater Baton Rouge board of commissioners, under appointment from Republican Governor Bobby Jindal. Port headquarters are located in Port Allen. [8]

The Young Leaders' Academy issued the following statement on Bennett's death: "Mr. Bennett laid a solid foundation that continues to direct our path today. He was a visionary leader who offered himself in service to countless people in this community. We will never find the words to express the depth of his impression on the young men that he inspired, molded, and mentored."[3]


Kirt Bennett died on May 3, 2010 at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge after suffering a stroke the previous week. He was 42.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Willmarine B. Hurst, "A New Breed with New Vision and New Leadership for a New Louisiana", May 30, 2003, at
  2. ^ a b c d "Kirt Bruce Bennett". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate, May 7, 2010. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c "Young Leaders Academy mourns loss of former director and friend". Retrieved May 7, 2010.
  4. ^ "Young Leaders Academy of Baton Rouge". Retrieved May 8, 2010.
  5. ^ "Louisiana special election returns, March 6, 1993". Retrieved May 7, 2010.[dead link]
  6. ^ "Louisiana primary election returns, October 4, 2003". Retrieved May 7, 2010.[dead link]
  7. ^ "Louisiana primary election returns, March 9, 2004". Retrieved May 7, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Port commissioners". Archived from the original on February 12, 2009. Retrieved May 7, 2010.