|Michael Arthur "Mike" Walsworth|
|Member of the Louisiana Senate
from the 33rd district
|Preceded by||Robert Jocelyn Barham|
|Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives
from the 15th district
|Preceded by||Charles Anding|
|Succeeded by||Frank A. Hoffmann|
March 27, 1956 |
West Monroe, Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, USA
|Children||Lindsay Michelle Walsworth|
|Education||University of Louisiana at Monroe|
|Occupation||Real estate developer|
|Religion||Churches of Christ|
Michael Arthur Walsworth, known as Mike Walsworth (born March 27, 1956), is an American real estate developer from West Monroe, Louisiana, who is a Republican member for District 33 of the Louisiana State Senate, first elected in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 20, 2007. He previously represented District 15 (Ouachita Parish) in the Louisiana House of Representatives until term-limited.
Walsworth's Senate district includes Ouachita, Claiborne, Morehouse, Union, and West Carroll parishes. He defeated the Democratic State Representative Charles McDonald of Fairbanks community in northern Ouachita Parish to succeed the term-limited Republican Senator Robert J. Barham of Oak Ridge in Morehouse Parish. Walsworth polled 17,292 (51.7 percent) to McDonald's 16,058 (48.3 percent). McDonald's House seat, to which he was term-limited, was narrowly won in the November 17, 2007, state election by a Republican, Sam Little, retired farmer from Bastrop, seat of Morehouse Parish. In a 2013 committee meeting, a question which Walsworth raised, about the theory of evolution as it relates to E. Coli bacteria, caused his critics to claim that he lacks basic scientific knowledge. From 1984 to 1996, Walsworth was a member of the Louisiana Republican State Central Committee. On February 9, 2008, he sought to return to the committee to represent his former State Representative District 15 berth. But he withdrew his candidacy two days before the closed primary election, and the position went by default to M. Randall "Randy" Donald. Walsworth was first elected to the state House in the 1995 primary when he unseated two-term Democrat Charles Anding of West Monroe and assumed the seat in 1996.
Walsworth was born to Leo Walsworth and his wife Lila "Tootsie" Kitchens (1921–2007) in West Monroe adjacent to Monroe in Ouachita Parish. His maternal grandparents, Marshall and Emily Kitchens, operated a grocery store in Monroe. Walsworth was graduated from West Monroe High School in 1974. Thereafter, he procured a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Louisiana at Monroe (then Northeast Louisiana University). He is a real estate developer. He previously worked in management of Coca-Cola. He is affiliated with the Greater Ouachita Lions Club, American Red Cross, Boys and Girls Clubs, Civitan Club, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and American Heart Association. He is also involved in the United Way of America, National Rifle Association, and ULM Alumni Association. Walsworth is the song leader at a local Church of Christ. He is the father of one daughter, Lindsay Michelle Walsworth. "Looking at the generation, not the next election" has been a motto of Walsworth's political campaigns. In the legislature, Walsworth worked to establish the Ouachita Port Commission and the Ouachita Expressway Commission. He authored a law which renders video voyeurism illegal in Louisiana. He worked on the Ethics Reform Bill to prohibit lawmakers from doing business with the state. He also worked to pass tort reform in his first legislative session. He has pushed for funding of rural schools, which abound in House District 15 and Senate District 33. In his initial election to the House, Walsworth defeated Charles Anding, 7,745 (55 percent) to 6,403 (45 percent). In 1999, with 9,060 votes (67 percent), Walsworth defeated Democrat Royce Calhoun, who had 4,441 votes (33 percent), to win a second term in the House. Walsworth was unopposed in 2003 for his third and final term in the House. In 2013, Walsworth joined State Representative Rob Shadoin of Ruston to rename the Louisiana Highway 33 bridge over Lake D’Arbonne in Farmerville after Representative James Peyton Smith of Union Parish. James Peyton Smith had died in 2006.
Creationism and other controversy
In a 2013 committee hearing on Louisiana Senate Bill 374, Walsworth raised a question which, according to Walsworth's critics, revealed his misapprehension, or misrepresentation, of the theory of evolution. Walsworth's question was about an experiment on E. coli bacteria. As a science teacher described Richard Lenski's decades-long study with E. coli bacteria which froze some and allowed others to evolve, Walsworth asked whether any of the bacteria evolved—during the experiment—into human beings. His critics claim that Walsworth either lacks knowledge of, or misrepresented, or expressed a jocular attitude toward, the scientific method and scientific theory by describing as "just a theory" the entire process of evolution. Louisiana Senate Bill 374 was designed to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act.
In 2014, Walsworth was alleged to have been involved in conveying a video to the Ouachita Citizen, weekly newspaper published in West Monroe. The video showed Republican United States Representative Vance McAllister of Louisiana's 5th congressional district in an ostensibly passionate kiss with his subordinate, Melissa Anne Hixon Peacock, married to a longtime friend of McAllister, who is also married. Walsworth firmly denied any connection with, or even knowledge of, the video prior to its publication. The video, which had been anonymously left with the Ouachita Citizen, evoked a national news story.
2015 reelection campaign
To remain in the state Senate, Walsworth faces opposition in the nonpartisan blanket primary scheduled for October 24, 2015, from his intra-party rival, former U.S. Representative Vance McAllister. "It's important to end the Jindal-Walsworth administration," quipped McAllister, a reference to Walsworth's longtime backing of Governor Jindal, a candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. "They’ve been there eight years and we've got nothing to show for it," McAllister added.
McAllister called for debates with Walsworth in all six parishes in Senate District 33, but Walsworth said that six debates in five weeks is unrealistic. McAllister claimed that Walsworth plans to run for mayor of West Monroe when the long-term incumbent, Democrat Dave Norris, retires: "Everybody knows he wants to run for mayor. I've seen how the state has suffered while Jindal ran for another job," McCallister said.
Walsworth handily turned back McAllister's challenge, 15,891 votes (62.3 percent) to 9,626 (37.7 percent).
- "Results for Election Date: 10/20/2007". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
- Plait, Phil. "And These Are the People Making Laws in Louisiana". Slate.com. Retrieved 2015-05-03.
- "Results for Election Date: 10/21/1995". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
- "Greg Hilburn, State honors the late Rep. Smith with bridge renaming, September 12, 2013". Monroe News-Star. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
- SENATE BILL NO. 374
- Creationist Senator in Louisiana lectured on Evolution, YouTube
- Mustian, Jim (2014-04-09). "Voters let down by 'kissing congressman'". Advocate (Baton Rouge, Louisiana). pp. 1A, 5A. Retrieved 2014-04-09. The allegation toward Walsworth and his denial thereof appear on p. 5A. Later in the same year McAllister failed to win re-election, being eliminated in the primary. Advancing to the general election were Monroe mayor Democrat Jamie Mayo and veterinarian and physician Ralph Abraham of Mangham in Richland Parish, with Abraham, a Republican, winning the seat and replacing McAllister.
- Greg Hilburn (September 10, 2015). "McAllister challenges Walsworth for Senate seat". The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
- "Results for Election Date: 10/24/2015". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
- Greg Hilburn (January 13, 2016). "Senate Labor chair won't support minimum wage increase". The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved January 16, 2016.
- "Meet the Next Governor of Louisiana" louisianaconservative.com April, 2007
- "Senate Candidate Mike Walsworth Leads the Way" louisianaconservative.com August, 2007
- "REPRESENTATIVE MIKE WALSWORTH “A Warrior for What Is Right”" louisianaconservative.com September, 2007
- "MONROE NEWSSTAR ENDORSES MIKE WALSWORTH - SENATE DISTRICT 33" louisianaconservative.com October, 2007
- Louisiana State Senate - Mike Walsworth official government website
- Mike Walsworth for State Senate official campaign website
|Louisiana House of Representatives|
|Louisiana State Representative from District 16
1996 – 2008
Frank A. Hoffmann
Robert Jocelyn Barham
|Louisiana State Senator from District 33
2008 – present