Rick Ward, III
|Richard Joseph "Rick" Ward, III|
|Louisiana State Senator from District 17 (Assumption, East Feliciana, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. Martin, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana parishes)|
|Preceded by||Robert M. Marionneaux|
|Political party||Republican (2013-Present), Democrat (Before 2013)|
|Spouse(s)||Dawn White Ward|
|Children||Reese and Hayes Ward|
|Residence||Maringouin, Iberville Parish|
Bethany Christian School
|Occupation||Lawyer in Port Allen, Louisiana|
Richard Joseph Ward, III, known as Rick Ward, III (born June 1982), is an attorney with the firm Clayton & Fruge from Port Allen near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who is a Republican member of the Louisiana State Senate.
A native of Livonia in Pointe Coupee Parish Parish, Ward is a graduate of Bethany Christian School in Baker in East Baton Rouge Parish and Louisiana State University, and the historically black Southern University Law Center, both in Baton Rouge. He and his wife, the former Dawn White, reside in Maringouin in Iberville Parish with their three children, Reese, Hayes and Hudson. The Ward family attends Bethany World Prayer Center.
In July 2013, Ward defected from the Democratic Party to the GOP. He became the twenty-sixth Republican senator, with thirteen remaining Democrats; the split became two-to-one Republican. Ward is the third member to switch allegiance since May 2013, the others having been State Senator Elbert Guillory from Opelousas and State Representative James R. Fannin of Jonesboro. Ward's District 17 encompasses all or parts of a swath of parishes, including Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. Martin, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana.
Ward handily won the nonpartisan blanket primary in the fall of 2011 over another Democrat, Larry Thomas, 25,645 (70 percent) to 11,000 (30 percent). He succeeded the term-limited Senator Robert M. Marionneaux, also of Maringouin.
Ward has a 62 percent rating from the interest group, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry. However, he only scored a 33% in 2013, which ranked him 29th out of 39 state senators. In 2013, he also scored 30 with the Louisiana Legislative Log's conservative index. Republican state executive director Jason Doré welcomed Ward to his new party: "He has stood up for life, education reform, fiscal responsibility, and the Second Amendment." Ward describes himself as "very conservative".
Congressional race abandoned
After becoming a Republican, Ward was criticized for switching parties to enhance his chances of winning Louisiana's 6th congressional district seat in 2014. The incumbent, Bill Cassidy, is leaving the United States House of Representatives to challenge U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu. Scott McKay, writer for The Hayride, stated that Ward had voted "to expand Medicaid, push a Lily Ledbetter Junior bill in the state legislature and oppose term limits for school board hacks, is a pretty dubious proposition.".
However, Ward decided not to seek the U.S. House seat after he determined that a congressional race and service if elected would take too much time from his young children's "formative years".
- "Senator Rick Ward, III - District 17". senate.la.gov. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
- "Sen. Rick Ward, III". la--ala.capwiz.com. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
- "Senator Rick Ward, III". labi.org. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
- "Senator Rick Ward, III". votesmart.org. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
- "State senator Rick Ward III switches parties". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
- "Louisiana primary election returns, October 22, 2011". staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
- Sadow, Jeffrey. "2013 Legislative Scorecard". Retrieved 9 August 2013.
- McKay, Scott. "Adding Things Up, Or Why Rick Ward For Congress Is A Terrible Idea". Retrieved 9 August 2013.
- "Rick Ward drops out of race for Cassidy's seat". New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved August 21, 2013.
Robert M. Marionneaux
|Louisiana State Senator from District 17 ( parishes)
Richard "Rick" Ward, III