Rick Ward III
|Richard Joseph "Rick" Ward III|
|Louisiana State Senator for 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 & Ward 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 the formative years of his young children.
At the end of the special legislative session in June 2017, Ward introduced a resolution calling upon lawmakers to act in a more civil fashion toward one another, not to let partisanship and political views sour personal relations with colleagues. "There are always a lot of heated discussions, but it seems to me like we're moving away from philosophical disagreements on issues and getting personal," Ward said. State Representative Chris Broadwater, a Republican from Hammond, introduced Ward's resolution in the House, where it passed without opposition. U.S. Representative Mike Johnson of Louisiana's 4th congressional district, who is a former member of the state House of Representatives, expressed a similar view in a document which he wrote as a congressional freshman.
- "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.
- Greg Hilburn (June 6, 2017). "Why can't we be friends? Senator seeks civility". The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
Robert M. Marionneaux
|Louisiana State Senator for District 17 (Assumption, East Feliciana, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. Martin, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana parishes)
Richard Joseph "Rick" Ward III