Charles W. DeWitt Jr.

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Charles W. DeWitt Jr.
Louisiana Public Service Commissioner
In office
October 21, 2016 – December 31, 2016
Preceded by Clyde C. Holloway
Succeeded by Mike Francis
Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives for
District 25 (Rapides and Vernon parishes)
In office
March 1980 – January 2008
Preceded by Wilbur Dyer
Succeeded by Chris Roy Jr.
Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives
In office
2000–2004
Preceded by Hunt Downer
Succeeded by Joe Salter
Personal details
Born

(1947-02-04) February 4, 1947 (age 70)
Alexandria, Rapides Parish

Louisiana, USA
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Patricia "Dale" Riddick DeWitt
Children

Dr. Chance DeWitt

Renée DeWitt Verma
Alma mater Bolton High School
Occupation Farmer; Rancher

Charles W. DeWitt Jr. (born February 4, 1947), known as Charlie DeWitt, is a Democratic former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives, having served from District 25 (Rapides and Vernon parishes) from 1980 to 2008. He was the Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 2000 to 2004 during the second term of Republican Governor Murphy James "Mike" Foster Jr. In Louisiana, the governor plays a major role in selecting the House speaker despite the separation of powers.

DeWitt was born to the late Mr. and Mrs. Charles W. DeWitt Sr, he graduated from Bolton High School in Alexandria in 1965. One of his classmates was another future Louisiana state legislator, Jock Scott, of District 27, the two were also House colleagues from 1980 to 1988, but Scott switched to the GOP in 1985.

DeWitt is married to the former Patricia "Dale" Riddick. A farm-ranch operative, DeWitt is a member of the Cattleman's Association and the coproducer of a rodeo company. Their mailing address is in Lecompte (pronounced LE COUNT) in southern Rapides Parish.

Prior to his legislative service, DeWitt was a member of the Rapides Parish Police Jury, the parish's governing board, akin to the county commission in other states, from 1972 to 1980, he was the jury vice president from 1976 to 1978, having served under the president, L. B. Henry of Pineville, he is a member of the Amicus Club and serves on the advisory board of the Alexandria Area Child Protection Agency. He is on the board of directors of the Farm Bureau, he was chairman of the Heart Fund and a former member of the Rapides Parish Stormwater Management and Drainage District.

Early in 2007, DeWitt was diagnosed with lung cancer and underwent treatment, the disease was found in an examination conducted by his son, the Alexandria physician Dr. Chance DeWitt. Both of his parents were cancer victims, the recovery rate based on early detection of the cancer is considered very good.

DeWitt was term-limited from seeking a seventh term in the state House in the October 20, 2007 nonpartisan blanket primary, his successor was fellow Democrat Christopher Roy Jr., brother of Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy. Roy defeated Republican Lance Maxwell in the November 17 general election. Maxwell had led in the primary with 6,226 votes (41 percent) to Roy's 5,282 ballots (35 percent). A third candidate, former Alexandria Police Chief Glen Beard, a Democrat, trailed with 3,538 votes (24 percent).

DeWitt stunned the Louisiana political scene in October when he endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate Bobby Jindal, the outright winner of the primary election. DeWitt is Roman Catholic.

In 2004, DeWitt was inducted into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield.[1]

In 2014, DeWitt came out of political retirement to run for Alexandria city marshal, a position in Wards 1, 2, and 8 of Rapides Parish, he entered into a runoff election with incumbent Terence Grines, a fellow Democrat. Other primary candidates were Edward Butler Jr., Steve Edwards, and Beau Meynard, the only Republican in the five-man field.[2][3] DeWitt narrowly lost the marshal's race to Grimes, 8,566 votes (48.3 percent) to 9,172 (51.7 percent). [4] The radio commentator Moon Griffon referred to DeWitt's attempted comeback as another defeat for the "Old Guard" of Louisiana politics.[5]

On October 21, 2016, Governor John Bel Edwards appointed DeWitt to the Louisiana Public Service Commission for District 4, filling the vacancy left by the death of Commissioner Clyde C. Holloway, a Republican. DeWitt was not a candidate in the November 8 general election for the next six-year term on the PSC; the candidates for the seat were Republicans Mike Francis and Reldon Owens of Alexandria and Democrat Mary Leach Werner (born January 1968) of Lake Charles, the older daughter of former U.S. Representative Buddy Leach of Louisiana's 4th congressional district. DeWitt completed Holloway's term, which expired on December 31, 2016. Holloway had been elected without opposition in 2010. District 4 covers the following parishes: Acadia, Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Catahoula, Evangeline, Grant, Iberia, Jefferson Davis, LaSalle, Rapides, Sabine, St. Landry, Vermilion, and Vernon.[6] Francis, who won an outright majority over his two rivals in the November 8 primary election, will hence succeed DeWitt on January 1, 2017.

In 2004, DeWitt was inducted into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame". cityofwinnfield.com. Archived from the original on July 3, 2009. Retrieved August 22, 2009. 
  2. ^ Richard P. Sharkey. "Late qualifiers spice up races in Rapides Paris". Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved August 23, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Louisiana primary election returns, November 4, 2014". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved November 17, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Runoff election returns, December 6, 2014". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved December 8, 2014. 
  5. ^ The Moon Griffon Show, December 8, 2014
  6. ^ Mark Ballard (October 21, 2016). "Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards names Charlie DeWitt as interim PSC commissioner". The Advocate. Retrieved October 23, 2016. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Clyde C. Holloway
Member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission

Charles W. "Charlie" DeWitt Jr.
2016

Succeeded by
Mike Francis (pending)
Preceded by
Hunt Downer
Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives

Charles W. "Charlie" DeWitt Jr.
2000–2004

Succeeded by
Joe Salter
Louisiana House of Representatives
Preceded by
Wilbur Dyer
Louisiana State Representative from District 25 (Rapides and Vernon parishes)

Charles W. "Charlie" DeWitt Jr.
1980–2008

Succeeded by
Chris Roy Jr.