- John McKeithen
office= Governor of Louisiana
lieutenant=Clarence C. "Taddy" Aycock
predecessor= James Houston "Jimmie" Davis
Edwin Washington Edwards
Louisiana Public Service Commissioner from District 3 (North Louisiana)
January 1, 1955
John S. Hunt, III
office3=Louisiana State Representative from District 20 (Caldwell Parish)
succeeded3=Johnnie W. Calton
birth_date= birth date|1918|5|28|mf=y
birth_place= Grayson in
Caldwell Parish, Louisiana
death_date= death date and age|1999|6|4|1918|5|28|mf=y
death_place= Columbia, Louisiana
spouse=Marjorie Howell Funderburk "Margie" McKeithen (1919-2004)
children=Six children, including
W. Fox McKeithen(1946-2005)
John Julian McKeithen (
May 28, 1918ndash June 4, 1999), a Democrat from the tiny townof Columbia, the seat of Caldwell Parishin northeastern Louisiana, was the first governor of his state to serve two consecutive terms. His tenure ran from 1964-1972. He was also the governor who pushed for the construction of the Louisiana Superdomein New Orleans.
McKeithen was born in the
villageof Grayson in Caldwell Parish, the son of contractor and farmer, Jesse J. McKeithen and the former DeEtte Eglin. He graduated from high school there and first attended collegein High Point, North Carolina. In 1942, he earned his law degree from Louisiana State Universityin Baton Rouge.
He served in the
United States Armyin the Pacific theatreduring World War II, and fought in the Battle of Okinawa. After the war, McKeithen started practicing law in Columbia. He married a young teacher in Columbia, the former Marjorie "Margie" Howell Funderburk ( September 30, 1919ndash March 24, 2004). She graduated from Louisiana Tech University, then called "Louisiana Polytechnic Institute." They had six children. She was the homemaker of their Hogan Plantation and reserved the spotlight for her popular husband, whom she affectionately called "J.J."
tate legislator and public service commissioner
McKeithen was elected as a Louisiana state representative in 1948; he was a prominent leader for Governor
Earl Kemp Longon the floor of the House. In 1952, as a 33-year-old state legislator, he was an unsuccessful Democratic primary candidate for lieutenant governor on a slate supported by the Longs. The "anti-Longs," led that year by Judge Robert F. Kennonof Minden, won the governorship and other top positions. McKeithen lost the lieutenant governor's runoff to C. E. "Cap" Barhamof Ruston, the seat of Lincoln Parish, who had originally run on the ticket with U.S. RepresentativeThomas Hale Boggs, Sr., of New Orleans. Barham then switched to the Kennon ticket in the runoff against McKeithen.
McKeithen then served on the elected
Louisiana Public Service Commissionfrom 1955 to 1964. He emerged successful in the 1954 Democratic primary for the PSC by defeating Harvey Broyles and L.S. Hooper. He represented Huey Long’s old north Louisiana district, and emulated Long with his populistattacks on the Southern Bell TelephoneCompany. He was credited with preserving the traditional nickel phone call, when most states had long gone to a dime or higher in pay phone outlets. When McKeithen left the PSC to become governor, he appointed John S. Hunt, III(1928-2001), of Monroe, a nephewof Governors Huey and Earl Long, to finish McKeithen's term. Hunt then won a six-year term on the PSC in the 1966 Democratic runoff primary by defeating State Representative John Sidney Garrettof Haynesville, thereafter McKeithen's choice as Speaker of the Louisiana House.
Election as governor, 1963-64
In the first primary in December 1963, a wide array of candidates entered from former Governor Robert Kennon to segregationist Education Superintendent
Shelby M. Jacksonto Ku Klux Klanwizard A. Roswell Thompson, a taxi operator from New Orleans. McKeithen ran second in the primary and headed to a Democratic runoff in January 1964. He thereafter swept the general electionon March 3.
In the first primary, McKeithen hoped to win the backing of the still-influential 'Longite' forces. After the death of Earl Long, the Long faction was divided; most of Long’s former allies backed the candidacy of freshman U.S. Representative
Gillis Long, while Earl’s widow Blanche Longbacked McKeithen. Despite his Longite background, McKeithen ran on a reform platform, promising to “clean up the mess in Baton Rouge." He also ran as a defender of segregation, having criticized the meddling of U.S. President John F. Kennedyin Louisiana politics. McKeithen emerged in second place to the frontrunner deLesseps Story "Chep" Morrison, Sr. In the runoff campaign, McKeithen rallied the supporters of fifth-place finisher Shelby Jackson by warning of the dangers of a NAACP"bloc vote" for Morrison. McKeithen won the runoff, 492,905 (52.2 percent) to 451,161 (47.8 percent). Though he had maintained segregation, he indicated that he welcomed African-American support in the primary.
McKeithen overcame the conservative Republican Party (GOP) candidate Charlton Havard Lyons, Sr., a
Shreveport oilman, in the first seriously contested Louisiana gubernatorial general election since Reconstruction. McKeithen defeated Lyons, 469,589 (60.7 percent) to 297,753 (37.5 percent). McKeithen seemed somewhat bitter that he had to face a Republican candidate after struggling through two hard-fought Democratic primaries but nevertheless congratulated the 69-year-old Lyons for the vigorous GOP campaign.
McKeithen as governor
McKeithen's two terms were characterized by economic expansion and job creation. He pushed for expansion of the state’s industrial sector, and called a special session to create a Labor Management Commission of Inquiry to resolve a strike in Baton Rouge early in his first term. He offered tax concessions to bring new industry to the state, particularly along the Mississippi River corridor between
New Orleansand Baton Rouge, and conducted a “right to profit” campaign in 1966-1967. After making a name for himself as an opponent of labor, threats were made on McKeithen’s life and a bomb exploded in the State Capitol’s Senate chamber.
McKeithen signed legislation establishing a state
code of ethicsfor elected and appointed public officials, the investment of idle funds to bring additional interest income to the state, and disclosure of the state's previously secret unclassified payroll, three proposals sponsored in the state House by Representative Joe Henry Cooperof Masfield, the seat of De Soto Parishin northwestern Louisiana.
When McKeithen was elected, Louisiana governors could still serve only one term. Governors had to sit out a term if they wished to seek second or third terms thereafter. McKeithen worked to end this practice; voters overwhelmingly approved his pet "Amendment 1" in the 1966 general election. Therefore, he could seek a second term in the 1967-1968 election cycle.
Among his advisors was the former State Senator William R. "Billy" Boles, Sr., a high-powered Monroe attorney and
banker. He also depended heavily on Senator Sixty Rayburnof Bogalusa, a favorite of organized laborand the Democrat constituency groups.
Re-election campaign, 1967
He was so popular in office that voters renominated him with ease in the 1967 Democratic primary, in which he was opposed by the very conservative
Indiana-born Sixth District freshman Congressman John Rarickof St. Francisvillein West Feliciana Parish, who was backed by the Ku Klux Klan. Rarick did not warm to rural voters the way McKeithen could and his strict constitutionalist views did not appeal to many in the Louisiana statewide electorate. People responded positively to McKeithen's folksy mannerisms and trademark "Won't you 'hep me?" appeal. Republicans did not field a candidate to challenge McKeithen for a second term in the general election held on February 6, 1968. McKeithen even worked to defeat a state senator in northwestern Louisiana. Harold Montgomeryof Doyline was unseated after two terms by a challenger of the same surname but no relation, Minden attorney John Willard "Jack" Montgomery.
econd term as governor
During his second term, pushing for the construction of the Louisiana
Superdomein New Orleanswas one of McKeithen’s priorities. Despite initial misgivings by many, McKeithen was responsible for moving approval of the Supedome project through the Legislature, arguing that the benefits of associated economic development would be worth the high cost.
On the Superdome and other issues, McKeithen faced the legislative opposition of a group of mostly young reformers known as the "Young Turks." One of their leaders was
Robert G. "Bob" Jones, a state representative from Lake Charles and the son of former Governor Sam Houston Jones. Jones objected to state funding of the Superdome in New Orleans and many state bond projects. The Young Turks favored a "pay-as-you-go" approach, rather than too much bonded indebtedness. Jones himself would run unsuccessfully for governor in 1975.
He also pushed through a 2-cent sales tax increase in 1970 to fund higher pay for teachers and state employees, and worked to expand construction on many public college and university campuses. He reformed the Department of Corrections, and improved conditions in the Angola state penitentiary.
In 1969 and 1970, McKeithen’s administration received criticism in the national press. "Life" magazine claimed that the
Mafiahad influence in Louisiana’s state government. Thirty-nine state and local officials were eventually indicted, but no ties were ever linked to McKeithen himself.
McKeithen and race
McKeithen, presiding over Louisiana during the turbulent civil rights era, had an ambiguous record on race relations. He had first been elected in 1964 as a segregationist, and race-baiting rhetoric was a major part of his campaign. He fought publicly with President
Lyndon Johnson’s Office of Economic Opportunity, and tried to appoint segregationist Shelby Jackson to head the state’s management of federal War on Povertyfunds. As late as 1965, McKeithen publicly stated his support for segregation as the best system for Louisiana, but he later moderated his views on race relations. He personally intervened to stem racial violence in Bogalusa in 1965 and created a Biracial Commission on Human Rights, Relations, and Responsibilities designed to ease tensions. He appointed Israel Augustineand Ernest "Dutch" Morial as Louisiana’s first African-Americanjudges since Reconstruction. But during 1967 disturbances, McKeithen took a hard line, threatening to have authorities shoot looters and rioters. McKeithen also later became a national spokesperson for the movement to oppose integration by busing school children.
After he left office in 1972, McKeithen sought the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the death of long-term Democratic incumbent
Allen J. Ellender. The filing deadline had closed for the Democratic primary; so he ran as an independent in the general election. He lost to the Democratic nominee, former Louisiana state Senator J. Bennett Johnston, Jr., as Richard M. Nixonand Spiro T. Agnewwere easily carrying Louisiana for the Republicans.
David C. Treen, a Republican, appointed the Democrat McKeithen to the LSU Board of Supervisors, a position that he held until his death. In his later years, McKeithen practiced law in Columbia and in Baton Rouge with his granddaughter, Marjorie. In 1991, McKeithen made headlines by resigning from the his local country club after it barred a black high school golfer from playing in a tournament there. In 1993, McKeithen was among the original inductees into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield. McKeithen died on June 4, 1999, in Columbia.
W. Fox McKeithen(1946-2005), was a member of the Louisiana legislature (1984-1988) and secretary of state (1988-2005). Fox McKeithen switched his party allegiance from Democratic to Republican after his first election as secretary of state in 1987, much to the consternation of his staunchly Democratic father and daughter.
* [http://la-cemeteries.com/Governors/McKeithen,%20John%20Julian/McKeithen,%20John%20Julian.shtml Cemetery Memorial] by La-Cemeteries
*Dawson, Joseph G. "The Louisiana Governors: From Iberville to Edwards." Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1990.
*Miriam G. Reeves. "The Governors of Louisiana." Pelican, 1998.
*Charles W. Tapp. “The Gubernatorial Election of 1964: An Affirmation of Political Trends.” Louisiana Academy of Sciences XXVII (1964)
*”McKeithen: a great salesman for Louisiana” Baton Rouge State-Times/Morning Advocate, June 5, 1999.
* [http://www.sos.louisiana.gov/tabid/406/Default.aspx State of Louisiana - Biography]
* [http://www.enlou.com/people/mckeithenj-bio.htm Encyclopedia Louisiana entry on John McKeithen]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
John McKeithen — John Julian McKeithen (* 28. Mai 1918 in Grayson, Caldwell Parish, Louisiana; † 4. Juni 1999 in Columbia, Louisiana) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker und von 1964 bis 1972 Gouverneur des Bundesstaates Louisiana. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Frühe… … Deutsch Wikipedia
John Julian McKeithen — (* 28. Mai 1918 in Grayson, Caldwell Parish, Louisiana; † 4. Juni 1999 in Columbia, Louisiana) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker und von 1964 bis 1972 Gouverneur des Bundesstaates Louisiana. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Frühe Jahre … Deutsch Wikipedia
John G. Schwegmann — John Gerald Schwegmann, Jr., (August 14, 1911 March 6, 1995) was a pioneer in the development of the modern supermarket. He owned eighteen stores in the Greater New Orleans area, based from Metairie, a large unincorporated city in Jefferson… … Wikipedia
John Milliken Parker — (* 16. März 1863 in Bethel Church, Orleans Parish, Louisiana jetzt Mississippi; † 22. Mai 1939 in New Orleans) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker und Baumwollhändler. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Frühe Jahre 2 Poli … Deutsch Wikipedia
John Hainkel — John Joseph Hainkel, Jr., (born New Orleans, March 24, 1938; died Poplarville, Mississippi, April 15, 2005) was a gregarious, ruffled, and raspy voiced legislator from New Orleans who died in office after thirty seven years of service. He was the … Wikipedia
John Sidney Garrett — Infobox State Representative name= John Sidney Garrett caption= John Sidney Garrett office= Louisiana State Representative from Claiborne, Bienville, and Webster parishes) term start= 1948 term end=1972 preceded= William Monroe Willie Rainach… … Wikipedia
John Rarick — Infobox Congressman name= John Richard Rarick, Sr. caption= John Rarick office= United States House of Representatives, Sixth District of Louisiana term start= 1967 term end=1975 preceded=James Hobson Jimmy Morrison succeeded=William Henson Moore … Wikipedia
John McW. Ford — Infobox Mayor | name=John McWilliams Ford nationality=American office= Mayor of Shreveport, Louisiana (Caddo Parish), Louisiana, USA party=Democratic Party term start=1918 term end=1922 preceded=Robert Hodges Ward succeeded=Lee Emmett Thomas… … Wikipedia
John K. Snyder — Infobox Mayor name=John Kenneth Tillie Snyder, Sr. nationality=American office= Mayor of Alexandria, Louisiana (Rapides Parish) party=Democratic Party term start=June 1973 term end=June 1977 preceded= Charles Edward Ed Karst succeeded= Carroll E … Wikipedia
John M. Parker — John Milliken Parker (* 16. März 1863 in Bethel Church, Orleans Parish, Louisiana jetzt Mississippi; † 22. Mai 1939 in New Orleans) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker und Baumwollhändler. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Frühe Jahre 2 Politischer Aufstieg … Deutsch Wikipedia