Rick Nowlin

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Louisiana State Representative
Rickey L. "Rick" Nowlin
Party Republican
Spouse(s) Widower of Brenda Barr Nowlin
Religion Baptist

Rickey L. "Rick" Nowlin (born July 30, 1948) is an engineer and businessman from Natchitoches, Louisiana, who is the incoming president of the Natchitoches PAs arish government. He is also a Republican former state representative from District 23 (now Natchitoches, DeSoto, and Red River parishes).

Nowlin and State Senator Gerald I. Long of Natchitoches, a member of the Long political family, are the first Republicans since Reconstruction elected to have represented Natchitoches Parish in their state's legislature.[1] The two took their oaths of office on January 14, 2008, the same day that Republican Governor Bobby Jindal was inaugurated.


Nowlin was born to Louis M. Nowlin (November 16, 1918 – July 1, 2001) and Jocie R. Nowlin (May 21, 1921 – August 30, 2000).[2] He, his brother, and two sisters were reared in Ferriday, a city in Concordia Parish near the Mississippi River. Nowlin graduated from Ferriday High School in 1966. In his initial election, Nowlin secured the endorsement of the National Federation of Independent Business.[3]

Nowlin attended Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, from which he received in 1971 a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering.[4] He was a member of Eta Kappa Nu honor electrical society, Sigma Nu social fraternity, which endorsed Nowlin in the campaign,[5] and Omicron Delta Kappa honor society. He was listed in Who's Who in American College and Universities. The next year, Nowlin procured a Master of Business Administration degree with honors from Louisiana Tech and was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma honor business society.[6]

Legislative election, 2007

Nowlin, with the pledge of "A Time for Reform", won a stunning victory in District 23 (then Natchitoches and Winn parishes but since altered) on November 17, 2007, over the Democrat Joseph Michael "Joe" Sampite, who served as the mayor of Natchitoches from 1980 to 2000. Sampite is also an inductee into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield.[7] Nowlin polled 4,609 votes (55 percent) in the general election to Sampite's 3,766 (45 percent)[8] In the primary on October 20, 2007, Nowlin led a four-candidate field with 4,849 votes (35 percent) to Sampite's 4,598 (33 percent). Two other Democrats, Ralph Wilson and Mack James, polled, 2,847 (21 percent) and 1,459 (11 percent), respectively. Hence, Nowlin and Sampite were thrust into the runoff, called the general election in Louisiana even if both candidates are from the same party.[9] Nowlin succeeded Thomas Taylor Townsend of Natchitoches, a Democrat who gave up the House seat after two terms to run unsuccessfully against Gerald Long for the state Senate. Townsend is a nephew and law partner of former State Senator Donald G. Kelly of Natchitoches.

Personal and civic life

Nowlin is the widower of the former Brenda Barr (February 12, 1950 – May 21, 2000).[2] The couple's two children include daughter Jennifer Lauren Nowlin (born 1980) and son Matthew Louis Nowlin (born 1983), a 2007 graduate of Texas A&M University.[6] He lost his wife and both parents in a period of fourteen months.

The Nowlins moved to Natchitoches in 1979. He has been involved in many community affairs, including the National Rifle Association, Masonic lodge, Boys and Girls Clubs of Natchitoches, and, formerly, the National Historic District Commission. He is a member of the First Baptist Church of Natchitoches.[6]

Nowlin is president of N&A, Inc., Consulting Engineers and Land Surveyors, with offices in Natchitoches, Pineville, and Jena. He is a five-time board member of the Consulting Engineers Council of Louisiana. He has twice served as president of the Alexandria chapter of Consulting Engineers Council of Louisiana. He is affiliated with the Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers and the National Society of Professional Engineers. He owns Ducournau Restaurant and Townhouse in Natchitoches.[6]

Political philosophy

In 2007, Nowlin described his political philosophy as (1) "Pro-business and Pro-job-creation, (2) Educational reform with emphasis on early childhood development, (3) Fiscal conservatism, (4) Limited government and reduced taxes, (5) Pro-life, (6) Pro-family, (7) Pro-Second Amendment.[6]

On his website, Nowlin says that "There will be a new legislature and a new governor who must not waste this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to put Louisiana back on track. We must lead with a bold purpose and have the courage to correct the problems that have plagued our state for far too long."[6]

2011 election

District 23 became a majority African American district in the 2011 redistricting based uopn the 2010 census.[10]

In the general election held on November 19, 2011, Nowlin was unseated by the Democrat Kenny Ray Cox, a decorated retired lieutenant colonel in the United States Army from Mansfield in DeSoto Parish. Cox received 5,556 votes (53.4 percent) to Nowlin's 4,847 (46.6 percent). Nowlin won by some nine hundred votes in Natchitoches Parish but lost decisively in DeSoto and Red River parishes.[11]

In the October 22 primary, Nowlin had narrowly led with 5,662 votes (43.6 percent), and Cox trailed with 5,506 votes (42.4 percent). Democrat Ralph Wilson, who also sought the seat in 2007, held the remaining but critical 1,805 ballots (13.9 percent).[12]

Incoming Representative Cox graduated from Coushatta High School in Coushatta in Red River Parish.[13] He ran unsuccessfully in 2007 in House District 7 against the Republican Richard Burford of Stonewall, who was subsequently re-elected in the 2011 primary.

In addition to Nowlin, two other north Louisiana Republican legislators faced with redistricting woes, Sam Little of Bastrop in Morehouse Parish and Billy Chandler of Dry Prong in Grant Parish were unseated in the November 19 general election.

In 2012, Nowlin was a Louisiana delegate to the Republican National Convention held in Tampa, Florida. He supports the election of Mitt Romney as U.S. president.

As the Republican candidate in the November 6, 2012, election for the newly-established position of President of Natchitoches Parish, Nowlin handily defeated a Democratic opponent. He will assume his new position, along with five elected commissioners, in January 2012.