Barbara Norton

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Barbara Ann McCray Norton

Louisiana State Representative
for District 3 (Caddo Parish)
In office
January 2008 – January 13, 2020
Preceded by Ernest Baylor, Jr.
Succeeded by Tammy Phillips

Born February 10, 1946
Place of birth missing
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Family information unavailable
Residence Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
Alma mater Booker T. Washington High School (Shreveport)

Louisiana State University in Shreveport

Occupation Retiree from American Telephone and Telegraph employee

Barbara Ann McCray Norton (born February 10, 1946)[1] is an African-American Democratic former state representative for District 3 in Caddo Parish in northwestern Louisiana.[2]


Norton graduated from the former historically black Booker T. Washington High School in Shreveport. She then completed a legal course at Louisiana State University in Shreveport. She is a retiree from American Telephone and Telegraph.[3]

Political life

In 1994, Norton led the nonpartisan blanket primary for the District F seat on the Shreveport City Council. However, she lost the runoff election to fellow Democrat, James Edward Green, who polled 3,762 votes (51 percent) to Norton's 3,615 (49 percent).[4] She fell short again in a three-candidate primary field for the city council in 1998.[5] The post went instead to another African-American Democrat, Joe Shyne, who unseated the incumbent James Green.[6]

In 2003, Norton ran for the District 3 state House seat but was defeated by 251 votes by her fellow Democrat, Ernest Baylor, Jr. (born October 1949), who polled 3,788 votes (51.7 percent) to her 3,537, (48.3 percent).[7] Four years later, Norton rebounded to claim the seat when Baylor was not a candidate in a low-turnout contest. With 3,901 votes (56.1 percent), she defeated her fellow Democrat, Lindora Lee Baker (born September 1960), who received 2,648 votes (38.1 percent). Another Democrat, Spencer Stephens, held the remaining 403 votes (5.8 percent).[8]

In 2011, with 3,078 votes (44.7 percent), Representative Norton was forced into a runoff election with Lynn Dale Cawthorne (born March 1967), a Democrat who polled 1,850 votes (26.9 percent). In third place was her predecessor, Ernest Baylor, Jr., with 1,548 votes (22.5 percent). Republican and subsequently Independent Anna Marie Arpino (born March 1958) held the remaining 408 ballots (5.9 percent).[9] To score her second term, Norton then defeated Cawthorne in the second round of balloting, 3,240 votes (56.1 percent) to 2,533 (43.9 percent).[10]

Representative Norton served on the Legislative Black Caucus, the Women's Caucus, and the Democratic Caucus. She served on these committees: (1) Administration of Criminal Justice, (2) Municipal, Parochial and Cultural Affairs, (3) Transportation, Highways, and Public Works, and (4) House Committee on Enrollment.[3]

Norton's legislative ratings have ranged from 38 to 67 from the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry. In 2012. the National Federation of Independent Business rated Norton 40 percent. In 2013 and 2014, the conservative Louisiana Family Forum scored her 67 and 20 percent, respectively. In 2009 and 2013, she was rated 67 and 50 percent, respectively, by Louisiana Right to Life. She was rated 100 percent in both 2013 and 2014 by the Louisiana Association of Educators.[11]

In 2014, Norton did not vote on the requirement that abortion providers have hospital admitting privileges near their clinics; only five House members opposed the measure. That same year, she voted to extend the time for implementation of the Common Core State Standards Initiative. She voted to forbid the transportation of dogs in open truck beds on interstate highways. She did not vote on the repeal of state anti-sodomy laws; the measure failed in the House, 27–67.[12]

In 2013, Norton voted to reduce penalties for the possession of marijuana. She did not vote on permanent concealed carry gun permits but in 2014 opposed the use of such permits in restaurants that serve alcohol. She opposed keeping information on concealed carry permits confidential and out of the public record. She voted to increase judicial pay and to end the mandatory retirement age for judges. She co-sponsored an "equal pay" plan for state employees. In 2012, she co-sponsored legislation to provide for parole eligibility for non-violent inmates. She did not vote on the prohibition of the use of telephones while driving but opposed making illegal the holding of hand-held devices while driving. She supported state tax incentives to recruit a National Basketball Association team to Louisiana but opposed state income tax deductions for taxpayers donating to scholarship funds. She opposed reducing the number of hours that polling locations remain open; Louisiana has traditionally had 14-hour polling days.[12]

In 2011, Norton voted for a permanent tax on cigarettes. That year she also supported parole eligibility for elderly inmates and a failed bill which proposed to halt bullying in public schools. She opposed the requirement for drug testing of welfare recipients. She voted against the establishment of a commission to developa plan to abolish the state income tax. She supported the redistricting bill for the state Senate but opposed the plan for the congressional delegation. In 2010, Norton opposed the carrying of handguns into churches; supporters said the measure would enhance security.[12]

In May 2016, Norton received national attention when she announced her opposition to a bill which would require that the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, be taught in Louisiana public schools. She declared the Declaration "racist" because it did not apply to slaves. "For the Declaration of Independence, only Caucasians [were] free. And for you to bring a bill to request that our children will recite the Declaration, I think it's a little bit unfair."[13]

In her biography in Project Vote Smart, Norton, when term-limited in the state House, was said to have run against the incumbent fellow African-American Democrat, Gregory Tarver, for the District 39 seat in the state Senate. However, the Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin's website, Tarver retained his seat by defeating, not Norton, but a Republican, James F. "Jim" Slagle, 69 to 31 percent.[14] Norton's candidacy was disallowed because she lived outside District 39.[15]


  1. Barbara Norton. Retrieved on September 1, 2020.
  2. Membership of the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2024 (Caddo Parish). Louisiana House of Representatives. Retrieved on September 1, 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Barbara Norton. Louisiana House of Representatives. Retrieved on April 26, 2015.
  4. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, November 8, 1994.
  5. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 3, 1998.
  6. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, November 3, 1998.
  7. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 4, 2003.
  8. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 10, 2007.
  9. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 22, 2011.
  10. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, November 19, 2011.
  11. Barbara Norton's Ratings and Endorsements. Project Vote Smart. Retrieved on September 1, 2020.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Barbara Norton's Voting Records. Project Vote Smart. Retrieved on September 1, 2020.
  13. State Rep: Declaration of Independence Is Racist. Fox News. Retrieved on September 1, 2020.
  14. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 12, 2019.
  15. Emily Enfinger (August 16, 2019). Judge disqualifies Rep. Barbara Norton from District 39 Senate race. The Shreveport Times. Retrieved on September 1, 2020.