|William Harold "Billy" Nungesser|
54th Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana
|Assumed office |
January 11, 2016
|Preceded by||Jay Dardenne|
President of Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana
January 2, 2007 – January 5, 2015
|Preceded by||Benny Rousselle|
|Succeeded by||Amos Cormier|
|Born|| January 10, 1959|
New Orleans, Louisiana
|Spouse(s)||Cher Taffarro Nungesser|
|Residence||River Ridge in Lafayette Parish|
William Harold Nungesser, known as Billy Nungesser (born January 10, 1959), is the 54th and current Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana, a position which he has filled since January 11, 2016. In Louisiana, the lieutenant governor does not preside over the state Senate but is instead the chief tourism officer for the ate.
A Moderate Republican, Nungesser was from 2007 to 2015 the president of the Plaquemines Parish Commission in the suburbs of his native New Orleans. In that capacity he worked diligently in hurricane relief. Former Governor Bobby Jindal appointed him to the 20-member Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, a panel named to formulate a master plan for coastal protection. Since leaving the parish presidency in 2015, Nungesser relocated to River Ridge in Lafayette Parish.
Nungesser's parents, William Aicklen "Billy" Nungesser and the former Ruth Amelia Marks (1932-2012), were active in the revitalization of the state Republican Party. The senior Nungesser was the chief of staff to Republican former Governor David C. Treen and later the state GOP chairman, in which capacity he broke with Treen to endorse Pat Buchanan for the 1992 Republican presidential nomination against George Herbert Walker Bush.
In 1991, Nungesser launched his business, General Marine Leasing Company, which began with a $7,500 loan and grew to a $20 million operation.
In 2011, Nungesser while still the Plaquemines Parish president waged an unsuccessful race against sitting Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne, another Moderate Republican and former state senator from Baton Rouge. Dardenne received 504,541 votes (53 percent) to Nungesser's 445,049 (47 percent). Nungesser defeated Dardenne in seventeen parishes, all in south Louisiana. In 2015, Nungesser prevailed in a runoff contest with the African-American Democrat Melvin Lee "Kip" Holden, the then Baton Rouge Mayor-President, 628,864 votes (55.38 percent) to 506,578 (44.62 percent). Democrat John Bel Edwards won the governorship to succeed Jindal in the same contest over the Republican choice, then United States Senator David Vitter, a Republican.
In 2016, Lieutenant Governor Nungesser said that he believes voter fraud by the Democratic Party is still a serious hurdle for Republicans in Louisiana because registered and unregistered voters are bussed to polling cites and merely sign a sheet of paper to have their votes count. His remarks drew a quick rebuke from then Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler, who called the comments "at a minimum uninformed. [He] quite possibly [made] an insult to not only my office, but also our hard-working clerks of court and registrars of voters who are our trusted partners for every election." Schedler who subsequently resigned his position in a sexual harassment scandal. Nungessersaid that his comments referred to a local election in Plaquemines Parish in 2005, not Schedler's operation in Baton Rouge, of which Nungesser had been supportive.
Though he has in the past been considered a conservative, Nungesser in May 2018 came to the defense of Governor John Bel Edwards regarding a tax increase to close a longstanding budget deficit. Nungesser criticized conservative state Representative Blake Miguez of New Iberia, who questioned the comments of the lieutenant governor. Radio talk show shot Moon Griffon criticized Nungesser for coming to Edwards' defense and questioned whether Nungesser is now a Moderate Republican and no longer a conservative. Griffon said that Nungesser's willingness to "reach across the aisle" is troubling.
As of October 18, 2019, Nungesser was the only elected statewide official who did not endorse the Republican gubernatorial candidate, Eddie Rispone. He would not accept phone calls to explain why he did not endorse Rispone, a Baton Rouge businessman. Griffon suggested that Nungesser may have been supporting Governor Edwards, who ultimately won a second term with his 51-49 percent victory over Rispone.
- Nungesser Biography. Crt.state.la.us. Retrieved on April 9, 2018.
- Election Returns. Louisiana Secretary of State (October 22, 2011). Retrieved on April 9, 2018.
- Elizabeth Crisp (July 12, 2016). Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser draws ire of Secretary of State Tom Schedler with statements about voting laws. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on February 6, 2020.
- The Moon Griffon Show, May 30, 2018.
- The Moon Griffon Show, October 18, 2019.