"Buddy" Amoroso, IV
District 8 member of the
Baton Rouge Metro Council
January 1, 2013 – June 30, 2018
|Preceded by||Mike Walker|
|Succeeded by||Denise Waters Amoroso|
|Born|| December 5, 1956|
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
|Died|| June 30, 2018 (aged 61)|
Near St. Francisville
West Feliciana Parish
|Resting place||Resthaven Gardens of Memory in Baton Rouge|
|Spouse(s)||Denise Waters Amoroso (married c. 1981-2018, his death)|
|Children|| Anthony Amoroso, V|
|Alma mater||Broadmoor High School|
Anthony Joseph Amoroso, IV, known as Buddy Amoroso (December 5, 1956 – June 30, 2018), was a businessman in his native Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who at the time of his accidental death in a bicycle collision was serving his second term on the Baton Rouge Metro Council as the representative for District 8 in the southeastern portion of the parish. A Republican, he had been a constant presence on the third floor of City Hall.
Of Italian-American descent, Amoroso was the only son of Anthony "Tony" Amoroso, III (1932-2000), and the former Patricia Hidalgo (born Septemnber 17, 1931). He had four married sisters. He attended Broadmoor High School and graduated from the private Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He worked in his family business, Prime Properties, begun by his father, who was a founding elder of Christian Life Fellowship and also served as an international director of Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship.
Amoroso was active in the Boy Scouts through Trinity Lutheran Church. He was a board member of the East Baton Rouge Airport Commission and the Alcohol Beverage Control Board. He was the chairman of the Baton Rouge Apartment Association and had been president of the Apartment Association of Louisiana. In 2012, he ran unopposed for the Metro Council. When he sought reelection in 2016, he polled 8,489 votes (66 percent) against two Democratic opponents, Antoine Pierce and Wendell Piper. Councilman Amoroso sought to heal political divisions and to seek common-sense solutions to municipal and parish affairs. He worked to create the Smart City Committee to find ways to streamline government and used technology to improve traffic. He supported body cameras for law-enforcement officers. At the time of his passing, he was seeking to develop a comprehensive reform of the Flood Plain Development Code.
In 2015, Amoroso lost by seventy-two votes in a special election to fill the District 62 state legislative seat vacated by Hunter Greene, who resigned to become a family court judge. Amoroso lost to the Moderate Republican Darrell Ourso. The two differed over taxation and the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Ourso vowed to exercise flexibility in approaches to balance the state budget, a position that the anti-tax Amoroso dismissed out of hand. Ourso said that Common Core should be the prerogative of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education; Amoroso favored repealing Common Core in the legislature and the use of state standards and examinations. Ourso did not answer the questionnaire submitted by the conservative Louisiana Family Forum, whereas Amoroso expressed his agreement with that organization. Amoroso lived in the Lake Sherwood Acres neighborhood. In addition to his work on the Metro Council, Amoroso was a founder of the anti-tax advocacy group, Tax Busters. Ourso received 1,958 votes (50.9 percent); Amoroso, 1,886 (49.1 percent). Only 12.5 percent of registered voters came to the polls, according to then Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler. The House seat is now held by Republican Rick Edmonds, a conservative who unseated Ourso in the regular 2015 election. Edmonds, meanwhile, ran unsuccessfully to succeed Schedler as secretary of state.
Death by bicycle crash
Amoroso was killed at the age of sixty-one in a bicycle accident on Louisiana Highway 66 near the intersection with Highway 61 west of St. Francisville in West Feliciana to the north of Baton Rouge. He was in training for a cross-Texas race in August with his bicycling companion, Thomas Clement (born c. 1947), who was seriously injured in the mishap but physically survived. Nicholas Alexander (born May 5, 1997) of Lafayette, driving a Chevy Tahoe, struck both cyclists from the rear. Alexander paid a $17,500 bond and was released from the West Feliciana Parish Detention Center, where he had been held for negligent homicide and negligent injury.
In January 2019, Alexander was fined $200 and sentenced to ninety days in jail upon conviction of reckless operation of a vehicle, a much less serious offense than his earlier arrest for negligent homicide. Amoroso's widow, the former Denise Waters (born August 24, 1957), called the sentencing a "perversion of justice." Alexander was jailed for only twelve days because of credit for time already served.
Buddy and Denise Amoroso, his wife of thirty-seven years, have a son, Anthony, V (born March 20, 1993), and two daughters, Elaine Abigail Swart (born May 17, 1985) (husband Thaddeaus) and Michal Ann Traina (born June 22, 1987) (husband Joshua), and five grandchldren. Private services were held on July 6, 2018, at Christ Presbyterian Church, of which Amoroso was a member and deacon. More than a thousand persons, including Thomas Clement in a wheelchair, attended his wake. Many spoke of Amoroso's keen sense of humor and dedication to purpose. Speakers acknowledged how Amoroso used his personal charm to remain friendly with people regardless of their backgrounds or political views. Many cited him as a rare example of a political leader who refused to make arguments personal and who tried to emphasize that he had a life outside of being an elected official. Mike Walker, Amoroso's predecessor on the Metro council, said that he spoke with Amoroso every week until the tragic accident. "I didn't get to talk with him this week except in my prayers," Walker said.
The Christ Presbyterian pastor, the Reverend Galen Lex Sorey (born November 23, 1949), called Amoroso "a phenomenal public servant. But above all else, he was a servant of God ... when Buddy drew his last breath out there on Highway 66, immediately, he was in the presence of the Lord.” Sorey termed Amoroso's death a triumph because death does not have the final word and that Amoroso is now nestled in the hands of Jesus. Belief in the resurrection, said Sorey, is the only comfort in losing Amoroso. The pastor beckoned the small crowd at the graveside service to respond when he yelled, “Alleluia, Christ is risen.” Amoroso is interred at Resthaven Gardens of Memory in Baton Rouge.
Jeffrey Dennis Sadow, a conservative blogger who teaches political science at Louisiana State University in Shreveport, said that the Amoroso tragedy calls for greater emphasis on bicycle paths and safety. The League of American Bicyclists, notes Sadow, gives Louisiana "good marks when it comes to laws and policies that support bicycling safety. … But while the legal environment promotes safe biking, the state fails to follow through in other ways. Louisiana ranks below average on evaluation and planning and on education and encouragement, and its infrastructure and funding efforts don’t impress the League. Some of the lowest scoring comes in spending, both in use of federal transportation money to create safer biking and willingness to integrate cycling into designing and building." Sadow said too that while "money matters ... altering attitudes best addresses this problem. Simple, inexpensive behavioral change can prevent senseless, needless tragedies like that which befell Amoroso."
Coincidentally, John David Nelson, a member of the city council in Lubbock, Texas, from 1997 to 2002 and the unopposed Republican nominee for a county court judgeship in the November 6 general election, was killed in a bicycle accident on July 18, nineteen days after Amoroso's death, on the Lubbock-Hockley County line while training for a race in Midland, Texas, scheduled for August 25.
His wife succeeds him
Though it is customary in Baton Rouge to offer the council seat to the widow or widower of a deceased member, four of the five Democratic members of the council voiced opposition to Denise Amoroso succeeding her husband in the position. The four favor leaving the seat empty until the special election can be held in March 2019. The council often divides, 7-5, in favor of the Republicans; a vacancy would produced 6-6 split until the seat is filled by election. Parish president Sharon Weston Broome, a Democrat, however, has endorsed Denise Amoroso as the interim successor to her husband.
Nevertheless, despite the emotional opposition, the Metro Council appointed Mrs. Amoroso to fill out her husband's term. Six Republican members and a Democrat, Tara Wicker, voted for the appointment. Three Democrats abstained, and a fourth Democrat, Erika Green, was absent from the proceedings. Mrs. Amoroso is an elementary teacher at Christ Presbyterian School. For reaching across the aisle, some blacks who want the Republican majority on the council replaced, accused Wicker of acting the role of Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus Christ.
On March 30, 2019, in the special election to finish her husband's term, Denise Amoroso handily defeated a Democrat, Brendan Casposs, 2,378 (78 percent) to 677 (22 percent).
- Election Results (East Baton Rouge Parish). Louisiana Secretary of State (November 8, 2016). Retrieved on July 3, 2018.
- Andrea Gallo (July 5, 2018). More than 1,000 honor Buddy Amoroso at wake with tales of his pranks, kindness. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on July 6, 2018.
- Anthony Joseph "Tony" Amoroso, III obituary. Oldfindagrave.com. Retrieved on July 4, 2018.
- Anthony Joseph "Buddy" Amoroso, IV obituary. The Baton Rouge Advocate (July 3, 2018).
- Darrell Ourso wins Louisiana House seat for Southeast Baton Rouge: 72 votes lead to victory over Amoroso. The Baton Rouge Advocate (March 28, 2015). Retrieved on July 9, 2018.
- Election Returns. Louisiana Secretary of State (March 28, 2015). Retrieved on July 9, 2018.
- Mugshot released of Lafayette man accused of hitting, killing EBR Councilman Buddy Amoroso. KLFY.com (July 2, 2018). Retrieved on July 9, 2018.
- Funeral arrangements for Buddy Amoroso; Private services later in week; Public event to be determined. The Baton Rouge Advocate (July 3, 2018). Retrieved on July 5, 2018.
- Grace Toohey and Lea Skene (January 10, 2019). Buddy Amoroso's widow calls driver's 12-day jail sentence for fatal crash a 'perversion of justice'. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on December 12, 2019.
- Andrea Gallo (July 6, 2018). Pastor at Buddy Amoroso's funeral service: 'Above all else, he was a servant of God'. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on July 7, 2018.
- Jeffrey Dennis Sadow (July 7, 2018). Amoroso's death highlights need for needs better bike safety enforcement in Louisiana. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on July 9, 2018.
- Erica Pauda and Matt Dotray (July 18, 2018). Public servant lost: Nelson family, city leaders mourn long-time attorney, judge candidate killed in crash. Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved on July 19, 2018.
- Andrea Gallo (July 10, 2018). Anger, outrage as Baton Rouge Democrats oppose Amoroso's widow -- or anyone -- taking open seat. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on July 11, 2018.
- Andrea Gallo (July 11, 2018). Political miscalculation: Why Baton Rouge Democrats' stance on Amoroso's seat backfired. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on July 12, 2018.
- Andrea Gallo (July 19, 2018). Denis Amoroso takes late husband's Baton Rouge council amid contentious debate. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on July 20, 2018.
- As Baton Rouge city council member is likened to Judas, others say reaching across aisle is essential. The Baton Rouge Advocate (July 20, 2018). Retrieved on July 21, 2018.
- Louisiana Secretary of State, Special election returns: East Baton Rouge Parish, March 30, 2019.