E. Clark Gaudin

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Edward Clark Gaudin​


Louisiana State Representative for
District 69 (East Baton Rouge Parish)​
In office
1967​ – 1968​
Preceded by Luther F. Cole​
Succeeded by Lillian W. Walker​
In office
1972​ – 1992 ​
Preceded by Lillian W. Walker​
Succeeded by Chuck McMains

Born December 26, 1931​
New Roads

Pointe Coupee Parish
Louisiana, USA​
Resident of Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Died March 19, 2020 (aged 88)
Baton Rouge, Louisianau
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) (1) Marianne Hurst Gaudin (died 1992)​

(2) Shirley Armetta Gaudin (married 1994-2020, his death)

Children Allison M. Ashy

Dana Angelle Gaudin​
Todd E. Gaudin
Parents:
Alton Francis and Vida Swindler Gaudin

Alma mater St. Joseph's Academy (New Roads)

Louisiana State University
​ LSU Law Center​

Occupation Attorney
Religion Roman Catholic

Edward Clark Gaudin, known as E. Clark Gaudin (December 26, 1931 – March 19, 2020), was an attorney in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who served for twenty-one years as a state representative (1967-1968; 1972–1992). He was the first Republican to represent East Baton Rouge Parish in the 20th century.[1]

Background

Gaudin (pronounced GO DAN) was the younger of two children born in New Roads in Pointe Coupee Parish (pronounced COO PEE), a heavily Democratic part of the state, to Alton Francis Gaudin and the former Vida Swindler, who was reared in Ventress, also in Pointe Coupee Parish. Gaudin's older sister, June Gaudin Allor, died in 2010. As a youth, Gaudin delivered pressed shirts and clothing for his father's Riverside Cleaners in New Roads.[1]

Gaudin graduated in 1948 from the parochial St. Joseph's Academy in New Roads. He then received his bachelor's degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in 1952. Thereafter, he entered the United States Army as a second lieutenant on an ROTC commission. He left the service in 1954 as a first lieutenant but remained a major in the Army Reserve for another decade thereafter. Gaudin graduated from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at LSU with a Juris Doctorate in 1958.[1]

Legislative service

​ Gaudin won a 1967 special election created by the resignation of Democratic lawmaker Luther F. Cole, who became a judge. He defeated Democrat Richard E. Cheek, 9,856 votes (50.3 percent) to 9,730 (49.7 percent) in a special election for the one-year unexpired term. In his first year in the legislature, Gaudin served with three other Republicans, Morley Hudson and Taylor W. O'Hearn (1907-1997), both of Shreveport and Roderick Miller of Lafayette, all of whom are deceased. Gaudin was defeated for a four-year term in 1968, with Richard Cheek claiming victory after defeat the previous year. O'Hearn was also defeated; Hudson did not seek reelection, and Miller lost in a bid for the Louisiana State Senate. Gaudin rebounded in 1972 to win the first of five consecutive terms. From 1970 to 1972, there was only one Republican in the 105-member Louisiana House, the New Orleans attorney James Sutterfield, who won a special election to fill the vacancy created by the election of Nat G. Kiefer to the state Senate.​

In 1972, Gaudin benefited from the presence of Republican gubernatorial candidate David C. Treen, a Baton Rouge native then residing in Jefferson Parish in suburban New Orleans. Gaudin unseated the Democrat Lillian W. Walker (1923-2016), 6,949 (51 percent) to 6,645 (49 percent). Thereafter, Gaudin won comparatively easy victories to hold his seat. When Gaudin was reelected in 1975 in the first ever nonpartisan blanket primary in Louisiana. He had only four incoming Republican colleagues, and one of those, Abel John "A. J." McNamara (1936-2014) of Jefferson Parish, had been elected as a Democrat but switched affiliation in 1977.​

In his last election for the District 69 seat, which then encompassed the Jefferson Street area and Tara subdivision, in 1987, Gaudin polled 48 percent in the primary and was forced into a general election (often called the "runoff" in Louisiana) with the Democrat Marilyn Barfield. He then won by a comfortable margin, 7,370 (58 percent) to 5,441 (42 percent).[2] Gaudin did not run again in the 1991 primary, but his seat remained in Republican hands with the general election victory of Chuck McMains,[3] who later left the legislature and ran unsuccessfully for the United States Senate in the 1996 primary. District 69 was dismembered by the legislature after Gaudin announced that he would not seek reelection. A portion of the base of the district was moved into District 68.​

Gaudin worked to eliminate the Louisiana Milk Commission, which lawmakers eventually concluded kept milk prices in the state artificially high and forbade out-of-state companies from selling within Louisiana.

Despite his success in legislative races, Gaudin narrowly failed in a bid for a judgeship of the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge. In an election held on December 8, 1990, Gaudin received 16,944 votes (48.7 percent) compared to his Democrat opponent, Linda Holliday, who finished successfully with 17,857 votes (51.3 percent).[4]​ ​Gaudin retained an interest in Republican politics after he left the legislature. He was a delegate to the 1996 Republican National Convention held in San Diego, California,[5] which nominated the ticket of Bob Dole and Jack Kemp. The Dole-Kemp combination, however, lost Louisiana's then nine electoral votes (now eight electoral votes) in the fall campaign to Democrats Bill Clinton and Al Gore.

Medical marijuana bill

In his last legislative session, Gaudin attempted to revive Louisiana's medical marijuana law.[6]

Right-to-work legislation

Gaudin was among a handful of Louisiana legislators who supported a state right-to-work law in his 1967-1968 term. By 1976, after his reelection, the legislature passed right-to-work on the theory that it would encourage economic growth by allowing workers the choice of whether they should join a union. Gaudin accused opponents of the legislation of taking cues from labor officials such as the popular AFL-CIO president Victor Bussie of Baton Rouge.[7]Louisiana was the last traditional southern state to adopt such legislation. In gaining passage, Gaudin worked with Representative Bruce Lynn, a fellow Republican and a banker from northern Caddo Parish. Lynn was elected to succeed another right-to-work supporter, Democrat (later Republican) Jimmy Wilson of Vivian. Other leading right-to-work advocates were Representative R. Harmon Drew, Sr., of Minden and John Joseph Hainkel of New Orleans.

Death and legacy

Gaudin died in Baton Rouge. His obituary sums up his life, accordingly:

If you're older than 40 and know something about Louisiana politics, you may know about Edward Clark Gaudin, who entered eternal life on Thursday, March 19, 2020. This eighty-eight year old man, "Clark," "E. Clark," "Clarky," "Mr. G," "Dad," or "Pops," will be remembered for … never missing Sunday Mass; tasting everything at least once, even if you don't want it; always voting, and when you vote, always vote Republican. He was a principled man, for sure, and it's one of his remarkable attributes. … He served Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church for more than fifty years as parent, lector, usher, and eucharistic minister. He joined Kiwanis and was a captain of a Manresa Retreat House weekend. He will be remembered for his snazzy suits, sweet cologne, and love of figurines.

Nevertheless, politics was his passion. He won six ... legislative election contests. Clark was staunchly pro-life, pro-family, pro-small government and opposed amending Louisiana's unique forced heirship rules. He attended many Republican National Conventions, loved President Ronald Reagan, and retained an avid interest in Republican politics until his death.[1]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Edward Gaudin obituary. The Baton Rouge Advocate (March 23, 2020). Retrieved on March 24, 2020.
  2. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, November 21, 1987.
  3. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, November 16, 1991.
  4. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, December 8, 1990.
  5. GOP delegates for Louisiana. All Politics: 1996 convention. CNN. Retrieved on October 21, 2019.
  6. The Best Medicine?. Gambit Weekly via Marijuana Policy Project (November 5, 2002). Retrieved on March 24, 2020. “In 1991, another lawmaker took a stab at reviving Louisiana's medical-marijuana law. Rep. Clark Gaudin, R-Baton Rouge, introduced the bill after a young man rolled into Gaudin's office in his wheelchair to talk to the lawmaker about his reliance on pot.”
  7. Minden Press-Herald, May 14, 1976, p. 1.

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