Ernie Alexander

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Ernest Joseph
"Ernie" Alexander, Jr.


Louisiana State Representative
for District 43 (Lafayette Parish)​
In office
2000​ – 2008​
Preceded by Michael John Michot
Succeeded by Patrick Page Cortez

Member of the
Lafayette City-Parish Council​
In office
1996​ – 2000​
Preceded by New position created by Lafayette City-Parish Charter​
Succeeded by Marc F. Mouton​

Born May 13, 1933​
Port Allen

West Baton Rouge Parish
Louisiana, USA

Died January 17, 2012 (aged 78)​
Lafayette, Louisiana​
Resting place St. John Cemetery in Lafayette
Political party Independent-turned Republican (1999)​
Spouse(s) Shirley Champagne Alexander (married 1954-2012, his death)​
Children No children​
Alma mater University of Louisiana at Lafayette​
Occupation Educator; Broadcaster
Businessman
Religion Roman Catholic
Note:
  • With apparent reluctance, Alexander yielded his Lafayette-based seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives to fellow Republican Patrick Page Cortez, a fraternity brother of then state Senator Michael J. Michot. In 2012, Cortez, a Moderate Republican, succeeded Michot in the state Senate. In 2020, Cortez was elevated to the position of Senate President.

Ernest Joseph Alexander, Jr., known as Ernest Alexander (May 3, 1933 – January 17, 2012), was from 2000 to 2008 a Republican state representative for District 43 in Lafayette, Louisiana. Prior to his legislative tenure, Alexander served a four-year term on the newly established Lafayette City-Parish Council. A former educator, Alexander previously co-owned radio stations KMDL and KFTE in Lafayette.[1][2]


Background

​ Alexander was born to Ernest Alexander, Sr., and the former Dolores "De" Cronan (1909-1991) in Port Allen in West Baton Rouge Parish near the capital city of Baton Rouge. His mother is interred at ​Roselawn Memorial Park and Mausoleyum in Baton Rouge.[3] ​ A graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, formerly the University of Southwestern Louisiana, Alexander was a former "Outstanding Teacher in Lafayette Parish" and "Outstanding Speech and Debate Coach." He was a president of the Lafayette Parish Association of Educators and penned A Programmed Guide to Teaching Radio and Television in Lafayette Parish Schools. A past president of Mid-Acadiana Broadcasting Corporation, he was affiliated with the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters. He was inducted into the Louisiana Broadcaster Hall of Fame. He was also once a television weatherman.[1]

A former chairman of the Lafayette Republican Party, Alexander also served on the elected Republican State Central Committee. He held membership in the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, the National Federation of Independent Business, Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, and the Public Affairs Research Council, a nonpartisan "good government" interest group. Alexander was active in the TEA Party movement prior to his death, and the group named the "Ernie Alexander Library" at its Lafayette headquarters in his honor.[1]

For fifty years, Alexander was the radio voice of the Lafayette Kiwanis Football Jamboree. He was a coach and board member of the Lafayette Little League football program for twenty years. He was active in cultural affairs too, including the Lafayette Little Theatre, Acadiana Arts Council, and a past president of the Acadiana Symphony Association.[1]​ ​

Legislative service

Alexander compiled a conservative voting record in the legislature, both socially and economically. He worked to increase the time required for procuring a divorce on the grounds that delay may lead quarreling couples to reconcile. He also fought to bring more better-paying jobs to Louisiana.​ ​ Alexander originally campaigned in support of a two-term limit for legislators. The legislature since passed a three-term limit. Alexander considered seeking a third term but then decided to honor his own stated preference for a two-term limit.​ Even before Alexander announced his retirement, his successor, Moderate Republican Patrick Page Cortez, had already entered the race in the heavily Republican district.[4]

Cortez is a co-owner and operator of La-Z-Boy Furniture and Stoma’s Furniture and Interiors in Lafayette. Cortez outraised Alexander 4-1 for the race before the incumbent decided not to run again. Like Alexander, Cortez is a former teacher and a coach, Cortez had served on the Lafayette Parks and Recreation Commission. He also has name recognition from his television advertising on the Lafayette channels. He is personally close to Republicans former state Senator Michael J. Michot and former State Representative and former parish president Joel Robideaux, both of Lafayette. Michot, however, said that he would have remained neutral in any nonpartisan blanket primary which might have pitted Alexander against Cortez, Michot's fraternity brother,

Also seeking the seat was a second Republican, architect Patrick Lynn "Pat" LeBlanc, another ULL alumnus and the president of LCS Corrections, the fifth largest private prison system in the nation. LeBlanc said that he would not have otherwise challenged Alexander but decided to run when the seat became open.​ Cortez defeated LeBlanc, 7,742 (55 percent) to 6,218 (45 percent), to win the seat outright in the primary.​ Not long after the race, LeBlanc perished in a private plane crash.[5]

In the primary held on October 23, 1999, Alexander faced a fellow Republican, Ross Little, Jr., who since 2004 has been the Louisiana Republican National Committeeman, and the Democrat Ken Bouillion. Alexander led with 7,647 votes (46 percent) to Little's 5,005 (30 percent), and Bouillion's 3,839 (23 percent). In the general election, Alexander defeated Little, 9,109 votes (62 percent) to 5,615 (38 percent).[6]

Alexander was unopposed for reelection in the 2003 primary. That year, he joined more than thirty legislative colleagues in endorsing the unsuccessful gubernatorial candidacy of former House Speaker Huntington Blair "Hunt" Downer, Jr., of Houma in Terrebonne Parish.

In his election to the Lafayette Council, District 7 seat in 1995, Alexander ran as a "No Party" candidate and polled 3,772 votes (59 percent) to defeat two Republican rivals.​

Death

The Roman Catholic Alexander died at his Lafayette residence at the age of seventy-eight.[1]

He was survived by his wife of fifty-seven years, the former Shirley Champagne, and a brother, John Arlen Alexander, and his wife, the former Karen Kimball. Services were held on January 20, 2012, at St. Piux X Catholic Church in Lafayette. Entombent followed at St. John Cemetery. Three former legislators, Ron Gomez, Mert Smiley, and Raymond "La La" Lalonde, served as honorary pallbearers.[1]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Ernest Joseph "Ernie" Alexander, Jr.. The Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved on January 20, 2012.
  2. Ernest Joseph "Ernie" Alexander, Jr.. findagrave.com. Retrieved on July 5, 2020.
  3. Dolores "De" Cronan Alexander. findagrave.com. Retrieved on July 5, 2020.
  4. Alexander's Not Running. Our campaigns.com. Retrieved on July 5, 2020.
  5. LA 82 plane crash; two dead. Abbevillenow.com (March 11, 2008). Retrieved on July 5, 2020.
  6. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns (House District 43), October 23, 1999.

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