Fred Mills

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Fred Henry Mills, Jr.


Louisiana State Senator for District 22
Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 24, 2011
Preceded by Troy Hebert

Louisiana State Representative for District 46 (St. Martin Parish
In office
January 14, 2008 – January 24, 2011
Preceded by Sydnie Mae Maraist Durand
Succeeded by Mike "Pete" Huval

Born January 13, 1955
Political party Democrat-turned-Republican (December 2010)
Spouse(s) Deborah K. Mills
Occupation Pharmacist; Banker
Religion Roman Catholic

Fred Henry Mills, Jr. (born January 13, 1955), is a pharmacist and banker from St. Martinville, Louisiana, who is a Republican member of the Louisiana State Senate, having won a special election on January 22, 2011, for the District 22 seat vacated in 2010 by the Independent Troy Hebert of Jeanerette in Iberia Parish. Mills had since 2008 represented District 46 in the Louisiana House of Representatives.[1]

Background

Mills holds a degree in pharmacy from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. He owns Mills Cashway Pharmacy in Parks in St. Martin Parish. He is also the president and chief executive officer ofFarmers-Merchants Bank and Trust Company of Breaux Bridge.[2] Farmers-Merchants,originally established in 1932, also has a branch at 1525 Ambassador Caffery Parkway in Lafayette, Louisiana.[3]

Mills previously served on the St. Martin Parish Council. He and his wife, Deborah K. Mills, reside in St. Martinville but have business interests throughout the parish. He is a Roman Catholic.[1]

As legislator

In the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 20, 2007, the incumbent Democrat representative, Sydnie Mae Maraist Durand, did not seek reelection. In a two-candidate field, Mills, then a Democrat himself, won outright by a wide margin over another Democrat, Marie Etienne of St. Martin Parish, 12,034 (84 percent) to 2,237 (16 percent).[4]

In 2008 and 2009, Mills received a 100 percent rating from the Louisiana Right to Life Federation. He has been rated 69 percent by the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry. The conservative Louisiana Family Forum rated him at 89 percent in 2009.[5]

Mills guided to passage in 2010 legislation to permit pharmacists to administer medication therapy services to patients in Louisiana. The interest group, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, supported the legislation. The bill wassigned on June 25, 2010, by Republican then Governor Bobby Jindal. The measure authorizes the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals to create an MTM pharmacy program.[6]

NACDS president Steven C. Anderson said that the Louisiana measure "illustrates that pharmacist-administered medication therapy management is an important component in helping patients stay healthy and in reducing health-care costs. Pharmacists are uniquelyqualified to offer health screenings and counsel patients about how to take their medications in the right ways to achieve better results. The law will also enable pharmacists to assist patients in managing chronic diseases, such as diabetes."[6]

Party bolt

In 2010, Mills joined several legislative colleagues in switching allegiance from the Democrats to the Republicans.[7] Others who made the switch in December 2010 are Representative Noble Ellington of Winnsboro in Franklin Parish and state Senators John Alario of Westwego in Jefferson Parish, and John R. Smith of Leesville in Vernon Parish.[8]

Mills polled 12,812 votes in the special Senate election, or 60 percent of the total. The runner-up was Simone B. Champagne of Jeanerette, another recent Republican convert andformerly a state representative from IberiaParish, who received 4,040 votes (19 percent). Champagne campaigned as a "Reagan Republican" and had the open support of U.S. Senator David Vitter. Independent David Groner finished third with 2,534 votes (12 percent). The remaining ballots favoredtwo other Republican candidates and a second Independent hopeful. No Democrats ran for the position.[9]

Two Republicans ran in an April 2 special election to fill the nine months remaining in Mills' House term. St. Martin Parish councilman Mike "Pete" Huval defeated St. Martinville city councilman Craig Prosper, 58-42 percent.[10]

Mills the humorist

Mills began writing advertising for his pharmacy in Parks, at first traditional commercials as a pharmacist in his smock counting pills. Then he began the role of a Cajun-accented character in drag called "Taunte Pills." As Mills explains, the Jayceeshad a charity fund-raising "womanless pageant. It was a spoof. We called it 'Le Femme de Mystique.'"[11] Later, responding to the Budweiser frogs commercial, Mills got the idea of having an old woman interactingwith Fred the pharmacist. "Those things took off . . . and we doubled our business with those ads."[11]

Mills held the title of "newest Louisiana state senator" for only a month. Jonathan W. Perry of Kaplan in Vermilion Parish, winner of a special election in District 26 on February 19, 2011,soon filled that billing, and coincidentally, he too is known for his humor, often appearing as a stand-up Cajun comic.[12]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Fred Mills, Jr.. congress.org. Retrieved on December 18, 2010.
  2. Rep. Fred H. Mills, Jr.. house.louisiana.gov. Retrieved on December 18, 2010.
  3. Opening Event Confirms St.Martin Parish Based - FM Bank - Expansion into Lafayette. secured.goldleaf.com. Retrieved on December 18, 2010.
  4. Louisiana primary election returns, October 20, 2007. electionresults.sos.louisiana.gov. Retrieved on December18, 2010.
  5. Rep. Fred H. Mills, Jr. (LA). votesmart.org. Retrieved on December 18, 2010.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "NACDS Lauds Louisiana Medication Therapy Management Law. Pharmacynews.eu (July 15, 2010). Retrieved on December 18, 2010.
  7. Bill Barrow. "St. Martin lawmaker dons GOP garb: Party switch latest in Louisiana trend", The New Orleans Times-Picayune, December 14, 2010. Retrieved on December 14, 2010. 
  8. Ellington considers party switch. The Monroe News-Star (December 9, 2010). Retrieved on December 11, 2010.
  9. Louisiana Senate District 22 special election returns. electionresults.sos.louisiana.gov (January 22, 2011). Retrieved on January 25, 2011.
  10. Two qualify for House seat. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on February 19, 2011.
  11. 11.0 11.1 New stateSen. Fred Mills shows off comical side. The Shreveport Times, February 19, 2011. Retrieved on February 24, 2011.
  12. Rep. Perry, Jonathan (Biography). mobilelegs.com. Retrieved on February19, 2011.