|Gillis James "Gil" Pinac|
Louisiana State Representative
for District 42 (Acadia Parish)
January 1996 – January 14, 2008
|Preceded by||Christopher Charles John |
|Succeeded by||Jack Montoucet|
Member of the Crowley City Council
1987 – 1995
|Born||November 29, 1957|
|Political party||Democrat-turned-Republican (2008)|
|Spouse(s)||Cherie Arceneaux Pinac|
|Children|| Lauren Pinac
|Alma mater||Notre Dame High School|
|Occupation||Hospital administrator |
Gillis James Pinac, known as Gil Pinac (born November 29, 1957), is a former 12-year Democratic state representative for Acadia Parish in south Louisiana. He resides in Crowley, where he formerly served on the city council. In 2008, he switched his affiliation to Republican a week before announcing his candidacy for the Louisiana Public Service Commission]in the special election held on April 4, 2009.
He graduated from the parochial school, Notre Dame High School of Acadia Parish, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business administration from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, then known as the University of Southwestern Louisiana. He procured his Master of Business Administration from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Pinac is married to the former Cherie Arceneaux and is the father of four daughters: Lauren, Andrea, Kelli, and Mary Catherine. The family holds membership at St. Michael's Catholic Church in Crowley.
Prior to his legislative service, Pinac was as a member of the Crowley City Council from 1987 to 1995 and served for a time as mayor pro-tem.
Pinac was first elected to the District 42 seat in the state legislature in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 21, 1995, when he defeated a fellow Democrat, Isabella L. DelaHoussaye (born April 24, 1939) of Crowley, 6,512 (55.9 percent) to 5,148 ballots (44.2 percent). Pinac succeeded Representative Christopher Charles John of Crowley, who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 1995. In 1996, John was elected to the United States House of Representatives for the since disbanded 7th congressional district.
In the Louisiana House, Pinac was the chairman of the Commerce Committee. He maintained a pro-life voting record but was otherwise not conservative. In other legislative votes, Pinac opposed (1) human cloning, (2) the restoration of mortgage interest deductions for Louisiana state income taxes, and (3) placing constitutional limits on state spending. He supported (1) more slot machines at horse racing tracks, (2) permitting public officials to be employed by casinos, (3) allowing bars to be located near churches, and (4) tuition tax deductions for private schools.
Pinac ran unopposed for his second and third terms in the state House in 1999 and 2003.
State Senate election defeat
Limited to three terms in the state House, Pinac instead ran as a Democrat in the primary held on October 20, 2007, for the District 25 seat in the state Senate seat vacated by another Democrat-turned-Republican, Gerald J. Theunissen of Jennings in Jefferson Davis Parish. In that same election, he was a strong backer of the Democrat Robert Fulton "Bob" Odom, Jr. (1935-2014), who was eliminated from another term as state commissioner of agriculture and forestry. Pinac led in the primary with 13,437 votes (38.5 percent) and went into the general election with Republican Dan "Blade" Morrish of Jennings, who had trailed in the first round of balloting with 11,145 (32 percent). A third candidate, Republican Mark Abraham, the president of the Lake Charles Port Authority, a member of the Lake Charles City Council from 1989 to 1992, and a former LSU football star. ran third with a crucial 10,294 votes (29.5 percent) In the November 17 general election, with a much lower turnout, Morrish prevailed with 11,186 (53.9 percent) to Pinac's 9,556 (46 percent).
After his failure to win the state Senate seat, Pinac switched parties just prior to announcing that he would run for the PSC. Isabella delaHoussaye also switched to Republican affiliation and ran for the House seat again in 2007, but she was defeated by the Democrat Jack Montoucet, 57 to 43 percent.
Seeking seat on Public Service Commission
Holloway led narrowly in the initial balloting with 32,258 votes (43.50 percent) to Democrat former state Senator Joe McPherson of Woodworth, also in Rapides Parish, who received 31,610 votes (42.63 percent). Pinac trailed with 10,280 ballots (13.86 percent), but he won his home parish of Acadia and polled four votes more than Holloway and McPherson, who tied with 120 votes each, in the small in population Cameron Parish on the Gulf of Mexico. McPherson's greatest strength was in Calcasieu Parish (Lake Charles), where he led 11,178 (50.40 percent) to Holloway's 7,873 (35.50 percent), and Pinac's 3,127 (14.10 percent). Holloway's total in Calcasieu was also his single largest parish total. The home of both runoff candidates, Rapides Parish, in a low turnout cast 6,527 ballots for Holloway, 5,327 for McPherson, and 791 for Pinac.
In the PSC special election, Pinac sought to succeed the Democrat Dale Sittig of Eunice on the PSC, who served from 1995 to 2008, when he resigned to accept the directorship of the Louisiana Offshore Port Authority, known by the acronym LOOP. Sittig is also a former member of the Louisiana House from neighboring District 41. A runoff election for the PSC seat was cancelled, when Democrat Joe McPherson, who lost to Sittig in a previous special election in 1995, withdrew from the race. McPherson was reelected in his District 29 Senate seat in 2007 with 69 percent of the vote in the primary against another Democrat.
Holloway won the 2009 PSC race automatically without the need for a runoff contest. He died in office in 2016.
In his statement of PSC candidacy, Pinac promised to "fight to get more power to you, the Louisiana consumer. I will take a common sense approach while working to keep electric rates fair, encourage the development of new sources of reliable, affordable, clean energy, and demand the safe and quick return of power to our homes and businesses after disasters strike our state. Our day-to-day lives are affected every time we flip that electrical switch, and in these difficult economic times, we should get what we pay for: safe, reliable, and reasonably-priced electricity and other utilities."
In addition to Acadia, the PSC district includes all or part of seventeen parishes: Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Catahoula (part), Evangeline]], Grant, Jefferson Davis, La Salle, Pointe Coupee, Rapides, St. Landry, St. Martin Parish, Vermilion, and Vernon parishes. The PSC has jurisdiction over publicly owned utilities providing electric, water, waste water, natural gas, and telecommunication services in addition to all the electric cooperatives in Louisiana. The PSC also regulates intrastate transportation, including passenger carrier services, waste haulers, household goods carriers, non-consensual towing, and intrastate pipelines.
- "Louisiana: Gil Pinac", Who's Who in American Politics, 2007-2008 (Marquis Who's Who: New Providence, New Jersey, 2007), p. 668.
- "Gil Pinac in race for PSC seat," The Alexandria Town Talk, accessed December 24, 2008.
- Pin Market Enterprises. pinmarkenterprises.com. Retrieved on December 24, 2008; no longer on-line.
- Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 21, 1995.
- Lay Catholics Dedicated to Proclaiming the Truth. Brown Pelican Society. Retrieved on December 24, 2008; no longer on-line.
- Louisiana Voter Guide, 2007. louisianavoterguide.com. Retrieved on December 24, 2008; no longer on-line.
- Mark Abraham for Louisiana Senate, District 25. louisianaconservative.com. Retrieved on December 27, 2008; no longer on-line.
- Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 20, 2007.
- Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, November 17, 2007.
- Robert Morgan, "Holloway, McPherson go into May PSC runoff," The Alexandria Town Talk, April 5, 2009.
- Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, April 4, 2009.
- John McGinnis. Gil Pinac. lapolitics.com. Retrieved on December 24, 2008; no longer on-line.
- Nick Bouterie, "Can a Democrat Become a True Republican," accessed December 24, 2008