John Alario

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John A. Alario, Jr.

President of the Louisiana State Senate
Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 9, 2012
Preceded by Joel Chaisson

Louisiana State Senator for District 8 (Jefferson Parish)
In office
January 2008 – January 2020 (pending)
Preceded by J. Christopher Ullo

Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives
In office
January 1992 – January 1996
Preceded by Jimmy Dimos
Succeeded by Huntington Blair "Hunt" Downer
In office
January 1984 – January 1988
Preceded by John Joseph Hainkel, Jr.
Succeeded by Jimmy Dimos

Louisiana State Representative for District 83 (Jefferson Parish)
In office
May 1972 – January 2008
Succeeded by Robert Billiot

Born September 15, 1943
Political party Democrat-turned-Republican (2010)
Spouse(s) Alba Williamson Alario
Children John W., Jan M., Christopher Brian, and Kevin George Alario

Parents:
John, Sr., and Elsie Lombas Alario

Residence Westwego, Jefferson Parish
Occupation Businessman
Religion Roman Catholic

John A. Alario Jr. (born September 15, 1943), is the currently-serving President of the Louisiana State Senate; his term of office ends in January 2020, and he is term-limited in his District 8 seat in the Senate representing Jefferson Parish in suburban New Orleans. A legislator since 1972, when his mentor Edwin Edwards became the governor, Alario was a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1972 to 2008. He was twice the Speaker of the House in the third and fourth non-consecutive terms of the Edwards administration. In 2007, term-limited in the House, was instead elected to the state Senate. Alario is only the second person in Louisiana and the fourth in United States history to have been elected as both Speaker of his state House and President of his state Senate.[1][2]

A long-term Democrat, Alario switched parties solely to gain the endorsement of then Governor Bobby Jindal, a Republican. He won the support of all but one of the senators, then freshman Barrow Peacock of Shreveport. In Louisiana, the governor until 2016 had traditionally tapped his own choice for both House Speaker and Senate President. Alario has been supportive of the current Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards, who in 2018 obtained a sales tax renewal to close a potential budget deficit despite nominally Republican majorities in both legislative chambers. The Republican House Speaker, Taylor Barras of New Iberia, opposed much of the John Bel Edwards tax package until the end of the seventh special session, when he agreed to keeping .45 percent of the temporary one-cent state sales tax. The total Louisiana state sales tax is effectively 4.45 percent; this does not include local and parish sales taxes.

An accountant who operates a tax service, Alario resides in Westwego in Jefferson Parish. He is a member of the Roman Catholic Knights of Columbus men's organization, the Louisiana Epilepsy Association, and the Louisiana International Deep Water Gulf Transfer Terminal Authority. He was a delegate at the 1972 Democratic National Convention, which met in Miami Beach, Florida, to nominate U.S. Senator George McGovern of South Dakota, who was then roundly defeated by the Republican U.S. President Richard M. Nixon. In 1996 and 2000, Alario attended the Democratic conventions which nominated the Bill Clinton-Al Gore and Gore-Joseph Lieberman tickets. He is a recipient of the Hale Boggs Memorial Award, named for the late Democrat U.S. Representative for Louisiana's 2nd congressional district.[3]

In 2018, Alario used parliamentary maneuvers in the Senate to block passage of legislation by Representative Tanner Magee of Houma in Terrebonne Parish to permit Uber to operate in the state. The Baton Rouge Advocate reported that Alario's intransigence on the matter is related to his friendship with Democratic former state Senator Francis Heitmeier of New Orleans, who makes a living selling insurance to cab companies, which oppose the legislation. Magee said that his bill could easily have cleared the legislature except for "one really important person who's just not on board," a reference to Alario, whose name Magee specifically declined to use.[4]

References

  1. Mallory Horne of Florida, John Hainkel, Jr., of Louisiana, and Libby Mitchell of Maine were the three persons who previously held both of the top state legislative offices.
  2. Legislators who have served as Speaker and top Senate leader. Ncsi.typepad.com. Retrieved on June 23, 2018.
  3. "Louisiana: Alario, John", Who's Who in American Politics, 2007-2008 (Marquis Who's Who: New Providence, New Jersey, 2007), p. 648.
  4. Rebekah Allen (August 23, 2018). This Louisiana politician sank ride-sharing bill; his close pal sells insurance to cabs. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on August 23, 2018.