|John A. Alario, Jr.|
President of the Louisiana State Senate
January 9, 2012 – January 13, 2020
|Preceded by||Joel Chaisson|
|Succeeded by||Page Cortez|
Louisiana State Senator for District 8 (Jefferson Parish)
January 2008 – January 13, 2020
|Preceded by||J. Christopher Ullo|
|Succeeded by||Patrick Connick|
Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives
January 1992 – January 1996
|Preceded by||Jimmy Dimos|
|Succeeded by||Huntington Blair "Hunt" Downer|
January 1984 – January 1988
|Preceded by||John Joseph Hainkel, Jr.|
|Succeeded by||Jimmy Dimos|
Louisiana State Representative for District 83 (Jefferson Parish)
May 1972 – January 2008
|Succeeded by||Robert Billiot|
|Born|| September 15, 1943|
Place of birth missing
|Political party||Democrat-turned-Republican (2010)|
|Spouse(s)||Alba Williamson Alario|
|Children|| John W., Jan M., Christopher Brian, and Kevin George Alario|
|Residence||Westwego, Jefferson Parish|
John A. Alario, Jr. (born September 15, 1943), is a former president of the Louisiana State Senate. A three-term state senator from Westwego in Jefferson Parish in suburban New Orleans, Alario from 1972 to 2008 was a member of the state House of Representatives and was twice the House Speaker. His successor as Senate president is Page Cortez of Lafayette, who carried the support of all Republicans in the state Senate.
Along with Mallory Horne of Florida, John Hainkel of Louisiana, and Libby Mitchell of Maine, Alario is one of only four persons who previously held both of the top state legislative offices, House Speaker, and Senate President in their states.
Alario was born to John A. Alario, Sr., and the former Elsie Lombas. In 1961, he graduated from West Jefferson High School. In 1965, Alario obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond. From 1965 to 1966, he taught in the Jefferson Parish public schools. In 1966, he began work as an accountant. By 1972, when he began his legislative career, he had launched his own tax consulting firm, John A. Alario, Jr. Income Tax Service. He is a member of the National Society of Public Accountants. In 1973, he became a delegate for the Louisiana Constitutional Convention. From 1979 to 1985, he was chairman of the Louisiana Exposition Authority.
Alario is a member of the Roman Catholic men's organization, the Knights of Columbus. He is also affiliated with the Louisiana Epilepsy Association, Louisiana International Deep Water Gulf Transfer Terminal Authority and the Westwego Volunteer Fire Department. He was a delegate to the 1972, 1996, and 2000 Democratic National Conventions. He is a recipient of the Hale Boggs Memorial Award, named for the late Democrat U.S. Representative Hale Boggs, who represented Louisiana's 2nd congressional district.
Alario and his wife, the former Alba Williamson, have four children, John W., Jan M., Christopher Brian, and Kevin George Alario.
As state representative
In the state House, Alario was the chairman of the Appropriations, House Executive, and Ways and Means committees. He also served as chairman to the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget and the Joint Legislative Committee on Capital Outlay. He was a member of the House Commerce, House and Governmental Affairs, Legislative Budgetary Control, Municipal, Parochial, and Cultural Affairs, Natural Resources, Judiciary B, and Judicial committees.
He was selected by Governor Edwin Edwards as House Speaker twice, from 1984 to 1988 and from 1992 to 1996. As the House Speaker, Alario was described by a colleague, Ron Gomez of Lafayette, as "a master of adding just the right degree of levity to defuse almost any potentially explosive situation." In 1986, Alario removed Representative Kevin P. Reilly, Sr., of Baton Rouge from the chairmanship of the House Appropriations Committee after thirteen years of service when Reilly, an unsuccessful candidate for state treasurer the following year, criticized Governor Edwards.
With the election of Buddy Roemer as governor, Alario was replaced as Speaker by Jimmy Dimos of Monroe. Ron Gomez explained that Alario and Senate President Sammy Nunez of Chalmette in St. Bernard Parish nevertheless attempted to maintain their leadership posts. He explained: "Alario immediately had the backing of organized labor, the black caucus, many member from the New Orleans and Jefferson Parish delegations and a healthy number of other House members whom he had helped and to whom he had ingratiated himself over the years."
Overall, Alario served nine terms in the House of Representatives before being term limited from the body in the 2007 elections.
In the state Senate
Alario began his first term as Senator in 2008, with service on the Finance and Commerce committees. On October 25, 2011, Republican Governor Bobby Jindal endorsed Alario for the position of President of the Senate. This came one year after he switched parties from Democrat to Republican and despite previous GOP hostility toward Alario. Ultimately, only one of the thirty-nine senators, then incoming Republican Barrow Peacock of Shreveport, voted in 2008 against the Alario selection, but Peacock subsequently became a supporter of Alario as Senate president. Jindal had backed Peacock's Republican rival, term-limited state Representative Jane H. Smith of Bossier City, in the general election for the Senate District 37 seat held on November 19, 2011.
Alario subsequently supported 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, term-limited in 2019, 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.
In 2018, Alario used parliamentary maneuvers in the Senate to block passage of legislation by Republican 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 sells 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.
Moon Griffon, the statewide radio talk show host based in Lafayette, has long criticiized Alario and what Griffon sees as the Senate President's liberal policies. Alario could not seek a fourth Senate term in the nonpartisan blanket primary to be held on October 12, 2019. He is not seeking to return to the state House of Representatives, as is his ally, Democratic state Senator Francis C. Thompson of Delhi in Richland Parish, who faces no opposition in his switching from the Senate to the House, in which Thompson had previously served.
Alario will be succeeded in the state Senate by another Republican, Patrick Connick of Harvey in Jefferson Parish, who had no opponent in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 12, 2019. Connick practices law in Marrero and is the departing state representative for House District 84.
- John A. Alario, Sr., The Man Behind The Name 1924--1985. Alariocenter.com. Retrieved on September 15, 2013; no longer on-line..
- Senator John Alario, Jr.'s Biography. Retrieved on September 15, 2013.
- Senator John A. Alario-District 8. Louisiana State Senate Biography. Louisiana State Senate. Retrieved on September 15, 2013.
- "Louisiana: Alario, John, Who's Who in American Politics, 2007-2008 (Marquis Who's Who: New Providence, New Jersey, 2007), p. 648.
- Ron Gomez, My Name Is Ron And I'm a Recovering Legislator: Memoirs of a Louisiana State Representative, Lafayette, Louisiana: Zemog Publishing, 2000, ISBN 0-9700156-0-7, pp. 59-70.
- Gomez, p. 162.
- Ron Gomez, p. 188.
- Ed Anderson (October 25, 2011). Gov. Bobby Jindal endorses Sen. John Alario as his choice for Senate president. The New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved on October 26, 2011.
- John Maginnis (January 23, 2012). Standing Up to Jindal. Businessreport.com. Retrieved on January 31, 2012; no longer on-line..
- 4th time is the charm -- Peacock defeats Jindal-backed candidate for Senate seat. Politicsla.com. Retrieved on January 31, 2012; no longer on-line..
- 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.