John Milkovich

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John Charles Milkovich


Louisiana State Senator for District 38 (Caddo and DeSoto parishes)
In office
January 11, 2016 – January 13, 2020
Preceded by Sherri Smith Cheek Buffington
Succeeded by Barry Milligan

Born May 26, 1957
Roundup
Musselshell County
Montana
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Carola Mamoulides Milkovich

Daughter:
Sarah Michelle Milkovich
Parents:
Mark, Sr., and Lura Pearson Milkovich

Religion Non-denominational Christian

John Charles Milkovich (born May 26, 1957)[1] is an attorney in Shreveport, Louisiana, who is a Democrat former member of the Louisiana State Senate. On January 11, 2016, he succeeded the term-limited District 38 Moderate Republican, Sherri Smith Cheek Buffington, who completed three terms in the chamber, having first been elected in 2003.

Background

A native of rural Roundup in Musselshell County in central Montana, Milkovich is the fourth of six children of Mark Milkovich, Sr. (born 1922), a World War II veteran and a financial analyst, and the former Lura Belle Pearson (1927-2020), an educator turned western artist. Lura's father, Charles Warner Pearson, was also an artist and a friend of the famous western painter Charles Marion Russell (1864-1926). Her mother, John Milkovich's grandmother, Mary Cusick Pearson, was reportedly the first white woman to traverse the Lewis and Clark Caverns and as a court reporter introduced Mike Mansfield to the movers and shakers in Montana when the Democrat was running for U.S. Senator. Although Lura Milkovich, a native of Butte, Montana, studied at the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago, she was mostly self-taught in her paintings, many focused on Native Americans and cowboys.[2]

Young Milkovich worked on cattle ranches and in roofing and painting. He attended the University of Chicago. In 1979, he graduated from the University of Montana and thereafter the Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center in Baton Rouge, at which he worked on The Louisiana Law Review. He claims to have been committed to "working families" for more than a quarter century.[3]

He and his wife, the former Carola Mamoulides (born May 2, 1955), also a lawyer and a former teacher whom he wed in 1985, have a daughter, Sarah Michelle Milkovich (born 1993). The couple resides in Keithville in south Caddo Parish, where Milkovich is an active member of the First Assembly of God Church in Shreveport, since the renamed Shreveport Community Church, under the prominent pastor, Denny Duron. He has worked in both Sunday school and the prison ministry.[4]

Career

As attorney and congressional candidate

In 1994, Milkovich and his wife were the attorneys in the case of James Marvin Monds (born December 1963), a former surgical technician at Barksdale Air Force Base, who won release after serving nearly nine years for the murder in 1985 of Vicki Thomas, who was raped, assaulted, and killed at a parking lot at a Bossier City high school. Monds became the key suspect when his vehicle, a Ford Bronco, was identified as the one at the scene of the murder. Monds testified that he had never met Vicki Thomas and had no knowledge of her death but had cut his hand while working on a flat tire the night of the crime. The Louisiana Supreme Court, which heard the case after the Second Circuit Court of Appeals recused itself, ruled that insufficient evidence - most of what was available was circumstantial nature - existed to continue to incarcerate Monds. He was therefore declared "acquitted" and released.[5] Milkovich accused the presiding judge in the case, Graydon K. Kitchens, Jr., of Minden in Webster Parish and then District Attorney Henry Newton Brown, Jr., of Bossier City, later a circuit court judge (Both Kitchens and Brown have since retired from the bench.), of having engaged in serious legal errors in the case. Milkovich accused Judge Kitchens of trying to block testimony which would have cleared Monds, and he further accused Brown and Monds' former wife, Shea, of plotting the killing of Thomas.[6] The charge against Brown was quickly repudiated by James M. "Jim" Bullers, who succeeded Brown as district attorney of Bossier and Webster parishes: "The theory was and is so ridiculous that it's almost unbelievable. I personally believe that Milkovich is totally obsessed with Henry Brown. I really don't know if he believes it himself."[7]

In 2002, Milkovich was an unsuccessful candidate for Louisiana's 4th congressional district seat. He lost to the then incumbent, Moderate Republican Jim McCrery, 114,649 (72 percent) to 42,340 (26 percent).[8] In 2008, he again ran for Congress but lost the Democratic nomination to then Caddo Parish District Attorney Paul Carmouche. Milkovich finished third in the primary with 21 percent of the ballots cast[9] and was hence eliminated from the runoff contest narrowly won not by Carmouche but by Republican John Fleming, a physician from Minden. The seat is now held by Republican James Michael "Mike" Johnson of Benton in Bossier Parish.

As state senator

Milkovich won the general election for state senator on November 21, 2015, when he defeated the Republican Richard Burford of Stonewall in DeSoto Parish, a departing member of the Louisiana House of Representatives. Milkovich led with 15,665 votes (52.4 percent) to Burford's 14,206 (47.6 percent).[10] In his campaign, Milkovich advocated conservative social and economic views in sharp contrast to his party.[3]

In April 2018, Milkovich obtained state Senate approval, 28–3, of his proposal to ban elective abortionns in Louisiana beyond fifteen weeks of gestation. The state has a ban now on abortion beyond twenty weeks. A similar law in Mississippi was placed on hold by a liberal federal judge. Milkovich called such abortions "torture". Amy Irvin of the New Orleans Abortion Fund called Milkovich's legislation a "cruel and dangerous bill" during testimony before the House Judiciary C Committee.[11] Milkovich called passage of his 15-week measure "a great day for America ... a great day for unborn babies.” Milkovich advocates the overturning of the United States Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade opinion in 1973 which on a 7–2 vote legalized abortion in all states. “We want to have statues in place so that when Roe v. Wade gets overturned, we are in a position to say ‘Look, we are putting abortion clinics out of business in Louisiana,’” Milkovich said.[12]

In June 2018, Milkovich was the only dissenting senator when the body approved, 38-1, a half-cent sales tax on the current temporary law and ending of certain business deductions. Milkovich said that he cast his "nay" vote to call attention to the need for spending cuts. "We introduced budget amendments … to cut more than $290 million of wasteful spending. I voted against the budget, and I voted against three and a half billion dollars in sales taxes over the next seven years," Milkovich explained.[13]

The Democrat Milkovich is a frequent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump. In December 2018, he self-published Robert Mueller: Errand Boy for a New World Order, a critical account of special counsel Robert Mueller, who soon enters his third year in the investigation of Trump for "Russian collusion" in the 2016 presidential election. According to the website promoting Milkovich's book, the work "is really based on the ground breaking research of federal agents, whistleblowers, many people who were in government service — or still are; police officers, veterans, families of 9/11 victims, and some international writers as well."[14]

On April 29, 2019, in a speech on the state Senate floor, the strongly pro-life Milkovich flatly declared that vaccinations are linked to autism. In a speech on the Senate floor, Milkovich recalled that “autism did not exist” when he was growing up in Montana: "Did you know tissue from aborted babies is now used in vaccines. Did you know that vaccines use aluminum, which is shown to be a neurotoxin? Did you know vaccines in America [are] preserved often with mercury, which is beyond neurotoxic?”[15] Dr. Joe Kanter, the assistant state health officer, disputed Milkovich's claim as "a myth." Kanter said that the issue of autism and vaccination has been “incredibly well studied”, and no correlation has been found.[15]

Despite Milkovich's stated conservative positions, statewide radio talk show host Moon Griffon is a critic of the lawmaker, whom he calls "Milquetoast" Milkovich." Griffon claims that Milkovich has voted a directed by Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards.[16]

Defeat in 2019

Milkovich fell short in the October 12 primary with 8,447 votes (26 percent). Republican Barry Milligan unseated Milkovich with 16,266 votes (50 percent). Also in the race was Democrat Katrina Early, an African-American insurance agent, who drew 7,359 votes (23 percent) that would have been crucial to Milkovich's reelection.[17] Senator Milligan is a businessman who was reared in Rayne in Acadia Parish, near Lafayette, before his family moved to Shreveport in 1982.

References

  1. John Milkovich, May 1957. Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved on November 22, 2015.
  2. Lura Milkovikch obituary. The Shreveport Times (January 20, 2020). Retrieved on January 21, 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 John Milkovich. ballotpedia.org. Retrieved on November 22, 2015.
  4. About John Milkovich. johnmilkovichforcongress.com. Retrieved on December 4, 2015.
  5. State of Louisiana v. James M. Monds. leagle.com. Retrieved on June 6, 2017.
  6. Danny Anderson, "Lawyer: Death No Puzzle," Minden Press-Herald, May 5, 1994, pp. 1-2.
  7. Pat Culverhouse, "Bullers rejects theory: nothing new," Minden Press-Herald, May 6, 1994, p. 1.
  8. Election Returns. Louisiana Secretary of State (November 5, 2002). Retrieved on September 20, 2017.
  9. Election Returns. Louisiana Secretary of State (October 4, 2008). Retrieved on September 20, 2017.
  10. Results for Election Date: 11/21/2015. Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved on November 22, 2015.
  11. Greg Hilburn (April 24, 2018). Sen. Milkovich: Abortions beyond 15 weeks 'torture'. The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved on April 26, 2018.
  12. Sen. John Milkovich is ecstatic over possible repeal of Roe v. Wade. WWL Radio in New Orleans (July 16, 2018). Retrieved on July 17, 2018.
  13. Sen. John Milkovich: Why he was the Senate's only no vote [Video]. KEEL Radio. Retrieved on June 4, 2018.
  14. Jeff Beimfohr (February 13, 2019). Louisiana state senator authors book on Mueller investigation. KTBS-TV. Retrieved on February 16, 2019.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Sam Karlin (April 29, 2019). Louisiana senator links vaccines, autism on Senate floor; officials say 'myth' causes measles resurgence. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on April 30, 2019.
  16. The Moon Griffon Show, May 30, 2019.
  17. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 12, 2019.