Julie Stokes

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Julie Skinner Stokes

Louisiana State Representative for District 79 (Jefferson Parish)
In office
March 2013 – January 13, 2020
Preceded by Anthony V. "Tony" Ligi, Jr.
Succeeded by Debbie Villio

Born January 23, 1970
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Larry Steven Stokes
Children Brandon and Taylor Stokes
Alma mater East Jefferson High School

University of New Orleans

Julie Skinner Stokes (born January 23, 1970) is a Certified Public Accountant who is a Republican former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives for District 79 in Kenner in Jefferson Parish in suburban New Orleans, Louisiana. She was an unsuccessful candidate for Louisiana Secretary of State in the special election held on November 6, 2018.

On July 29, 2019, Stokes announced that she would not seek a third term in her position to be more available for her children. "I do not want to miss any of the few years remaining with my children before they leave for college," Stokes said in her announcement of non-candidacy.[1]

Until her diagnosis of breast cancer in 2017, Stokes had been a candidate[2] for state treasurer in the special election held on October 14, 2017, to choose a successor to John Neely Kennedy, who was elected in 2016 to the United States Senate to succeed fellow Republican David Vitter. Stokes underwent chemotherapy and remains a legislator until January 2020.[2] Her legislative colleague, John Schroder, from St. Tammany Parish, won a special election runoff against an African-American Democrat for the right to succeed Kennedy.

On March 2, 2013, Stokes won a special election to succeed fellow Republican Anthony V. "Tony" Ligi, Jr., who resigned to become director of the Jefferson Business Council. On the same day that Stokes was elected to the Louisiana House, Moderate Republican Barry Dee Ivey of Baton Rouge, won a special election in District 65 to choose a successor to the Republican Clifton Russell "Clif" Richardson, who resigned because of health issues. In defeating three fellow Republicans, Stokes received 56 percent of the vote to fill the nearly three years left in Ligi's term. Businessman Jack Rizzuto, a candidate defeated by Ligi in 2007, finished second in the 2013 contest with 31 percent of the ballots cast. Allison Bent Bowler, the chief financial officer at Benjamin Franklin High School in New Orleans held the remaining 9 percent of the vote.[3] No Democrat sought the District 79 House seat.[4]

Background

Stokes is the only child of the former Doris Guerin, a native of the unincorporated city of Metairie in Jefferson Parish, and the late Edward Thomas Skinner.[5] She graduated in 1988 from East Jefferson High School in the unincorporated city of Metairie.[6] In 1992, Stokes received her Bachelor of Science magna cum laude in accounting from the University of New Orleans and immediately passed her CPA exam. From 2000 to 2010, she operated Julie S. Stokes, CPA, but thereafter became the chief financial officer of Stokes & Associates. She also prepares federal and state tax returns.[7] She is in business with her husband, Larry Steven Stokes (born September 30, 1955);[8] the couple has two children, Brandon and Taylor Stokes.[5]

Political career

For ten years, Stokes was a registered Louisiana Democrat.[9]

In her freshman legislative year, Representative Stokes, by then a Republican, was rated 71 percent by the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, a type of statewide Chamber of Commerce, but she was scored 97 percent by that group in 2017.[10] Stokes serves on the Health & Welfare, Labor & Industrial Relations, and Ways & Means committees. In 2013, she voted to increase the pay of state judges. In 2017, she did not vote on the House-passed measure, which was nevertheless blocked in the state Senate, to forbid the removal of Confederate monuments from government locations. Stokes co-sponsored the tax increases on cigarettes in 2016 and voted to hike gasoline taxes in 2017.[11]

Stokes is affiliated with the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, the University of New Orleans Alumni Association, and the Society of Louisiana CPAs. She sat on the Kenner 2030 Economic Development Committee. She chairs the Sales Tax Streamlining & Modernization Commission, which seeks to reform the state's sales tax system. State Tax Notes recognized her nationally as one of a handful of state “Tax Legislators of the Year” because of her work on sales tax reform.[12]

Stokes serves on these House committees: Executive, Ways & Means, Health & Welfare, and the Joint Legislative Committee on Capital Outlay.[13] She is affiliated with the National Conference of State Legislators. She was selected with twenty-four other women for the 2017 Class of "Women in Government Leadership" in Governing Magazine.

In 2015, she received the "Fusion Five Award" from the Louisiana Southwest Chamber as the "best new up-and-coming legislator." The next year, she was named one of four “Women of Distinction” by the Girl Scouts of Louisiana East. In 2003 and 2014, she was one of the "Women of the Year" designated by New Orleans City Business Magazine.[12]

Her other legislative awards include:

  • “Champion of Economic Development” in 2013-2016 by the Louisiana Industrial Development Economic Association.
  • "Liberty Award" and Family Advocate", Louisiana Family Forum, 2014-2016.
  • “Small Business Champion” in 2013 and 2014 by the National Federation of Independent Business.
  • “Legislative All-Star” in 2014 by the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.
  • “Legislator of the Year” for 2014 by the Louisiana Orthopedic Association.
  • "Education Choice Champion" for 2013 and 2014 by the Louisiana Federation for Children.[12]

The conservative radio talk-show host Moon Griffon, based in Lafayette but broadcast statewide, has long characterized Stokes, who also considers herself a conservative,[12] and her fellow lawmaker Barry Ivey and former Representative Chris Broadwater, former Representative Rob Shadoin, among others, as "closeted Democrats" who run as Republicans in districts unfavorable to labeled Democrat but where voters are not informed as to the views of Republican candidates listed on the ballot. Griffon also noted that Stokes contributed to the successful John Bel Edwards gubernatorial campaign in 2015.[14]"Her closeness to John Bel Edwards bothers me to no end." Griffon said.[15]

However, Stokes has voted conservative on several issues important to Republican voters. In 2016, she voted to restrict state support for sanctuary cities which refuse to enforce laws against illegal immigration. In 2017, she co-sponsored the measure that requires a parent to give identification regarding an abortion on a minor child. In 2014, she voted to require abortionists to have local hospital admitting privileges. Since she entered the legislature, she has been rated 100 percent by the Right to Life Committee. Stokes also voted in 2014 to extend the time for implementation of the Common Core school standards program and co-sponsored legislation that year to permit concealed carry of firearms in restaurant serving alcohol.[11] In 2018, Stokes voted to support Governor John Bel Edwards' .45 percent renewal of the temporary one-cent state sales tax. The Edward financial package includes no cuts in state government programs.[16] Griffon said that Stokes sometimes votes against "big government" measures but only if her vote is not necessary for passage of the legislation. He said that she has backed higher taxes from the day she arrived in the legislature.[17]

Race for secretary of state

In March 2018, in remission from cancer,[18] Stokes announced that she would consider running in 2019 for the secretary of state position which Republican Tom Schedler of St. Tammany Parish vacated after allegations of sexual harassment were brought against him by one of his female office employes. Schedler vacated the office on May 8, 2018.[19] On May 16, 2018, Stokes confirmed that she would run for the year remaining in Schedler's term. Her opposition included businessman and former state Sen. Almond Gaston Crowe, Jr. (born 1948), of Pearl River in St. Tammany Parish, who served in both legislative chambers from 2000 to 2016; Republican state Representative Rick Edmonds, a Southern Baptist minister from Baton Rouge (formerly of Shreveport), who pledged a "watchdog" role for the office to guarantee that only qualified voters in Louisiana can cast ballots. Renee Fontenot Free, the official choice of the Louisiana Democratic Executive Committee,[20] as the only member of her party in the race for secretary of state was a favorite to gain a runoff berth. The interim secretary of state, Kyle Ardoin, a Republican, delayed his announcement of candidacy,[21][22] but prevailed in the runoff contest on December 8 with another woman Democrat, Gwen Collins-Greenup, not the previously party-favored Renee Fontenot Free.

References

  1. Faimon Roberts, III (July 29, 2019). Kenner Republican Julie Stokes won't seek reelection to Louisiana House seat. New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved on July 31, 2019.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Julia O'Donoghue (July 6, 2017). Julie Stokes quits Louisiana treasurer race after breast cancer diagnois. The New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved on March 24, 2018.
  3. Lauren McGaughy. Baton Rouge businessman Barry Ivey wins special House election, March 2, 2013. The New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved on March 24, 2018.
  4. Election Returns. Louisiana Secretary of State (March 2, 2013). Retrieved on March 24, 2018.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Obituary of Ruth Elizabeth Hauck Guerin (c. 1922-2012) (maternal grandmother of Julie Stokes). Obits.dignitymemorial.com. Retrieved on March 24, 2018.
  6. Julie Stokes. Intelius.com. Retrieved on March 24, 2018.
  7. Stokes & Associates, Inc.. stokes-associates.com. Retrieved on August 26, 2013.
  8. Larry Stokes: Kenner, Louisiana. Mylife.com. Retrieved on March 24, 2018.
  9. The Moon Griffon Show, November 1, 2018.
  10. Julie Stokes' Ratings and Endorsement. Project Vote Smart. Retrieved on March 24, 2018.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Julie Stokes' Voting Records. Project Vote Smart. Retrieved on March 24, 2018.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Jason Hebert (February 10, 2017). CPA and Conservative State Representative Julie Stokes Announces for State Treasurer Race. Us4.campaign. Retrieved on March 24, 2018.
  13. Louisiana House Member page: Julie Stokes. Louisiana House of Representatives. Retrieved on March 24, 2018.
  14. The Moon Griffon Show, July 6, 2018.
  15. The Moon Griffon Show, August 10, 2018.
  16. The Moon Griffon Show, June 25, 2018.
  17. The Moon Griffon Show, July 26, 2018.
  18. Louisiana Rep. Julie Stokes' breast cancer surgery was 'successful'. The New Orleans Times-Picayune (January 3, 2018). Retrieved on March 24, 2018.
  19. Greg Hilburn. Rep. Julie Stokes, cancer free, eyes secretary of state race. The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved on March 24, 2018.
  20. Greg Hilburn (August 20, 2018). See who Louisiana Democrats pinned their hopes on. The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on August 21, 2018.
  21. Former Louisiana lawmaker enters secretary of state's race. Washington Times (June 27, 2018). Retrieved on July 2, 2018.
  22. Greg Hilburn (July 5, 2018). Secretary of state race: See who's in, who's out. The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved on July 6, 2018.