Mike Cross (Louisiana politician)

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Michael Aduron "Mike" Cross​

Louisiana State Senator for
District 13 (East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, and Livingston parishes)​
In office
1981​ – 1996​
Preceded by Gaston Gerald​
Succeeded by Mike Branch​

Mayor of Baker
East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana​
In office
1976​ – 1981​
Preceded by Pete Heine
Succeeded by Pete Heine​

Member of the Baker City Council​
In office
1972​ – 1976​

Born September 8, 1944​
Baker, Louisiana
Died Baker, Louisiana​
Resting place Inurnment​
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) (1) Peggy Cross (divorced)​

Kristie Pospisil Cross (surviving widow)​

Children Shane Michael Cross​

Clifton L. Cross
​ Ryan Michael Cross
​ Matthew Aaron Cross
​ Christen Joanna Cross
​ Lauren Adrianne Cross​
Parents:
Aduron B. and Margie "Lulalee" McCulloch Cross​

Alma mater Baker High School

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Occupation Marketing consultant; lobbyist

Michael Aduron Cross, known as Mike Cross (September 8, 1944 – November 18, 2013),[1] was an American businessman and lobbyist who served from 1981 to 1996 as a Democratic member of the Louisiana State Senate for District 13 [East Feliciana, East Baton Rouge, and Livingston parishes in Greater Baton Rouge, Louisiana.[2] Prior to his legislative service, Cross was from 1976 to 1981 the mayor of his native Baker in suburban East Baton Rouge Parish. After his senatorial service ended, Cross was a lobbyist for CLECO Electric and the Louisiana Municipal Association. ​ ​

Background

Cross was a son of Audron B. Cross and the former Lulalee McCulloch. From two marriages, he had four sons, Shane Michael Cross, Clifton Lance Cross, Ryan Michael Cross, and Matthew Aaron Cross, and two daughters, Lauren Adrianne Cross and Christen Joanna Cross. His widow is the former Kristie Pospisil, his second wife. He graduated in 1962 from Baker High School and attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, then known as the University of Southwestern Louisiana.[1]He was employed in the chemical industry before he entered politics and lobbying.[3] ​ ​

Political life

From 1972 to 1976, Cross served on the Baker City Council.[1] In 1976, he was elected mayor of Baker. The incumbent Pete Heine, a fellow Democrat, vacated the position to run unsuccessfully against Baton Rouge Mayor-President Woodrow Wilson Dumas. Cross won again as mayor of Baker in 1980 but stepped down the next year to enter the state Senate. Heine then succeeded Cross as mayor and served until 1992.[4] On October 1, 1988, Cross ran third in a race for the mayor-presidency of East Baton Rouge Parish. Tom Ed McHugh won the position in a general election runoff against W. W. Dumas, who was attempting a comeback for a fifth term at the age of seventy-two.[5]

Cross won a special election in 1981 upon the expulsion from office of state Senator Gaston Gerald of Greenwell Springs, who was convicted of the extortion of $25,000 from a contractor.[6] Gerald, in his third consecutive Senate term, continued to draw legislative pay when he was imprisoned in a federal installation in Texas. The Senate finally voted 33-3 to expel Gerald.[7]

In 1990, Cross had pushed to passage a bill to ban abortion in cases of rape and incest and impose fines of up to $100,000 and ten years imprisonment on the practitioners, but Governor Buddy Roemer declared the legislation incompatible with the United States Supreme Court opinion, Roe v. Wade. His veto[8] alienated large numbers of his socially conservative electoral base. The legislature subsequently overrode Roemer's veto with an even larger margin than in the original bill – another slap at Roemer. State Representative Woody Jenkins of Baton Rouge, one of the leading abortion foes in the legislature, said the prohibition regarding rape and incest is needed to prevent women from filing false claims in such matters. State Senator Sydney B. Nelson of Shreveport voiced opposition to the abortion ban championed by Cross because of what he called the problems of unwanted children and defective births.[9] Nevertheless, in 1991, United States District Judge Adrian Guy Duplantier, Sr. (1929-2007) of New Orleans, a former state senator, ruled that the measure was in conflict with Roe v. Wade.[10]Political consultant Roy Fletcher said that Cross still spoke about his opposition to abortion during their last conversation. "He was very, very proud of that," Fletcher said.[3]

Cross authored in 1990 a revised anti-narcotics law to add anabolic steroids to a list of illegal substances.[11] State legislators did not specify penalties for possessing the drugs covered by the law, including opium, methamphetamine, morphine, and codeine. Cross described the failure to include penalties to be an "editing mistake" that the legislature could quickly correct. Police enforced the law pending the clarification on the premise that penalties were implied in the wording.[11]

Cross won election outright in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 24, 1987, with 59 percent of the ballots over another Democrat and two Republican challengers.[12] In 1991, Cross was forced into a runoff with Pete Heine, Cross' predecessor and successor as mayor of Baker. Cross led with 19,650 votes (45 percent) to Heine's 13,808. (31.8 percent). Two other Democratic candidates shared the remaining 23 percent.[13] In the second round of balloting, Cross prevailed, 28,234 votes (57.8 percent) to Heine's 20,813 (42.4 percent).[14]

Cross held the Senate seat for fifteen years until his defeat in 1995 by the Republican Mike Branch, then of Livingston Parish. Cross' defeat by Branch is believed to have been a result of Cross' refusal to switch to the GOP in a Republican-leaning district. In the primary election held on October 21, 1995, Branch polled 23,002 votes (53.5 percent) to Cross' 20,002 (46.5 percent), an exactly 3,000-vote margin. Branch's victory was dependent on a 4,000-vote plurality in East Baton Rouge Parish, for he trailed in East Feliciana and Livingston parishes.[15] Branch was the first Republican to hold the District 13 seat, but he left the Senate after a single term.

Cross died of lung cancer it the age of sixty-nine while under hospice care at his home in Baker.[1][3]​ ​

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Michael A. "Mike" Cross. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on November 19, 2013.
  2. Membership of the Louisiana State Senate, 1812-Present. Louisiana State Senate. Retrieved on November 16, 2009.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Former Baker mayor, state Sen. Mike Cross dies. The Baton Rouge Advocate (November 19, 2013). Retrieved on January 17, 2015.
  4. Information verified by Kathleen Stephens, City of Baker, Louisiana: kstephens@cityofbakerla.com
  5. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 1, 1988.
  6. Donald L. Beckner and Associates: In the Media. donaldbeckner.com. Retrieved on November 17, 2009; no longer on-line..
  7. Pol in the Pen. Time (June 8, 1981). Retrieved on November 16, 2009.
  8. Roemer vetoes abortion bil," Minden Press-Herald, July 27, 1990, p. 1.
  9. "Abortion: Roemer vows veto; Jenkins, an override," Minden Press-Herald, June 28, 1990, p. 3.
  10. Garry Boulard (July 8, 1990). Abortion Bill Veto Override in Louisiana Fails. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on September 24, 2019.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Frances Frank Marcus (January 25, 1991). A Slight Gap in Louisiana's Anti-Drug Law: No Penalties. The New York Times. Retrieved on September 24, 2019.
  12. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 24, 1987.
  13. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 19, 1991.
  14. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, November 17, 1991.
  15. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 21, 1995.

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