P. J. Mills

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Percy Joseph "P.J." Mills, Jr.

Louisiana State Representative
for Caddo Parish (at-large)
In office
1968–1972
Preceded by At-large delegation:

Morley Alvin Hudson
Algie D. Brown
Taylor Walters O'Hearn
Frank Fulco
J. Bennett Johnston, Jr.

Succeeded by Single-member district

Benjamin Franklin "B. F." O'Neal, Jr.


Born January 10, 1934
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Married
Children Six children, including

Douglass C. Mills
Christopher Vean Mills
Andrew Loomis Mills

Residence New Orleans, Louisiana
Alma mater Catholic High School (Baton Rouge

Louisiana State University

Occupation Banker; Businessman
Religion Roman Catholic

Percy Joseph Mills, Jr., known as P. J. Mills (born January 10, 1934), is a retired businessman residing in New Orleans, Louisiana, who served from 1968 to 1972 as a state representative from Shreveport and Caddo Parish[1] the northwestern corner of the state.

Background

Mills graduated in 1951 from Catholic High School[2] in his native Baton Rouge. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and a master's degree in public administration from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He is married and the father of six children,[3] including Douglass C. Mills, Christopher Veau Mills, and Andrew Laughlin Mills.

He is a retired banker by profession in Shreveport and later Baton Rouge. In 1967, he was named "Outstanding Young Man of the Year" by the Shreveport Jaycees. As a legislator, he was the secretary to the Council for Governmental Reorganization.[4]

One of Mills's ancestors, Robert Mills, a native of Charleston, South Carolina, designed the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., which opened to the public in 1888.[5]

Career

Known as one of the "good-government" Young Turks in the state House, Mills did not seek reelection when the legislature was converted to single-member districts, effective in 1972. Instead, he ran in the November 1971 Democratic closed primary for lieutenant governor. He finished fourth among ten candidates. The three-term incumbent, Clarence C. "Taddy" Aycock (1915-1987) of Franklin in St. Mary Parish, ran unsuccessfully for governor. Mills barely trailed the third-place candidate, businessman Edward Kennon, then of Minden in Webster Parish and later from Shreveport. Other candidates were state Representative Parey Branton of Shongaloo, also in Webster Parish, and state Senator Jamar Adcock of Monroe in Ouachita Parish in northeastern Louisiana. The office ultimately went to Democrat Jimmy Fitzmorris, a former member of the New Orleans City Council. On February 1, 1972, Fitzmorris handily defeated the GOP nominee, former State Representative Morley Hudson of Shreveport.

In 1972, newly elected Democratic Governor Edwin Edwards named Mills as the first director of the Louisiana Superport.[6] Two later state representatives, Terry W. Gee (1940-2014) of Jefferson Parish and Dale Sittig of Eunice in St. Landry Parish, were later named directors of the Superport, based at Lafayette, by Republican Governors Murphy J. "Mike" Foster, Jr. and Bobby Jindal, respectively.

In 1975, Mills ran again for statewide office when veteran Louisiana Secretary of State Wade Omer Martin, Jr. (1911-1990), stepped down to run unsuccessfully for governor against Edwin Edwards and State Senator Robert G. Jones of Lake Charles, son of former Governor Sam Houston Jones. Mills, with 49 percent of the ballots, led in the first-ever nonpartisan blanket primary held in Louisiana on November 1, 1975. He was forced into a runoff, called the general election in Louisiana even though it may feature two candidates from the same party. Mills hence faced state Senator Paul Hardy of St. Martinville in St. Martin Parish. Hardy prevailed against Mills by some 20,000 votes, 388,780 (51.5 percent) to 366,510 (48.5 percent).[7] Hardy later switched from Democrat to Republican affiliation and won the office of lieutenant governor in 1987 but was unseated in 1991 by Melinda Schwegmann and thereafter retired from politics.

In 1988, Mills was appointed chief of staff to newly elected Governor Buddy Roemer, who in 1991 switched affiliation to the Republican Party. At the time, Mills told The New Orleans Times-Picayune that the party bolt had become "a case of working out the details. This is a big thing for him."[8]

Mills remains a Democrat, but he donated to the election of Republican David Vitter in 1999 in Vitter's successful race that year against fellow Republican David C. Treen for the vacancy in the United States House of Representatives from Louisiana's 1st congressional district created by the controversial resignation of Republican Bob Livingston.[9] Mills also contributed to Vitter’s Democratic Senate predecessor, John Breaux.[10]

Prior to retirement in 2000, Mills was president of the large Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana.[5] In 1999, Mills was named "Businessperson of the Year" in Baton Rouge.[11]

References

  1. Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2020 (Caddo Parish). Louisiana House of Representatives. Retrieved on November 13, 2019.
  2. Catholic High School-Baton Rouge. catholichigh.org. Retrieved on November 10, 2009; no longer on-line.
  3. 1999 business awards Businessperson of the Year: P.J. Mills. bookrags.com. Retrieved on November 11, 2009; no longer on-line.
  4. "Rep. P. J. Mills to Address Lions," Minden Press-Herald, August 22, 1971, p. 1.
  5. 5.0 5.1 LSU Alumnus To Restore Washington Monument: Louisianians Preserving America's Great Architectural Treasures. lsu.com (March 3, 1999). Retrieved on November 10, 2009; no longer on-line.
  6. T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History: Interviewee: P.J. Mills. lib.lsu.edu. Retrieved on November 10, 2009; no longer on-line.
  7. Louisiana Secretary of State, Louisiana election returns, December 5, 1975.
  8. Roemer Reportedly Ready for Party Switch. www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved on November 10, 2009; no longer on-line.
  9. - P.J. Mills, 70898. watchdog.net. Retrieved on November 10, 2009; no longer on-line.
  10. Baton Rouge, LA Political Contributions by Individuals. city-data.com. Retrieved on November 13, 2019.
  11. Past Winners. businessreport.com. Retrieved on November 10, 2009; no longer on-line.