Quentin Dastugue

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Quentin D. Dastugue​


Louisiana State Representative
for District 82 (Jefferson
and Orleans parishes)​
In office
1980​ – 1996​
Preceded by Harold Toca​
Succeeded by Steve Scalise

Born December 31, 1955​
Political party Democrat-turned-Republican​ (1984)
Spouse(s) Penny Matherne Dastugue ​
Children Three daughters​
Residence Covington, St. Tammany Parish
Alma mater Georgia Institute of Technology
Occupation Businessman

Quentin D. Dastugue (born December 31, 1955) is a founding partner and the chief executive officer of the New Orleans-based real estate firm, Property One, Inc., and a former four-term state representative for District 82 in Orleans and Jefferson parishes.

Dastugue (pronounced DAS TOOG) was elected as a Democrat to the state House in 1979 and 1983 . In 1984, as he began his second term in the House, he switched his affiliation to the Republican Party to support the reelection of U.S. President Ronald W. Reagan and Vice President George Herbert Walker Bush.​

Background

Dastugue's place of birth in not listed on-line. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia. Upon his graduation in 1977, he returned to his native New Orleans to assume a position as commercial leasing manager for Medallion Management, Inc., with responsibilities for office buildings and shopping centers.

In 1983, he joined Property Network, Inc., and progressed from investment sales broker to vice president of the commercial sales division to senior vice president for Louisiana, Florida, and Texas. In 1985, he founded Property One, a full service commercial real estate firm that grew into of the largest firms in south Louisiana.​[1]

Dastugue's commercial real estate experience includes leasing, investment sales, development, property management, construction project management, and consulting. He has also served on numerous civic organizations and real estate industry committees. He was honored by the Jefferson Board of Realtors as "Realtor Associate of the Year." He served on the board of directors of WYES public television and the New Orleans Regional Chamber of Commerce. He sits on the board of the Idea Village, and the Audubon Institute. In addition to his engineering credentials, Dastugue is a graduate of the Institute of Politics at the Roman Catholic Loyola University of New Orleans. He was formerly a youth basketball and softball coach for his three daughters.​

Political life

Dastugue was first elected as a Democrat to the legislature in 1979 when he unseated a two-term incumbent, Democrat Harold Toca. Dastugue won with more than 60 percent of the vote. At the age of twenty-three, he was the third youngest person ever elected to the Louisiana legislature.

In December 1989, Dastugue in his third state House term announced that he would run as a Republican for the U.S. Senate in a bid to unseat popular three-term Democratic incumbent J. Bennett Johnston, Jr., of Shreveport.[2] However, when the state GOP held a convention on January 13, 1990, the delegates endorsed then state Senator Ben Bagert of New Orleans as the official party choice. Dastugue then abandoned plans to make the race. So did another candidate, Walter Fox McKeithen (1946-2005), at the time the Louisiana Secretary of State and a son of former Governor John J. McKeithen. Like Dastugue and Bagert, McKeithen was a former Democrat. Bagert later withdrew from the contest, and Johnston defeated the remaining Republican candidate, state Representative David Duke, then of Jefferson Parish and a former figure in the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.​ ​ In 1995, rather than seeking a fifth term in the legislature, Dastugue entered the gubernatorial race as the early official choice of the Republican state leadership. However, he withdrew from the governor's contest when he failed to make headway in the race to raise money. Thereafter, most GOP leaders coalesced behind state Senator Murphy James "Mike" Foster, Jr., of St. Mary Parish, another who switched from Democratic to Republican affiliation at the beginning of the campaign. Two other Republicans, also former Democrats and former governors, ran too, Buddy Roemer, who in 1991 had thwarted the right to life contingent of the party, and former Governor David C. Treen, who soon withdrew from consideration. Ultimately, Foster handily won the election in a runoff with the African-American Democrat Cleo Fields, who became a state senator on January 13, 2020.​ ​

The call for levee board reforms

Dastugue during part of his tenure was chairman of the House Committee on Transportation, Highways, and Public Works, Dastugue authored and secured passage of the state Transportation Trust Fund and the TIMED program.[1] In 1994, he received one of eleven national "Legislator of the Year" awards.​

As a legislator, Dastugue was a leader of a small group who questioned the accountability of the levee board system of controlling the Mississippi River levees. He filed bills to reform the levee boards year after year during the 1980s, when then Democratic Governor Edwin Edwards was at the zenith of his power. Dastugue said that establishment politicians ridiculed his reform attempts. Dastugue was, unfortunately in his view, vindicated by the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. "What bothered me the most was seeing intelligent people turn their backs on such an important public service," Dastugue said of his earlier efforts on behalf of stronger levees.​ ​

Elections of 1987, 1991, and 1995

In 1987, Dastugue won his first election as a Republican by a large margin in his metropolitan district. He received 7,210 votes (64 percent) to 3,432 ballots (30 percent) for the Democrat Dale Cannizzaro. A second Republican, J. W. West, polled the remaining 6 percent of the ballots.[3]

In 1991, in his last election, Dastugue polled 8,456 ballots (73 percent), to 3,089 (27 percent) for Democrat Alfred J. "Al" Ferry (born 1945) of New Orleans.[4] In 1995, Ferry ran again but lost by nearly the same margin to Dastugue's successor, fellow Republican Steve Scalise.[5]

In 2018, Dastugue was inducted into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield.[1]

Penny Dastugue

​ Dastugue currently resides in Covington (formerly of Mandeville) in suburban St. Tammany Parish with his wife, the former Penny Matherne (born 1959).​ They have three children.

Mrs. Dastugue, who studied at Tulane University in New Orleans, is a former educator and elected Republican member of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Education for District 1 (New Orleans suburbs). She won the seat in the general election held on November 15, 2003, 57,205 votes (54 percent) to Democrat Barbara Ferguson's 48,729 ballots (46 percent).[6] A second Republican candidate, incumbent Donna Contois, was eliminated in the 1995 primary the preceding month.​

Penny Dastugue was not a candidate for reelection to the BESE board in the primary held on October 20, 2007. Her fellow Republican, James "Jim" Garvey of Metairie, ran unopposed for the seat. After his inauguration early in 2008, Republican Governor Bobby Jindal named Penny Dastugue to continue to serve by appointment on the BESE board, a body which consists of both elected and appointed members.​

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Quentin D. Dastugue. Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame. Retrieved on February 6, 2020.
  2. "Dastugue enters Senate race," Minden Press-Herald, December 20, 1989, p. 8.
  3. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 24, 1987.
  4. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 19, 1991.
  5. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 21, 1995.
  6. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, November 15, 2003.

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