Sherri Smith Buffington

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Sherri Smith Cheek Buffington


Louisiana State Senator
for District 38 (Caddo and
DeSoto parishes)
In office
January 2004 – January 11, 2016
Preceded by Ron Bean
Succeeded by John Milkovich

Born August 9, 1966
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) (1) Jon Loyd Cheek (divorced)

(2) William Joseph "Joe" Buffington (married 2012–2021, his death)

Alma mater Southwood High School

Centenary College of Louisiana
Louisiana State University in Shreveport

Occupation Businesswoman
Religion Southern Baptist

Sherri Smith Buffington, formerly Sherri Smith Cheek (born August 9, 1966),[1] is a businesswoman and lobbyist from Shreveport, Louisiana, who is a Republican former state senator for District 38 in Caddo and DeSoto parishes in the northwestern portion of her state.[2] Buffington is the first female Republican ever to have been elected to the Louisiana Senate.[3]

Buffington was term-limited in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 24, 2015. Cloyce Crincrick Clark, III, who vowed "New Conservative Leadership" in contrast to Buffington's Moderate Republican status,[4] sought to fill her seat, as did Republican then state Representative Richard Burford of Stonewall in DeSoto Parish and two Democrats, John Milkovich, a Shreveport attorney who resides in Keithville in south Caddo Parish, and Jemayel Warren of Grand Cane in DeSoto Parish.[5] In the runoff election on November 21, 2015, Milkovich defeated Burford.

Background

Prior to her election in 2003, Buffington had been since 1992 the legislative aide to her predecessor in office, fellow Moderate Republican Ron Bean.[6] She graduated from Southwood High School in Shreveport and attended Centenary College and Louisiana State University in Shreveport, a four-year campus established in 1967. Buffington worked in her family's rental business and was active in the Summer Grove Baptist Church in south Shreveport.[7]

Succeeding Ron Bean

In the primary held on October 4, 2003, Buffington, backed by the outgoing Senator Bean, led a four-candidate race with 10,458 votes (35.3 percent). In second place was the Democrat Forrest Davis, who polled 9,403 votes (31.7 percent). Two other Republicans finished behind, Doug Shurling, with 5,387 votes (18.1 percent) and Ted Roberts, 4,410 (14.9 percent).[8] In that 68 percent of primary voters had chosen a Republican candidate, Davis withdrew from the November 15 general election, and Buffington won by default.

In 2007, Buffington won reelection by defeating Alan Seabaugh, the more conservative Republican attorney, and subsequent state representative for District 5. She won the primary, 16,665 (53 percent) to Seabaugh's 14,725 (47 percent). De Soto Parish provided most of Buffington's margin of victory. Had the race been restricted to the majority of the precincts in Caddo Parish, Buffington would have won by only 277 votes.[9] Seabaugh told The Shreveport Times that he had "met Sherri and she seems nice. But she just doesn't represent me. It begins and ends with her voting record. She runs as a Republican and votes like a Democrat."[10]

Buffington served on these Senate committees: (1) Environmental Quality, (2) Finance, (3) Health and Welfare (vice chairman), and (4) Labor and Industrial Relations. She is also the vice chairman of the Select Women's and Children's Committee.[11]

In 2010, Buffington received a 61 percent rating from the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, lower than most Republican legislators. In 2009, the Louisiana Federation of Independent Business rated her 70 percent. The conservative Louisiana Family Forum rated her 13 percent in 2004, 33 percent in 2006, and 57 percent in 2007. After Buffington defeating Seabaugh, her Family Forum rating moved upward to 78 percent in 2008 and 90 percent in 2010. In 2009, she was ranked 100 percent by the Louisiana Right to Life Federation.[12] In 2011, Buffington voted against amending the Smoke-free Air Act to bar smoking in restaurants and bars.[13]

Reelection in 2011

Buffington won her third Senate term in the primary election held on October 22, 2011, having defeated fellow Republican Troy Neal Terrell (born August 1972), 10,570 votes (57.2 percent) to 7,912 (42.8 percent,[14] who was backed by the Tea Party movement. A native of Starkville, Mississippi, he was the co-pastor of The Church, a nondenominational congregation in Mansfield.[15] Terrell was narrowly defeated in 2014 for his District B city alderman position in Mansfield.[16] Terrell's father, Troy H. Terrell (born May 1941), is the current mayor of Converse in Sabine Parish; a Republican, he was reelected in 2020.[17]

Buffington is only the second woman to hold the District 38 seat. The Democrat Virginia Shehee of Shreveport served in the slot from 1976 to 1980. She is a daughter of former District 11 Caddo Parish Commissioner Jim Smith, also of Keithville.

Buffington is divorced from Jon Loyd Cheek (born December 9, 1964) of Knoxville, Tennessee, and formerly of Shreveport.[18] Her second husband, William Joseph "Joe" Buffington (1961–2021), was a Certified Public Accountant and the finance director for the Bossier Parish Police Jury and, earlier, the city of Bossier City. The Buffingtons resided until his death in Keithville.[19]

In 2016, as her Senate term ended, Buffington registered as a lobbyist for Willis-Knighton Health Systems, Prados and Associates, and the Louisiana Medicaid Physician IPA.[20]

References

  1. Sherri Cheek (Buffington). Mylife.com. Retrieved on January 27, 2021.
  2. Membership in the Louisiana State Senate, 1880-2024. Louisiana State Senate. Retrieved on January 27, 2021.
  3. About Sherri. sherricheekforsenate.com. Retrieved on January 27, 2021; may no longer be accessible on-line.
  4. Cloyce Clark. Ballotpedia.org. Retrieved on January 27, 2021.
  5. Angela Thomas. Candidates Qualified in Statewide Elections. KEEL (AM). Retrieved on January 27, 2021.
  6. Senator Sherri Smith Cheek - District 38. Louisiana State Senate. Retrieved on January 21, 2021.
  7. Senator Sherri Smith Cheek. congress.org. Retrieved on January 27, 2021.
  8. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 4, 2003.
  9. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 20, 2007.
  10. John Andrew Prime, "Incumbent Senator Sherri Smith Cheek Faces Attorney Alan Seabaugh," The Shreveport Times, October 7, 2007.
  11. Senator Sherri Smith Cheek -- District 38. Louisiana State Senate. Retrieved on January 27, 2021.
  12. Senator Sherri Smith Cheek. votesmart.org. Retrieved on January 27, 2021.
  13. Senator Sherri Smith Cheek. votesmart.org. Retrieved on January 27, 2021.
  14. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 22, 2011.
  15. "The race is on officially," The Bossier Press, September 9, 2011.
  16. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, May 3, 2014.
  17. Elected officials: Sabine Parish. Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved on January 27, 2021.
  18. John Cheek. Mylife.com. Retrieved on January 27, 2021.
  19. Joe Buffington obituary. The Shreveport Times. Retrieved on January 27, 2021.
  20. Andrea Gallo (December 19, 2018). Revolving Door: 25 well-known lawmakers who became lobbyists, state workers, political influencers. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on January 27, 2021.