Steve Pylant

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Steven Everett "Steve" Pylant, Sr.


Louisiana State Representative for District 20 (Caldwell, Catahoula, Franklin, LaSalle, and Tensas parishes)
In office
January 2012 – January 13, 2020
Preceded by Noble Ellington
Succeeded by Neil Riser

Sheriff of Richland Parish, Louisiana
In office
1996–2012
Preceded by Eugene Parker
Succeeded by Kevin Wayne Cobb

Born November 25, 1954
Franklin Parish
Louisiana, USA
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Rhonda N. Pylant
Children Steven, Jr., and Jason Pylant

Steven Everett Pylant, Sr., known as Steve Pylant (born November 25, 1954), is the Republican former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from District 20, which includes all or portions of Caldwell, Catahoula, Franklin, LaSalle, and Tensas parishes in the northeastern section of his state. He succeeded the Democrat-turned-Republican Representative Noble Ellington of Winnsboro in Franklin Parish who did not seek re-election in 2011. Pylant declined to seek a third House term in 2019.

Career

Pylant won the House seat in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 22, 2011. He carried the backing of Governor Bobby Jindal, who was elected to a second term.[1] With 9,119 votes (56.3 percent), Pylant defeated the Democratic candidate, Cleveland Webb "Cleve" Womack (born 1953) of Jonesville in Catahoula Parish, 9,119 votes (56.3 percent) to 7,066 ballots (43.7 percent). To cement his victory margin, Pylant received 71 percent of the vote in his own Franklin Parish.[2] Running as a Democrat in 2007, Ellington had also defeated Womack for the position. At that time the district did not include any precincts from LaSalle Parish.[3]

Pylant served as a Republican sheriff in Franklin Parish from 1996 to 2012. He was first elected to succeed the Democrat Eugene Parker in the sheriff's primary held in 1995, when he polled 5,784 votes (66.6 percent). He defeated three opponents, including L. D. Knox of Winnsboro, who argued for "None of the Above" ballot options.[4]

When Pylant became sheriff, Franklin Parish still owed $8 million for its detention center, which had been completed in 1992. As Pylant vacated the office, the sheriff's department expected to have $7 million in assets. "We were able to give $1.5 million back to the taxpayers in the form of a half-cent sales tax and a 9.4 mil property . We expanded the jail at no cost to the taxpayer and brought fiscal stability to the sheriff’s department to secure its future in Franklin Parish. [We took] a hard look at how the money is spent and how we were able to increase our revenue; there are some lessons there that I think could be taken to Baton Rouge and done on a larger scale," said Pylant in his announcement of candidacy.[5]

Pylant's successor as sheriff is his chief deputy and fellow Republican, Kevin Wayne Cobb (born 1970) of Winnsboro, who defeated the Democrat Emmitt Coleman, with a vote of 5,860 votes (80.8 percent) to 1,391 (19.2 percent).[6]

In 2016, Pylant opposed the House bipartisan majority for a one-cent increase in the state sales tax. State representatives voted 76 to 28 for the tax hike, a part of the revenue-raising measures pushed by Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards.[7] A House and Senate conference committee subsequently trimmed the five years for the duration of the tax to expire instead after twenty-seven months, effective from April 1, 2016 to June 30, 2018.

Also in 2016, Pylant announced in a House committee meeting that he no longer supports capital punishment because of the legal costs involved. Since 2000, Louisiana has executed only three inmates, the most recent in 2010. The state spends $10 million a year on capital defense, with another $23 million for local indigent defender boards.[8]

On February 27, 2019, Pylant disclosed that he would not seek a third term in the state House in the nonpartisan blanket primary scheduled for October 12. Nor will be seek to succeed the term-limited Neil Riser in District 32 in the Louisiana State Senate. Pylant said that after thirty-seven years in the public sector, he will retire to his farm and raise cattle.[9][10] Outgoing state Senator Neil Riser, a funeral home owner from Columbia, ran to succeed Pylant in the House and in a runoff election defeated fellow Republican Kevin Bates of Winnsboro in Franklin Parish, 51 to 49 percent.[11]

Personal life

Pylant and his wife, Rhonda (born July 18, 1954),[12] reside in Franklin Parish near Delhi, a town in Richland Parish. They have two sons, Steven, Jr., and Jason.

References

  1. Jindal weighs in on Oct. 22 election. theind.com. Retrieved on October 22, 2011.
  2. Louisiana primary election returns, October 22, 2011. staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved on October 24, 2011.
  3. Louisiana general election returns, November 17, 2007. staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved on October 24, 2011.
  4. Louisiana primary election returns, October 21, 1995. staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved on October 24, 2011.
  5. Political announcement: Steve Pylant, State Representative, District 20. richlandtoday.com. Retrieved on May 14, 2011.
  6. Franklin Parish election returns, October 22, 2011. staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved on October 24, 2011.
  7. State House of Representatives Vote to Increase Sales Tax. KEEL Radio (February 25, 2016). Retrieved on March 28, 2016.
  8. James Gill (April 13, 2016). GOP ex-sheriff changes lifelong view, questions death penalty. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on April 16, 2016.
  9. Sam Hanna, Jr., "Who Wants to Serve?", The Colfax Chronicle, January 31, 2019, p. 4.
  10. Greg Hilburn (February 27, 2019). Rep. Pylant won't seek reelection or Senate seat. The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved on February 28, 2019.
  11. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, November 16, 2019.
  12. Rhonda Pylant. Mylife.com. Retrieved on September 13, 2017.