Last modified on April 19, 2021, at 18:22

Hollis Downs

Hollis Homer Downs​

Louisiana State Representative for
District 12 (Lincoln and Union parishes)​
In office
January 2003​ – January 9, 2012​
Preceded by Jay McCallum​
Succeeded by Rob Shadoin

Born October 2, 1946​
Farmerville, Union Parish
Louisiana, USA​
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Catherine "Cathy" Downs​
Children Holly Carney of Bossier City

Woodrow Alexander Downs
​ Juel Meredith Downs Chappell​

Alma mater Louisiana Tech University
Occupation Businessman
Louisiana Tech Universityprofessor
Religion United Methodist

Hollis Homer Downs (born October 2, 1946) is an American academic and Republican former state legislator who represented District 12 (Lincoln and Union parishes) in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 2003 to 2012.[1] He is a finance professor at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston.

The District 12 seat is currently held by another Republican, Christopher Lyle "Chris" Turner.


A native of Farmerville in Union Parish, Downs is the second of three children of Woodrow Alexander Downs and Juel Meredith Downs Chappell (1919–2014), a native of Grayson in Caldwell Parish and a daughter of James Monroe Downs and the former Pearl Jane Hearne. After Woodrow Downs's death, Juel married Dr. William Chappell, Jr., since deceased, from whom she acquired a step-daughter, Nancy Oviatt and her husband Steve of Catharpin, Virginia, and a step-son, William Chappell, III, of Pearisburg in Giles County, Virginia. In her later years, Juel, who had worked for the office of state social services in Farmerville, moved to Ruston. She instituted the first Girl Scouts chapter in Farmerville.[2]

Downs has an older brother, Robert Warren Downs (born 1943) and wife, Susan Jo Downs, of Houston, Texas. Their sister, Jane Downs Watts of Ruston, the wife of Tucker Watts, was formerly married to Bruce N. Lynn, II (born 1950), the son of the Republican former State Representative Bruce Lynn, Sr., of Caddo Parish in northwestern Louisiana.[2]

Coincidentally, former Representative Bruce Lynn's wife died on the same day as Hollis Downs's mother. Margaret Lynn and Juel Downs Chappell hence shared three grandchildren, one of whom was Ross Alexander Lynn (1979–2013), a photographer and mountain climber killed in a farming accident on the Lynn plantation in Caddo Parish at the age of thirty-three.[3]The Ross Alexander Lynn Foundation was established in his honor in Ruston.[4]

Like his mother, Downs graduated from Louisiana Tech. In 1968, after leaving college, he served in the United States Army until 1974, when he joined the Louisiana National Guard for a final two-year stint. Downs is a financial planner in Ruston, where he resides with his wife, Catherine "Cathy" Downs. He is a member of the United Methodist denomination.[5]

Political life

​Downs won a special election to the state House held in January 2003 created by the resignation of Democratic Representative Jay McCallum, who became a judge and a Republican. Downs won the contest by 36 votes over fellow Republican Chuck Earle, 3,838 to 3,802.[6]

Downs then won four-year terms in the elections of 2003 and 2007 without opposition.[7] However, Downs did not seek a third full term in the primary election held on October 22, 2011.[8]

In 2011, Downs sponsored House Bill 448 which would have charged college students for fifteen credit hours, rather than the current twelve semester hours. According to the Legislative Fiscal Office, the change would raise about $74 million a year. Downs said that previous policy in which students pay only for twelve hours encourages them to enroll in additional courses that they frequently drop by the time of withdrawal day. Therefore, colleges must hire more faculty and staff than they would otherwise need. Downs said that the 15-hour requirement would encourage students to take more classes and to graduate earlier. The additional funds raised would compensate too, he said, for other budget cuts in higher education.[9] However, the full House overwhelmingly rejected Downs' bill and a similar measure by Republican Representative Frank A. Hoffmann of West Monroe.[10] ​ ​ In his last legislative session, Downs broke with his party and joined a House minority in supporting an "anti-bullying" bill that would seek to halt physical abuses in public schools. Critics, including the Louisiana Family Forum, said that the legislation would be misconstrued and used to promote homosexual life-styles.[11]

Downs was succeeded in the House by a Moderate Republican, Rob Shadoin, a Ruston attorney. In the general election held on November 19, 2011, Shadoin defeated another Republican, the more conservative Jason Paul Bullock (born 1977), also of Ruston, 4,186 (54.4 percent) to 3,513 votes (45.6 percent).[12]

In the primary held on October 22, 2011, Bullock had led the balloting with 45 percent, and Shadoin trailed with nearly 39 percent of the vote. A third Republican candidate, Jacob "Jake" Halley, held the remaining but critical 16 percent of the primary vote. No Democrat sought the seat.[13]

Ruston insurance agent R. G. "Skip" Russell, a District 8 Republican member and past president of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury, the parish governing body, had also announced for the House seat Hollis vacated but never filed his candidacy papers.[14] Russell is a former aide to Democratic former U.S. Representative Jerry Huckaby of Louisiana's 5th congressional district.[8]


  1. Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2012: Lincoln and Union parishes. Retrieved on August 3, 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Juel Chappell Obituary. Monroe News Star. Retrieved on October 5, 2014.
  3. Margaret Lynn. The Shreveport Times. Retrieved on October 5, 2014.
  4. Ross Alexander Lynn. Bozeman Daily Chronicle (August 30, 2013). Retrieved on October 5, 2014.
  5. Rep. Hollis Downs, R-LA. Retrieved on July 7, 2011; no longer on-line..
  6. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, January 18, 2003.
  7. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 4, 2003.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Scott Beder (April 28, 2011). Downs won't run for third term; Russell to seek open House seat. The Farmerville Gazette. Retrieved on July 7, 2011.
  9. Jan Moller (June 1, 2011). Tuition-raising measures clear first committee hurdle. New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved on July 7, 2011.
  10. Two bills designed to raise Louisiana college costs derailed. The New Orleans Times-Picayune (June 7, 2011). Retrieved on July 7, 2011.
  11. Anti-bullying killed by La. House. Retrieved on July 16, 2011; no longer on-line..
  12. Louisiana Secretary of State, General Election Returns, November 19, 2011.
  13. Louisiana Secretary of State, Primary election returns, October 22, 2011.
  14. Louisiana Secretary of State, Lincoln Parish returns, October 20, 2007.

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