Jamar Adcock

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Jamar William Adcock

Louisiana State Senator
for Ouachita Parish
In office
1960–1972
Preceded by James D. Sparks
Succeeded by William Denis Brown, III

Born August 9, 1917
Richland Parish, Louisiana
Died December 22, 1991 (aged 74)
Monroe, Ouachita Parish
Louisiana
Resting place Mulhearn Memorial Memorial Park in Monroe, Louisiana
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Frances Aycock Adcock
Children Jan Adcock Melton

Two grandsons

Residence Monroe, Louisiana
Alma mater Louisiana State University
Occupation Banker
Religion Baptist

Military Service
Service/branch United States Army infantry
Rank Major
Battles/wars World War II

Jamar William Adcock (August 9, 1917 – December 22, 1991) was a high-profile banker and a Democratic state senator from Monroe , Louisiana who served from 1960 to 1972. He was [the Senate president pro tempore in his third term from 1968 to 1972.[1]

A native of Richland Parish,[2] located east of Monroe, Adcock attended Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where he met two future political giants, John J. McKeithen and Russell Long, both a year his junior.

He served in the United States Army as major in the infantry during World War II.[3]

Running for lieutenant governor, 1971

In 1960, Adcock, along with Senator Russell Long and Louisiana Attorney General Jack P. F. Gremillion, was an at-large Louisiana delegate to the Democratic National Convention, which met in Los Angeles, California, to nominate the Kennedy-Johnson ticket.[4] He had been an alternate to the 1956 convention which met in Chicago to field the Adlai Stevenson-Estes Kefauver ticket.[5]

As a state senator, Adcock worked closely with the administration of Governor John McKeithen in regard to taxes and spending. In 1968, Adcock quarreled with Adras LaBorde, the managing editor of the Alexandria Town Talk, who wrote a controversial column that maintained that Louisiana could save $100 million annually by trimming its state employees. LaBorde noted that no other Southern state had nearly so many state workers as Louisiana. Adcock retorted that those who make "blanket accusations ought to come down here and help us solve the problems."

Early in 1971, Adcock pondered making his own gubernatorial bid to succeed McKeithen but declared that the state had so many problems that it might be "ungovernable." He proposed overall tax reform, changes in property tax assessments, and making more revenues available to municipalities. Adcock said that had he run for the top spot he could "only promise pain and suffering as we straighten these things out."[6]

After three terms, Adcock relinquished his Senate seat to seek his party's nomination, not for governor, but for lieutenant governor in the 1971 primary election. He was seeking to succeed three-term incumbent Clarence C. "Taddy" Aycock of Franklin in St. Mary Parish. Aycock was running for governor but was not in the top tier of candidates despite his visibility and experience in state government.

Two young men active in the Adcock campaign for lieutenant governor were Earl Casey of KNOE-TV, the CBS affiliate in Monroe and later with CNN, and James Carville, a liberal Democratic consultant originally based in New Orleans.[7] Adcock ran strongly enough in the first primary to gain a runoff berth with the front-running former New Orleans city councilman James Edward "Jimmy" Fitzmorris, Jr. In fact, with 250,850 votes, he trailed Fitzmorris by just over 6,000 votes. Eliminated in the primary were two candidates from Webster Parish east of Shreveport, state Representative Parey Branton of Shongaloo and Edward Kennon, a Minden contractor and a nephew of former Governor Robert F. Kennon. Another unsuccessful candidate was P. J. Mills, like Adcock a banker and an outgoing state representative from Shreveport. Fitzmorris was a convincing winner in the second Democratic primary and went on to win all sixty-four parishes in his race with the Republican candidate, former state Representative Morley Hudson of Shreveport, in the general election held on February 1, 1972.

After his ill-fated race for lieutenant governor, Adcock continued to support other Louisiana Democrats, including the state's then two powerful Democratic U.S. Senators RussellLong and J. Bennett Johnston, Jr.

Successful banker

Adcock and his long-time friend and associate, William R. "Billy" Boles, Sr., launched the American Bank in Monroe, which ultimately became Regions Bank. He also served on the board of Fidelity Mortgage Company. Adcock and Boles also started Fidelity Bank in Slidell, the Colonial Bank in New Orleans, and Progressive Bank in Metairie in Jefferson Parish. They bought into the Bossier Bank and Trust Company in Bossier City and the Jena Bank in Jena in La Salle Parish. Boles met Adcock when they were LSU students. At the time of his election, Boles was the youngest member of the Louisiana State Senate. He represented Richland Parish from 1952 to 1956, and then he returned full-time to northeast Louisiana to practice law. Boles, a behind-the-scenes political insider for a half century and staunch Democrat, was friendly with both Governors McKeithen and Edwin Edwards.

Adcock was also a past chairman of the Louisiana Tax Commission.

Last rites

Adcock died at the age of seventy-four at Saint Frances Medical Center in Monroe. Services were held on Christmas Eve morning, 1991, at the Northminster Church in Monroe with the Reverends Harold D. Hughens and Donald W. Nixon officiating. Burial was in the Mulhearn Memorial Park Cemetery in Monroe. He was survived by his wife, the former Frances Aycock of Monroe, a native of Rayville; a daughter and son-in-law, Jan Adcock Melton (born 1943) and Paul Anders Melton, Sr. (born 1942), of Baton Rouge, and two grandsons, Jamar Adcock Melton (born 1970), a pediatrician, and Paul A. Melton, Jr., (born 1972), a businessman, both of Baton Rouge.[8].

Adcock and a group of friends formed the Northminster Church in 1989. It is affiliated with the Alliance of Baptists, a fellowship dedicated to the preservation of historic Baptist principles and freedoms. He was a Sunday school teacher and a deacon.[8]

Billy Boles, in a 2004 interview with Sam Hanna, Jr., of the weekly newspaper, The Ouachita Citizen in West Monroe, recalled his friend Jamar Adcock: "I miss Jamar every day. He was just a great friend. There was not one thing that I could ask and he wouldn't do."[9]

References

  1. Membership in the Louisiana State Senate, 1880-2024. Louisiana State Senate. Retrieved on November 11, 2020.
  2. "Adcock Will Headline Fair Opening Tuesday," Minden Press-Herald, September 24, 1970, p. 1.
  3. Minden Press-Herald, September 24, 1970.
  4. Louisiana delegation to the 1960 Democratic National Convention. The Political Graveyard. Retrieved on November 12, 2020.
  5. Jamar Adcock. The Political Graveyard. Retrieved on November 12, 2020.
  6. "Adcock says state 'ungovernable,'" Minden Press-Herald, January 19, 1971, p. 1.
  7. Leo Honeycutt, Edwin Edwards: Governor of Louisiana, 2009, p. 76.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Jamar Adcock obituary,Monroe News Star, December 24, 1991
  9. The Ouachita Citizen, published by the late Sam Hanna, Sr, and then Sam Hanna, Jr., West Monroe, Louisiana, 2004; article no longer accessible on-line.