Robert Adley (Louisiana politician)

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Robert Roy Adley

Louisiana State Senator
for District 36
Preceded by Foster Lonnie Campbell, Jr.
Succeeded by Ryan Gatti

Louisiana State Representative
for District 8
In office
March1980 – January 1996
Preceded by Walter O. Bigby
Succeeded by Robert E. Barton

Born September 3, 1947
Bossier City, Louisiana, USA
Political party Democrat-turned-Republican (2008)
Spouse(s) (1) Dawn Womack Adley (divorced)

(2) Claudia Henagan Adley

Children From first marriage:

Brandon Adley, D.V.M.
Brice Cort Adley (1973-1988) Parents:
Roy L. and Peggy Ann Edwards Adley

Residence Benton, Bossier Parish
Alma mater Airline High School (Bossier City)

Louisiana Tech University

Occupation Businessman
Religion United Methodist

Military Service
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1965-1967
Battles/wars Vietnam War

Robert Roy Adley (born September 3, 1947) is a businessman and politician from Benton in Bossier Parish in northwestern, Louisiana, who is a Republican former state senator for Distrit 36. In 2011, Adley ran without opposition in his bid for his third and final term in Senate. Louisiana state legislators are term-limited after three terms.


Adley was born in Bossier City to Roy L. Adley (1928-2018) and the former Peggy Ann Edwards (1931-2020). [1]

He graduated in 1965 from Airline High School in Bossier City and thereafter entered the United States Marine Corps. He served two years, from 1965 to 1967, including a stint in the Vietnam War. He is a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars. After military service, Adley procured an associate degree from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston in Lincoln Parish in north Louisiana. He is a past president of the Louisiana Jaycees.[2] Like Adley, the industrialist Donald Edward "Don" Jones also headed the Louisiana Jaycees and was thereafter the national president as well. From 1984 to 1989, Jones was the mayor of Bossier City.[3]

Since 1993, Adley has owned Pelican Gas Management Company, Inc. From 1972 to 1993, he was the president of ABCO Petroleum. Prior to 1972, he was a securites broker. Adley is affiliated with the interest group the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association.[2] Prior to his legislative election in 1979 at the age of thirty-two, Adley had already served on the Bossier City Recreation Board, Civil Service Board, and the Bossier City Council.[4] In 1980, he was named "Outstanding Young Man" in Bossier City. He is a member of Rotary International.[5]

Adley is divorced from the former Dawn Womack (born December 29, 1948) of Bossier City.[6] His second wife is the former Claudia Henagan (born November 14, 1950),[7] formerly of DeQuincy in Calcasieu Parish near Lake Charles in southwestern Louisiana. From the first marriage, he has a son, the veterinarian Brandon Adley (born 1971) of Bossier City.[2] A younger son, Brice Cort Adley, who attended Loyola College Prep School in Shreveport, committed suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the age of fourteen on May 12, 1988.[8]

Adley is a United Methodist lay leader and speaker.[2]

Party switching

Adley served in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1980 to 1996. He vacated his legislative seat to run unsuccessfully for governor in the 1995 primary election. He finished in seventh place, and the office was won by outgoing State Senator Murphy James "Mike" Foster, Jr., another late convert to the Republican Party.

Adley said that he expected to work closely with Republican Governor Bobby Jindal, who took office in January 2008. At a news conference in his native Bossier City, Adley said that regardless of party his focus in Baton Rouge, the state capital, has "always been conservative reform. I'm excited we have a new governor with the same philosophy, and I want to be as effective as possible in working with him." Adley noted that his becoming the sixteenth Republican state senator (among thirty-nine members) created a more bipartisan and balanced Senate. Within a few years thereafter, the Republicans gained a majority in the Louisiana State Senate.

Legislative accomplishments

From his first year in the House, Adley has been a strong advocate of the Louisiana Downs horse racetrack, established in 1974 in Bossier City. In 1980, he clashed with the Acadiana delegation, which similarly protects the newer Evangeline Downs, founded in 1965 in Lafayette, regarding overlapping racing dates. Adley prevailed on the issue because four south Louisiana representatives, confused in debate, mistakenly voted for the counter position on the bill. Adley then asked the House to reverse the action and return the bill to the calendar because he did not want to score a legislative victory by subterfuge. His decision made the owner of Louisiana Downs furious.[9]

Adley's colleague, Ron Gomez of Lafayette, said that Adley's action "was the mark of a big man. Robert Adley had my respect for life. He subsequently became a floor leader with me during the Roemer administration, suffered through the personal tragedy of losing a brilliant teenage son, left his seat in the House in 1996 to run unsuccessfully for governor, and has still managed to maintain a highly successful career in the oil and gas industry. He also still has the 'fire in the belly' which may get him back into the political arena in the future," as Gomez predicted three years before Adley was elected to the state Senate.[10]

The next year, Adley's Bill 952 became Act 726 of the 1981 legislative session. The tracks had discussed the matter, and accommodations were made by each.[11]

In 1986, Adley was part of a group of bipartisan legislators who declared their independence of gubernatorial direction over the state House of Representatives. The group pushed through $600 million in cuts in state spending though then Governor Edwin Edwards had predicted the lawmakers would fail in that attempt. "We have a chance to change history in this state. No time before has the legislature been able to do independently what it had to do," Adley said.[12]

In 1989, Representative Adley supported Governor Roemer's bill to change the taxation of natural gas from percent of volume to percent of value, the method used in the other natural-gas producing states. The bill fell nine votes short of the two-thirds needed for passage. Adley lashed out at industry lobbyists and his colleagues who opposed the bill: "When you go home you will have to answer to people who will ask 'how could you vote for sales taxes on food, drugs and utilities and not vote for a tax on Texaco, Exxon, and Conoco?'"[13]

In the 2007 legislative session, Senator Adley voted to secure some $50 million from the state for the Cyber Command Center at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City. The Cyber Command Center, with an annual payroll of some $750 million, was projected to employ as many as twenty thousand persons. The Air Force is considering a 58-acre tract adjacent to the east side of Bossier Parish Community College as a potential location (along with seventeen others) for the new Cyber Command (to be decided in October 2008).[14] The funds that Adley helped to obtain will potentially be used to enhance U.S. Highway 80 with traffic signals and turn lanes.[15]

In the 2007 legislative session, Senator Adley sponsored a bill to provide capital improvements for Louisiana's technical and community colleges. He maintains that a "strong system of community and technical colleges is essential to creating a skilled workforce." Lawmakers also adopted provisions of another Adley bill which reforms the Ethics Commission by prohibiting the director from earning outside income through contract work for parties having political interests with the state. Adley worked closely to develop income-disclosure legislation and has endorsed the Blueprint for Louisiana, a list of reforms pushed by a "good-government" group. Adley was the vice chairman of the Senate Environmental Quality and the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs committees and sat on the Senate Transportation, Highways and Public Works Committee.[15]

In 2010, Adley sponsored Senate Bill 549, to terminate funding for the Environmental Law Clinic at Tulane University in New Orleans. Adley's bill, which had the backing of the Louisiana Chemical Association and the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, came into a new atmosphere when the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster occurred in the Gulf of Mexico. Then Tulane University president Scott Cowen testified, against Adley's bill, in the Senate Commerce Committee. The Commerce Committee killed the bill.[16]

Adley successfully pushed for the relocation of Northwest Louisiana Technical College in Minden to a site off the Interstate 20 service road. Under legislation known as SB 204, the state approved $251.6 million in financing and construction for twenty-nine projects at various technical college campuses across the state.[17]

Election history

Adley's public career began in 1977, when he won a special election for an at-large unexpired term on the [city council of Bossier City. He was elected to the Louisiana House from District 8 (Bossier Parish) in 1979 and served four terms until he ran for governor in 1995. He succeeded Walter O. Bigby of Bossier City, who died of cancer whilw briefly serving as a judge.Bigby was a son-in-law of former state senator and banker V. V. Whittington of Benton. In the gubernatorial race, Adley polled only 27,534 votes (2 percent).[18]

In the 1987 legislative primary, Adley, with 5,835 ballots (50 percent) polled 36 more votes than his two rivals combined: Democrat Sandra M. Loridans, 2,334 votes (20 percent) and former Republican turned independent Freddy M. Shewmake (born 1940),[19] Adley was unopposed in the 1991 primary.

Adley was initially elected to the state Senate on February 15, 2003 to fill the remaining months of the term vacated by Foster Lonnie Campbell, Jr.]], also of Bossier Parish, who was elected to the Louisiana Public Service Commission, a post he still holds. Campbell defeated Jerry Lott, another Democrat, 8,172 (68 percent) to 3,903 (32 percent). At the time Red River Parish was not in the district.[20] Adley was unopposed for a full term in the regular 2003 primary. Foster Campbell, who had succeeded conservative state Senator Harold Montgomery of Doyline in south Webster Parish in 1976, ran unsuccessfully for governor in the 2007 primary won by Jindal. The Adley seat was held from 1956 to 1960 by Herman "Wimpy" Jones, a businessman who operated the Southern Kitchen restaurant in Bossier City.

Elected to succeed Senator Adley was the attorney Ryan Gatti,[21] also a graduate of Airline High School and the Louisiana State University Law Center in Baton Rouge. Gatti is a former worker's compensation judge, the vice president of the Republican Party of Bossier Parish, and a trustee on the Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. who has participated in multiple foreign mission trips.[22] Gatti, a close friend of Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards, narrowly won the Senate seat in the runoff election held on November 21, 2015 by defeating the departing Republican state Representative Henry Burns of Haughton in Bossier Parish. Burns left the House after two terms to run for state senator;[23] Burns was succeeded as representative by his legislative aide, fellow Republican Dodie Horton, a strong conservative. Gatti lost the Senate seat after one term, having been unseated by another Republican Robert Mills, who ran as a conservative but in 2021 supported making permanent a "temporary" .45 percent sales tax.


  1. Peggy Ann Edwards Adley (1931-2020) - Find A Grave Memorial, accessed June 8, 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Louisiana State Senate Robert Adley
  3. The United States Jaycees Foundation: Don E. Jones (1982-1983). Retrieved on January 14, 2015.
  4. Ron Gomez, My Name Is Ron And I'm a Recovering Legislator: Memoirs of a Louisiana State Representative' (Lafayette: Zemog Publishing, 2000), pp. 59-70, ISBN 0-9700156-0-7.
  5. "Louisiana: Adley, Robert, Who's Who in American Politics, 2007-2008 (New Providence, New Jersey, New Jersey, 2007), p. 648.
  6. Intelius People Search - Public Records, Background Checks & More
  7. Net Detective: People Search
  8. "Gunshot wound kills Adley's son," Minden Press-Herald, May 13, 1988, p. 1.
  9. Ron Gomez, pp. 85-91.
  10. Ron Gomez, p. 91.
  11. Ron Gomez, pp. 91-92.
  12. "Lawmakers declare their independence," Minden Press-Herald, July 2, 1986, p. 1.
  13. Ron Gomez, pp. 263-264.
  14. Dayton Daily News
  15. 15.0 15.1 Josh Beavers (December 11, 2007). Sen. Adley switches to Republican party. Minden Press-Herald. Retrieved on September 1, 2015.
  16. Jeremy Alford, Ready for the courtroom, Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, 2010 June 1–14, pp. 25-26. Cowen's nemesis in testimony before the committee was Louisiana Chemical Association president Dan Borné, who said that the mission of the law clinic "seems to be to attack business and business advancement and industrial advancement."
  17. Minden Press-Herald, June 20, 2013, p. 1.
  18. October 21, 1995.
  19. Louisiana Secretary of State, Primary election returns, October 24, 1987.
  20. Louisiana Secretary of State, Special election Returns, February 15, 2003.
  21. Ryan Gatti, June 1974. Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved on September 1, 2015.
  22. Ryan Gatti running for Louisiana Senate seat. Minden Press-Herald (August 26, 2015). Retrieved on September 1, 2015.
  23. Henry Burns running for state senate. Minden Press-Herald (September 4, 2015). Retrieved on September 7, 2015.