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Donald Ray Kennard (August 11, 1936 – August 5, 2011)[1] was an educator, athletic director, and politician who represented part of East Baton Rouge Parish in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1976 to 2008. Originally a conservative Democrat, Kennard switched his partisan affiliation in 1995, when he won the first of three terms as a Republican.[2]

Donald Ray Kennard
Louisiana State Representative for
District 69 (East Baton Rouge Parish)
In office
1976–2008
Succeeded byClifton S. Richardson
Personal details
Born(1936-08-11)August 11, 1936
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
DiedAugust 5, 2011(2011-08-05) (aged 74)
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Resting placeZoar Baptist Church Cemetery in Baton Rouge
NationalityAmerican
Political partyDemocratic Party from 1976-1995; Republican since 1995
Spouse(s)Ramona Norris "Mona" Kennard (married ca. 1962-2011, his death)
ChildrenRobin Lisa Kennard

Stacy Rae Kennard Doucet

Four grandchildren
ParentsSterling D. and Camille Carpenter Kennard
ResidenceCentral City
East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana
Alma materCentral High School

Southeastern Louisiana University

Louisiana State University
OccupationEducator
Assistant athletic director at LSU

Contents

Family and backgroundEdit

Kennard was born to Sterling D. Kennard (1914–1989),[3] an East Baton Rouge Parish justice of the peace from the Central City community, and a son of William and Annie Kennard. Donald Kennard's mother was the former Camille Carpenter (1917–2010), one of ten children born to Maurice Carpenter and the former Bertie Ritterman. She was a homemaker and a school bus driver. Donald Kennard and his wife, the former Ramona "Mona" Norris, are the parents of Robin Lisa Kennard and Stacy Rae Kennard Doucet, wife of David Doucet. Their grandchildren are Philip James Doucet, Samuel Sterling Doucet, Thomas David Doucet, and Camille Elizabeth Doucet.[4]

In 1954, Kennard graduated from Central High School in East Baton Rouge Parish, at which he earned thirteen letters in football, basketball, baseball, and track. In 1958, he procured his Bachelor of Science degree in professional education from Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond. He taught and coached at Istrouma High School in Baton Rouge. Thereafter, while he pursued his Master of Education degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, which he completed in 1960, Kennard coached the LSU freshmen basketball team. He served for ten years in the United States Air Force Reserve, having first completed basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. He was stationed at Fort Dix in Trenton, New Jersey. Afterwards for two years, he taught health and physical education at the University of New Orleans. He was a football spotter from 1958 until 2007, much of that time as a member of the LSU sports broadcasting team. In January 1963, he launched his LSU career as an academicic advisor in the athletic department, a position that he maintained for twenty-two years. Thereafter, he was for many years the LSU assistant athletic director in charge of sales and marketing.[1]

Legislative serviceEdit

In the 1987 nonpartisan blanket primary, Kennard defeated the Republican Michael "Mike" Harig, 10,310 (69 percent) to 4,693 (31 percent).[5] In 1991, when his District 65 also included a precinct from neighboring Livingston Parish, Democrat Kennard defeated the Republican Kenneth "Ken" Wood, 8,092 (58 percent) to 5,908 (42 percent).[6] Kennard was then unopposed as a Republican in 1995 and 1999. He was a big winner in the 2003 primary, when he defeated the Democrat Wade Byrd, 9,329 (73 percent) to 3,482 (27 percent).[7]

While serving in the legislature, Kennard continued as the assistant athletic director at LSU. A licensed counselor, he was also a past president of the American Professional Guidance Association and a member of the National Association of Academic Advisors.[1] He is included in Who's Who in Louisiana.

In 1999, Kennard was elected secretary of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).[8] Kennard first became affiliated with ALEC in 1992, when he was still a Democrat. He served on the board of directors and was the organization's state chairman in 1994. He was the first national ALEC officer from Louisiana. In 2003, he was elevated to ALEC national chairman.[1]

In 1996, as a new Republican, Kennard authored and obtained passage of "Truth In Sentencing" legislation, which mandates that a person convicted of a violent crime must serve 85 percent of the sentence. The change virtually abolished "good time." For his work in passing the legislation, Kennard received the "Crime Fighter of the Year" award from the organization Victims and Citizens Against Crime. He was also recognized by the Law Enforcement Association of America for his support of local, state, and national law enforcement in authoring and passing the first legislation in the nation to protect officers injured on the job by inmates. ALEC considers this model legislation. Kennard was a strong supporter of former East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Elmer Litchfield, a Republican who served for twenty-three years before retiring late in 2006.

In 2005, Kennard was among twenty-one legislators who toured areas ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. The lawmaker said: "To me, it just looks like swampland. There's not even the remnants of homes for blocks ... I think it should make all of us humble. It should make all of us sympathetic. It should make all of us thankful for what we have been spared." The legislators toured the area three days before they convened for a special session called by Democratic Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco to consider hurricane-recovery issues.

Kennard was active in the successful campaign to separate Central City public schools from the East Baton Rouge Parish system. He also worked to procure funding for roads in his district and to finance the diversion canal of the Comite River.[9]

Term-limited, Kennard could not seek a ninth four-year term in the primary held on October 20, 2007. Both of the state House candidates who entered the primary are Republicans. Clifton S. Richardson, an East Baton Rouge Parish businessman, justice of the peace, and friend of Kennard's, defeated Edward "Clarke" Clark, 8,610 (67 percent) to 4,193 (33 percent).[10]

DeathEdit

Kennard died in Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge from the effects of the rupture of a brain aneurysm[9] six days before what would have been his 75th birthday. Services were held on August 8, 2011, at the Zoar Baptist Church at 11848 Hooper Road in Baton Rouge, of which Kennard was a longtime member. Interment was at the church cemetery, where his parents are also buried. His pallbearers included his three grandsons and his successor in the House, Representative Clif Richardson, along with Democratic State Senator Francis C. Thompson of Delhi in Richland Parish.[1]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e "Donald Ray Kennard". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate, August 7, 2011. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  2. ^ "Members of the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2012" (PDF). legis.state.la.us. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 29, 2009. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  3. ^ "Social Security Death Index". ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
  4. ^ "Camille Carpenter Kennard obituary". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
  5. ^ "Louisiana legislative primary returns, October 24, 1987". staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  6. ^ "Louisiana legislative primary returns, October 19, 1991". staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  7. ^ "Louisiana legislative primary returns, October 4, 2003". staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  8. ^ "Kennard elected to national post". house.legis.state.la.us. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  9. ^ a b "Former state Rep. Donald Ray Kennard hospitalized". wlox.com. Retrieved August 7, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "Louisiana primary election returns for state legislature, October 20, 2007". staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved August 7, 2011.