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Gerald Theunissen Edit Profile

officer , politician , member of the Louisiana House of Representatives , member of the Louisiana State Senate

Gerald Joseph Theunissen, or Jerry Theunissen , is the vice president of Jeff Davis Bank in Jennings, Louisiana, USA, and served as a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from District 37 and as the state senator from District 25 .

Background

Theunissen, Gerald was born on August 19, 1933.

Education

Theunissen graduated in 1951 from Jennings High School in Jennings, the seat of Jefferson Parish. He attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, then the University of Southwestern Louisiana, but he received his bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Career

He was term-limited in 2007 from seeking a fourth term in the upper chamber of the legislature. Theunissen was elected twice to the House in 1991 and 1995 and in his first state Senate race in 1996 as a Democrat. He was also succeeded by a Republican, Dan Morrish.

He is a retired lieutenant colonel from the United States Air Force, in which he served from 1953 to 1974. He has been active in Jennings civic and community affairs, including membership on the Louisiana Advisory Commission on Pesticides from 1985 to 1991. In 1985, the Jennings Rotary International gave him its "Outstanding Community Service Award".

He has served on the Jennings Industrial Development Board and as state director of the National Agricultural Aviation Association, the interest group of crop dusters. He is also a past president of the Greater Jennings Chamber of Commerce. Theunissen, who is Roman Catholic, is wed to the former Patricia Reaud (born ca 1929).

In 1987, Theunissen forced incumbent Democratic Representative James P. Martin into a runoff election. Though Martin prevailed, 5,918 (512 percent) to Theunissen's 5,631 (488 percent), he retired from the House in 1992. Theunissen again ran, having defeated fellow Democrat Andy Buisson of Jennings, in the 1991 primary, 9,549 (605 percent) to 6,243 (395 percent).

In 1995, he was unopposed for his second House term, of which he served less than a year before moving up to the Senate. When Governor Murphy J. "Mike" Foster, Jr., named Democratic state Senator Cecil J. Picard as education secretary, a special election was held on August 24, 1996, to begin the process of choosing a successor to Picard. Theunissen led the contest with 7,086 votes (295 percent).

In second place was the lone Republican on the ballot, party chairman Mike Francis, with 6,112 votes (255 percent). Four other Democrats shared the remaining but crucial 45 percent of the ballots. In the runoff election, Theunissen defeated Francis, 20,320 (557 percent) to 16,172 (443 percent).

Theunissen was unopposed for his second and third Senate terms in the primaries of 1999 and 2003. In addition to Jefferson Davis Parish, District 25 includes portions of Acadia, Calcasieu, Cameron, and Vermilion Parishes. Because of his long-term legislative interest in education, Governor-elect Bobby Jindal named Theunissen to his educational transition advisory council.

Politics

Democratic Party, Republican Party.

Membership

Member of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Jennings Industrial Development Board, Welsh & Lake Arthur Chamber of Commerce, Retired Officers Association, Jefferson Davis Rice Growers Association, Jefferson Davis Farm Bureau, America Legislature Exchange Council, Greater Jennings Chamber of Commerce (president), National & Louisiana Agriculture Aviation Associations.

Connections

Married Pat Reaud Theunissen.

spouse:
Pat Reaud Theunissen.