Michael G. Strain: Wikis

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Michael Gene "Mike" Strain


Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry
Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 14, 2008
Preceded by Robert Fred "Bob" Odom

In office
2000 – 2008
Preceded by R.H. "Bill" Strain
Succeeded by Pending results of November 17, 2007, general election

Born December 2, 1959
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Dr. Susan Searcy Strain
Occupation Veterinarian; Farmer

Michael Gene "Mike" Strain (born December 2, 1959)[1] is the first Republican ever elected to the position of Commissioner of Agriculture & Forestry in the U.S. state of Louisiana. Strain, an outgoing member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from Covington in St. Tammany Parish, took his new position with his state's other constitutional officers on January 14, 2008.

Contents

Background

Strain, a veterinarian and rancher, was born in Covington to Charles "Butch" Strain, Jr., and Carol Strain of Abita Springs, a small town in St. Tammany Parish. He graduated in 1977 from Covington High School. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. In 1983, he procured his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from LSU. He and his veterinarian wife, Dr. Susan Searcy Strain (born January 31, 1958), a native of Hot Springs, Arkansas, operate Claiborne Hill Veterinary Hospital in Covington. The Strains have two children, Melissa and Michael. They attend St. Jane's Catholic Church in Abita Springs.[2]

Strain, a cousin of St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain, is a former member of the Sheriff’s Office Reserves and a former commissioner for the St. Tammany Parish Fire District. He was chosen by the Centers for Disease Control as one of three Louisiana veterinarians to have been instructed in awareness of bioterrorism. Dr. Strain is a past president and board member for the Louisiana Farm Bureau and is affiliated with the Louisiana Cattlemen's Association.[3]

State representative

In 1999, Strain was elected to the Louisiana House from District 74, a conservative constituency located in St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes. In 2000, he succeeded a cousin, R.H. "Bill" Strain, a veteran Democratic lawmaker. Strain was re-elected without opposition in 2003.[4]

In the legislature, Strain chaired the Rural Caucus for two terms and was named Legislator of the Year by the St. Tammany Parish Alliance for Good Government.

Campaign critics

In the campaign, some conservatives questioned Strain's legislative votes for higher taxes, including his support for the Stelly Plan (named for former State Representative Vic Stelly of Lake Charles), a tax adjustment plan with higher taxes on owners of recreational vehicles. Strain also opposed a bill that would have required public school students in the third, fourth, and fifth grades to recite daily twelve lines of the Declaration of Independence. The bill in question did not establish a wise use of academic time, Strain reasoned. He supported expedited proceedings to grant divorces. He supported allowing convenience stores to offer drive-through daiquiri stands.[5]

Nevertheless, Strain carried the support of the conservative Louisiana Family Forum, which honored him in 2007 as one of twenty-three lawmakers so designated as an "Outstanding Family Advocate".[6]

Agriculture commissioner

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Campaign

Early in 2007, Strain entered the race for Commissioner of Agriculture & Forestry of Louisiana in 2007. He opposed the 28-year Democratic incumbent Robert Fred "Bob" Odom,[7] who in recent years had been engulfed in multiple personal corruption allegations.

Numerous newspapers endorsed Strain's candidacy. They include the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Shreveport Times, the Monroe News Star in Monroe (the seat of Ouachita Parish in northeast Louisiana) and the Alexandria Daily Town Talk in Alexandria (the seat of Rapides Parish in central Louisiana).[8] In declaring its support for Strain, the Times-Picayune said that the department is "badly in need of change. The department in recent years has run amok, particularly as it embarked on an ill-conceived and wasteful building campaign. Taxpayers are now carrying a $56 million debt risk for a syrup mill that's not meeting production projections. Yet the department sought to build a separate $135 million mill last year until public pressure helped kill the project . . . "

Strain also received the endorsement of the Louisiana Republican Party and the support of Republican U.S. Senator David Vitter, who urged voters to elect Strain in order to "move beyond our past of cronyism and corruption. "[9]

Election returns

In the October 20, jungle primary, Odom led Strain, 505,466 (41 percent) to 494,726 (40 percent). Two other candidates, Republicans Wayne Carter, a conservative member of the East Baton Rouge Parish Metro council from Odom's own Zachary, and Don Johnson, a farmer from Transylvania in East Carroll Parish, trailed with 152,872 (13 percent) and 69,469 (6 percent), respectively. The total Republican vote hence totaled 59 percent. Johnson had also run against Odom in 1987, 1991, 1995, and 2003.[10]

Less than a week later, Odom announced that he would not contest the general election. Therefore, Strain was declared the winner of the election.[11]

Electoral history

State Representative, 74th Representative District, 1999

Threshold > 50% plus one vote

First Ballot, October 23, 1999

Candidate Affiliation Support Outcome
Mike Strain Republican 10,827 (70%) Elected
Bob Ellis Republican 3,150 (20%) Defeated
Dick Donahue Republican 1,499 (10%) Defeated

State Representative, 74th Representative District, 2003

Threshold > 50%

First Ballot, October 4, 2003

Candidate Affiliation Support Outcome
Mike Strain Republican Unopposed Elected

Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry, 2007

Threshold > 50%

First Ballot, October 20, 2007

Candidate Affiliation Support Outcome
Bob Odom Democratic 505,504 (41%) Runoff
Mike Strain Republican 494,760 (40%) Runoff
Wayne Carter Republican 152,893 (13%) Defeated
Don Johnson Republican 69,470 (6%) Defeated

Notes

Political offices
Preceded by
Robert H. "Bill" Strain (D)
Louisiana State Representative from District 74 (St. Tammany Parish)

Michael Gene Strain (R)
2000–2008

Succeeded by
Scott Simon (R)
Representative-elect
Preceded by
Bob Odom (D)
Commissioner of Agriculture & Forestry

Michael Gene Strain (R)
scheduled to assume office January 14, 2008

Succeeded by
Commissioner-elect

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