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Sydney Banks Nelson

In office
1980 – 1992
Preceded by Jackson B. Davis
Succeeded by Gregory J. Barro

Born March 12, 1935 (1935-03-12) (age 75)
Shreveport, Caddo Parish
Louisiana, USA
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Gail Anderson Nelson
Children Sydney B. Nelson
Residence Shreveport, Louisiana
Alma mater University of Oklahoma

Louisiana State University Law Center

Occupation Retired Attorney
Nelson attempted to win the position of Louisiana State Senate President in 1988 regardless of the outcome of the gubernatorial election and was halted by incoming Governor Buddy Roemer, who tapped Allen Bares of Lafayette for the top position in the Senate.

Sydney Banks Nelson (born March 12, 1935) is a retired attorney in Shreveport, Louisiana, who served from 1980-1992 as a Democratic member of the Louisiana State Senate, representing District 37 (Caddo and Bossier parishes). [1]

Contents

Early years

A Shreveport native, Nelson received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1957 from the University of Oklahoma at Norman, Oklahoma. He graduated thereafter from the Louisiana State University Law Center in Baton Rouge. He was admitted to the Louisiana bar in 1963.[2]

In 1977, Nelson joined John L. Hammons to establish the firm Nelson & Hammons, a Professional Law Corporation. Cornell Rushing Flournoy (female) practices in the firm with Hammons. Located a block from the Caddo Parish Courthouse, Nelson & Hammons emphasizes medical malpractice and personal injury.[3]

Legislative service

In 1979, Nelson was initially elected to succeed the more conservative Jackson B. Davis, still a semi-retired Shreveport lawyer. Davis did not seek another term that year. In 1988, during his last term in office, Nelson launched an unofficial candidacy for Senate president. The incumbent, Sammy Nunez of Chalmette in St. Bernard Parish east of New Orleans, had been a state representative first elected in 1964 and a senator since 1968. Nelson had traveled across the state for several years prior to 1988, having visited senators in their home districts in an attempt to secure commitments for Senate president.[4]

State Representative Ron Gomez of Lafayette, in his memoirs entitled My Name Is Ron And I'm a Recovering Legislator: Memoirs of a Louisiana State Representative (2000), describes Nelson, accordingly:

"Nelson, very professorial looking with his wire-rimmed glasses, was extremely meticulous in his approach to legislation. Although I thought his voting record was too liberal and trial lawyer-oriented, I liked the way he had conducted his campaign for Senate president. He was going after the presidency no matter who was elected governor [in 1987]."[5]

Gomez said that he learned that Nelson had asked Allen Bares, a more conservative member from Lafayette, to run for president pro-tem of the Senate in conjunction with Nelson's bid for president. "That way the president would be from north Louisiana, and the pro-tem from the south. Of course, [Governor Buddy] Roemer, like Nelson, was from the Shreveport area. Their meeting with Roemer was intended, of course, to get his endorsement and support [for their dual candidacies]."[6]

Instead, Roemer picked Bares for Senate president and Jimmy Dimos of Ouachita Parish for House Speaker.[7] In Louisiana, unlike most states, the governor personally selects the legislative leadership. Therefore, Nelson's "candidacy" for Senate president had always been dependent on gubernatorial preference.[8] In 1992, Nunez returned as Senate president, as Nelson left office.

Nelson was unopposed in the 1987 nonpartisan blanket primary, the last time his name appeared on the ballot. He did not seek a fourth term in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 19, 1991. Instead, the Democrat Gregory J. Barro (born 1957) of Shreveport led the field with 11,224 votes (34 percent). Republican Ronald B. "Ron" Fayard (born October 1, 1946), a real estate associate[9] from Bossier City, trailed with 10,228 votes (31 percent). Another Democrat, Parker A. Self (born 1959) of Bossier City, and the Republican Leroy H. Scott, Jr. (born 1953), of Shreveport, received the remaining but critical 35 percent of the ballots.[10] In the general election, Barro defeated Fayard, 22,616 (58.9 percent) to 15,803 (41.1 percent).[11] Barro's victory occurred on the same day that Edwin Washington Edwards staged his fourth-term comeback in a large victory over former Ku Klux Klansman David Duke, who ran as a Republican but without the support of most party leaders. Governor Roemer had been eliminated in the primary with a third-place finish.

Nelson today

Nelson and his wife, the former Gail Anderson (born ca. 1936), have a son, also Sydney B. Nelson (born 1961).[12] Nelson is vice chairman of the foundation of the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport.[13]

References

  1. ^ "Membership in the Louisiana State Senate, 1880-2012". legis.state.la.us. http://www.legis.state.la.us/members/s1880-2012.pdf. Retrieved April 24, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Sydney B. Nelson". lawyers.com. http://www.lawyers.com/Louisiana/Baton-Rouge/Akers-and-Wisbar,-L.L.C.-590671-f.html. Retrieved April 24, 2010. 
  3. ^ "NelsonHammons". nelsonhammonslaw.com. http://www.nelsonhammonslaw.com/nelson%20and%20hammons.pdf. Retrieved April 24, 2010. 
  4. ^ Ron Gomez, My Name Is Ron And I'm a Recovering Legislator: Memoirs of a Louisiana State Representative, Lafayette, Louisiana: Zemog Publishing, 2000, p. 183; ISBN 0-9700156-0-7
  5. ^ Ron Gomez, pp. 183-184
  6. ^ Ron Gomez, p. 184
  7. ^ Ron Gomez, p. 185
  8. ^ Ron Gomez, p. 185
  9. ^ "Real Estate Guide Directory in Bossier City". realproguide.com. http://www.realproguide.com/USA/Louisiana/Bossier/Bossier-City/. Retrieved April 24, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Louisiana election returns, October 19, 1991". sos.louisiana.gov. http://www400.sos.louisiana.gov:8090/cgibin/?rqstyp=elcms3&rqsdta=101991. Retrieved April 24, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Louisiana election returns, November 16, 1991". sos.louisiana.gov. http://www400.sos.louisiana.gov:8090/cgibin/?rqstyp=elcms3&rqsdta=111691. Retrieved April 24, 2010. 
  12. ^ People Search & Background Check
  13. ^ "LSU Health Sciences Center Shreveport "Leadership"". lsuhscshreveport.edu. http://www.lsuhscshreveport.edu/index.php?src=gendocs&ref=Leadership&category=About_Us&submenu=About_us. Retrieved April 24, 2010. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Jackson B. Davis
Louisiana State Senator from District 37 (Caddo and Bossier parishes)

Sydney Banks Nelson
1980–1992

Succeeded by
Gregory J. Barro
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