Chas Roemer

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Charles Elson "Chas" Roemer, IV


President of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
In office
January 2012 – January 2016
Preceded by Penny Dastugue

Member of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
In office
January 2008 – January 2016
Preceded by Polly Broussard
Succeeded by Kathy Edmonston

Born February 2, 1970
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Tena Elizabeth Levatino Roemer
Children Daughter Adeline

One son
Parents:
Frances "Cookie" Demler Thomas and Buddy Roemer
Relatives:
Charles E. Roemer, II (grandfather)

Alma mater Loyola College Prep School (Shreveport)

Harvard University

Charles Elson Roemer, IV, known as Chas Roemer (born February 2, 1970), is the Republican former president of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the 11-member state body which sets and monitors education policy. A resident of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Roemer led the majority faction of the board which claimed to seek reforms and innovations pushed by then Governor Bobby Jindal and continuing state Education Superintendent John White.

Background

Roemer is the son of Frances "Cookie" Demler Thomas (born 1942) and former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer. He has a sister, Caroline Roemer Shirley,[1] and a half-brother, Dakota Frost Roemer (born 1980), from his father's second marriage to the former Patti Kaye Crocker. Roemer's paternal grandfather, Charles E. Roemer, II, was a farmer and businessman in Bossier Parish in northwestern Louisiana and the commissioner of administration for Democratic former Governor Edwin Edwards, later an intraparty rival of Buddy Roemer's. His grandmother, Adeline McDade Roemer (1923-2016) of Bossier Parish, ran unsuccessfully in 1988 for Louisiana's 4th congressional district seat, which was had been held by Buddy Roemer for seven years prior to his governorship.

Roemer graduated from Loyola College Prep School in Shreveport and from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, shortly after his father left the Louisiana governorship in defeat. He is the managing partner of Roemer, Robinson, Melville, and Company, an investment management firm headquartered in Baton Rouge. In 2001, he was named one of the “Top 40 Business Persons (then) under the Age of 40” by the Baton Rouge Business Report.[2]

Roemer and his wife, the former Tena Elizabeth Levatino (born 1972), have two children, a daughter named Adeline for his great-grandmother, and a son.

Political life

Roemer's District 6 seat on the BESE board included Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Livingston, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes. He was initially unopposed for his seat on the board in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 20, 2007. Four years later, in the primary on October 22, 2011, he led a field of three candidates, with 60,186 votes (44.7 percent). The Democrat Donald Songy, the former Ascension Parish school superintendent, trailed with 38,681 (28.7 percent). The balance of votes was held by Republican Elizabeth "Beth" Myers, 35,732 (26.6 percent).[3] In the general election on November 19, Roemer defeated Songy, 49,967 (56.8 percent) to 38,067 (43.2 percent) and won all parishes except Ascension and Washington.[4]

As he began his second term on the BESE board, Roemer's colleagues designated him as the chairman. Roemer supported letter grades for public schools, tougher evaluations for teachers, and expanded school options for students and parents.[5] Roemer's sister Caroline heads the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools, one of the options he seeks to expand.[1] Roemer himself is a founding member of The Children's Charter School, one of the first such institutions in the state.[2]

Like Jindal and White, Roemer pushed for expanded charter schools in the education reform package. Jindal also pushed for improved teacher evaluations, as had former Governor Roemer prior to 1991. Jindal's educational voucher program was cut down by a court challenge. Jindal also opposed teacher tenure, but the supporters consider the protection to be essential to shield teachers from innuendo and the spread of falsehoods and to block political interference.[1]

A frequent dissenter on the BESE board, Lottie Beebe, a Republican who also was the superintendent of schools in St. Martin Parish and an outspoken opponent of much of the Jindal-White-Roemer educational reforms.[6] Beebe was unseated in the 2015 board elections.

Roemer and Education Superintendent John White were staunch advocates of the liberal Common Core State Standards Initiative curriculum, which took effect in August 2014, despite court challenges from seventeen conservative state legislators and newly-announced opposition from Governor Jindal. Roemer said, "The message to teachers and districts in this state to be clear [is]: Common Core is law in this state and what’s what we’re going to move forward with."[7]

Early in 2013, citing his concern for national issues, Roemer considered challenging U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu in her bid for a fourth term in 2014.[5] Instead the principal Republican challenger to Landrieu was U.S. Representative Bill Cassidy, then of Louisiana's 6th congressional district, who unseated the senator in a runoff election held on December 6, 2014.

Roemer did not seek reelection to the BESE board in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 24, 2015.[8] Two Republicans, Kathy Edmonston, with 64,184 votes (47 percent), and Jason Engen, who received 25,995 ballots (19 percent), met in a runoff election on November 21 to select Roemer's BESE successor.[9] Edmonston defeated Engen, 83,849 votes (56.5 percent) to 64,523 (43.5 percent).[10]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Jim Beam (October 30, 2011). Louisiana’s Educational Establishment Is Facing Rough Times In The Next Four Years. thehayride.com. Retrieved on October 4, 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Chas Roemer Bio, Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education accessed October 24, 2013; material no longer available on-line.
  3. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 22, 2011.
  4. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, November 19, 2011.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Will Sentell (April 9, 2013). , BESE president mulls U.S. Senate race. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on October 4, 2020.
  6. Will Sentell, "Beebe, the loyal opposition on BESE," The Baton Rouge Advocate, July 29, 2013.
  7. Mike Hasten (August 17, 2014). Roemer: La. moving forward with Common Core. The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on October 4, 2020.
  8. The Moon Griffon Show," September 10, 2015
  9. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 24, 2015.
  10. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, November 21, 2015.