|Clarence Ray Fields, Sr.|
December 14, 1999 –
|Preceded by||Leo Deslatte|
Pineville City Council
member for District 2
July 1, 1998 – December 14, 1999
|Preceded by||Charles O'Banion|
|Succeeded by||Kevin Dorn|
|Born|| November 7, 1955|
|Spouse(s)||Rosa Ceasar Fields|
|Children|| Clarence Fields, Jr.|
|Alma mater||Former J. S. Slocum High School|
|Occupation||Former power company employee|
Clarence Ray Fields, Sr. (born November 7, 1955), is an African-American politician who has been since December 14, 1999, the mayor of Pineville, Louisiana, the sister city separated by the Red River from the larger Alexandria, both in Rapides Parish.
Fields was born at the former Huey P. Long Medical Center in Pineville, a state charity hospital named for the late Governor and U.S. Senator Huey Pierce Long, Jr., which operated from 1939 to 2014. Officials have sought to place the structure, under the original name of Huey P. Long Memorial Hospital, into the National Register of Historic Places. Fields graduated c. 1973 from the former J. S. Slocum High School at 901 Crepe Myrtle Street in Pineville, now the J. S. Slocum Learning Center. He was formerly employed for twenty-two years by the Pineville-based Central Louisiana Electric Company (CLECO). He and his wife, the former Rosa Ceasar, have two children, Clarence, Jr., and Bethany Fields, and one grandchild. The family is actively involved in the First United Methodist Church of Pineville.
Prior to becoming mayor, Fields served on the Rapides Area Planning Commission and the board of directors of Rapides Senior Citizens. He became mayor when Leo Deslatte, a Republican elected in 1998, proved unable to work with the city council and resigned after less than two years into his term. Deslatte said that the political pressure was too much to make the job worth keeping. The council then appointed Fields, one of its five members, as the interim mayor. Fields was then elected to a partial term in October 2000. Unseated in 1998 by Deslatte, former Mayor Fred Baden announced that he would challenge Fields for the partial term but subsequently withdrew from consideration, and George Hearn, a Louisiana College psychology professor and former city council member, ran for mayor. Fields received 2,228 votes (65.7 percent) to Hearn's 1,102 (32.5 percent). In 2002, Fields defeated fellow Democrat Irving Wainwright, III, 2,373 votes (78.9 percent) to 636 (21.2 percent) for his first full term in office. Fields was elected without opposition in 2006, 2010, and 2014.
In 2003, Pineville won the state "Cleanest City" award for municipalities between 8,000 and 16,000 in population, an early highlight of the Fields administration. From 2000 to 2003, Fields and then Alexandria Mayor Ned Randolph joined with the Evangelical Pastor's Fellowship to host a "Minister's and Mayor's Prayer Breakfast". In 2007, Fields was elected president of the Louisiana Municipal Association by his fellow mayors, the first Pineville mayor to hold that position. He was succeeded by the first vice president, Bill Robertson, then the longest-serving mayor of Minden. Fields remains a current member of the LMA board of directors. He is vice chairman of the Municipal Employees Retirement Board.
In 2010, the city council approved Fields' choice of Donald "Don" Weatherford to succeed the retiring Terral Paul as the Pineville police chief. A veteran of the Alexandria Police Department, Weatherford reached the rank there of executive officer of criminal investigations. Until a special election held on October 19, 2013, Pineville had long been a fully prohibition city, with no alcohol available legally in the community. Voters in the 1980s maintained that stance in a referendum. Mayor Baden was particularly known for his opposition to liquor sales. Mayor Fields pushed for another referendum to permit the sale of liquor in restaurants. Nearly four years after Baden's death, the measure was roundly approved by voters in the special election, 1,849 (78 percent) to 515 (22 percent). Liquor became available in restaurants in January 2014. Fields claimed that allowing limited liquor sales, requested by area developers, would boost economic development, particularly along the riverfront. According to Fields, members of the clergy, including city council member Nathan Martin of the Christian Challenge Worship Center in Pineville, joined the call for liquor sales: "We've had a lot of conversations with our religious community, and all of the ministers I have spoken with are favorable.".
Fields said that his success as an African American in the politics of predominantly white Pineville was the continued outgrowth from the election in 1974 of Lemon "Billy" Coleman Jr. (1935-2015), a Rapides Parish black educator who won a seat on the Pineville City Council from a heavily white district. Coleman sat on the council for twenty-four years and served a stint too as mayor pro tem. Fields said that the manner in which Coleman "carried himself, his character, his diplomacy, in a lot of ways, it gave me [the] opportunity [to serve as well]." The Curtis-Coleman Memorial Bridge, the replacement for the O.K. Allen Bridge, is named for Lemon Coleman and the late state Representative Israel "Bo" Curtis (1932-2012), another African-American Democrat.
On April 25, 2016, in his "State of the City" address, Mayor Fields confirmed that Revolution Aluminum has purchased property for a plant in Pineville. He added that a railroad and an ammonia facility will locate at the former site of the International Paper Company mill. In setting up their operations, the three companies are expected to spend more than $1.5 billion and employ more than one thousand persons. Fields said that two new businesses will open on U.S. Highway 165 near the Claybrook Cottingham Expressway, a second site of the Alexandria restaurant, Quebedeaux's, and a Holiday Inn Express.
- Clarence Fields. Office of the Pineville Mayor. Retrieved on April 29, 2019.
- National Register status wanted for Pineville hospital. newstimes.com (June 24, 2015). Retrieved on July 23, 2015.
- The Alexandria Town Talk, December 10, 1999.
- Election Results. Louisiana Secretary of State (October 7, 2000). Retrieved on July 17, 2015.
- Election Results. Louisiana Secretary of State (April 6, 2002). Retrieved on July 17, 2015.
- Jeff Matthews, Pineville Mayor Fields once again re-elected without opposition, The Alexandria Town Talk, accessed=July 17, 2015
- Pineville Wins State Cleanest City Contest. pineville.net. Retrieved on July 17, 2015.
- United in Prayer. pineville.net. Retrieved on July 17, 2015.
- Minden Press-Herald, August 10, 2008, p. 1.
- LMA Board of Directors. lma.org. Retrieved on July 17, 2015.
- Chief of Police. pinevillepd.com. Retrieved on July 17, 2015.
- Rapides: City of Pineville -- Permit Alcohol in Restaurants. lasos.blob.core.windows.net. Retrieved on October 19, 2013.
- Jeff Matthews, Pineville restaurants to serve alcohol, just not right away: City Council still must make change official by ordinance, October 22, 2013. The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on October 22, 2013.
- Mike Hasten. House committee OKs Pineville alcohol plan. The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on May 16, 2013.
- Jeff Matthews (August 20, 2015). Trailblazer Coleman will "surely be missed". The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on January 8, 2016.
- Jeff Matthews (April 25, 2016). Mayor Fields optimistic about future in Pineville: Movement of aluminum plant among the good news. The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on May 4, 2016.
- Greg Hilburn (January 14, 2020). Meet Louisiana's latest political legends to be enshrined in Hall of Fame. The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved on May 22, 2020.