|Donald Ray Kennard|
Louisiana State Representative for District 69 (East Baton Rouge Parish)
1976 – 2008
|Succeeded by||Clifton S. "Clif" Richardson|
|Born|| August 11, 1936|
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
|Died|| August 5, 2011 (aged 74)|
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
|Resting place||Zoar Baptist Church Cemetery in Baton Rouge|
|Political party||Democrat-turned-Republican (1995)|
|Spouse(s)||Ramona Norris "Mona" Kennard (married c. 1962-2011, his death)|
|Children|| Robin Lisa Kennard
Stacy Rae Kennard Doucet
|Residence|| Central City|
East Baton Rouge Parish
|Alma mater||Southeastern Louisiana University|
|Occupation|| Educator; Coach|
LSU assistant athletic director
- Not to be confused with Don Kennard, a former member of the Texas House of Representatives from Fort Worth, who also died in 2011
Donald Ray Kennard (August 11, 1936 – August 5, 2011) was an educator, athletic director, and state representative for part of East Baton Rouge Parish from 1976 to 2008. Originally a Conservative Democrat, Kennard switched his partisan affiliation in 1995, when he won the first of three terms as a Republican.
Kennard was born to Sterling D. Kennard (1914–1989), an East Baton Rouge Parish justice of the peace from the newly incorporated Central City community, and the former Camille Carpenter (1917–2010), one of ten children born to Maurice Carpenter and the former Bertie Ritterman. She was a homemaker and a school bus driver. Donald Kennard and his wife, the former Ramona "Mona" Norris, are the parents of two daughters, Robin Lisa Kennard and Stacy Rae Kennard Doucet, wife of David Doucet. Their grandchildren are Philip James Doucet, Samuel Sterling Doucet, Thomas David Doucet, and Camille Elizabeth Doucet.
In 1954, Kennard graduated from Central High School at which he held thirteen letters in football, basketball, baseball, and track. In 1958, he procured his Bachelor of Science degree in professional education from Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond in Tangipahoa Parish. He taught and coached at Istrouma High School in Baton Rouge. Thereafter, while he pursued his Master of Education degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, which he completed in 1960, Kennard coached the LSU freshmen basketball team.
Kennard served for ten years in the United States Air Force Reserve, having first completed basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. He was stationed at Fort Dix in Trenton, New Jersey. Afterwards for two years, he taught health and physical education at the University of New Orleans. He was a football spotter from 1958 until 2007, much of that time as a member of the LSU sports broadcasting team. In January 1963, he launched his LSU career as an academicic advisor in the athletic department, a position that he maintained for twenty-two years. Thereafter, he was for many years the LSU assistant athletic director in charge of sales and marketing.
In the 1987 nonpartisan blanket primary, Kennard defeated the Republican Michael "Mike" Harig, 10,310 votes (69 percent) to 4,693 (31 percent). In 1991, when his District 65 also included a voting precinct from neighboring Livingston Parish, Democrat Kennard defeated the Republican Kenneth "Ken" Wood, 8,092 (58 percent) to 5,908 (42 percent). Kennard was then unopposed as a Republican in 1995 and 1999. He was a big winner in the 2003 primary, when he defeated the Democrat Wade Byrd, 9,329 votes (73 percent) to 3,482 (27 percent).
While serving in the legislature, Kennard continued as the assistant athletic director at LSU. A licensed counselor, he was a past president of the American Professional Guidance Association and a member of the National Association of Academic Advisors. He is included in Who's Who in Louisiana.
In 1999, Kennard was elected secretary of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). He first became affiliated with ALEC in 1992, when he was still a Democrat. He served on the board of directors and was the organization's state chairman in 1994. He was the first national ALEC officer from Louisiana. In 2003, he was elevated to ALEC national chairman.
In 1996, as a new Republican, Kennard authored and obtained passage of "Truth In Sentencing" legislation, which mandates that a person convicted of a violent crime must serve 85 percent of the sentence. The change virtually abolished "good time." For his work in passing the legislation, Kennard received the "Crime Fighter of the Year" award from the organization Victims and Citizens Against Crime. He was also recognized by the Law Enforcement Association of America for his support of local, state, and national law enforcement in authoring and passing the first legislation in the nation to protect officers injured on the job by prison inmates. ALEC considers this model legislation. Kennard was a strong supporter of former East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Elmer Litchfield, a Republican who served for twenty-three years before retiring late in 2006.
In 2005, Kennard was among twenty-one legislators who toured areas ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. The lawmaker said: "To me, it just looks like swampland. There's not even the remnants of homes for blocks ... I think it should make all of us humble. It should make all of us sympathetic. It should make all of us thankful for what we have been spared." The legislators toured the area three days before they convened for a special session called by Democratic Governor Kathleen Blanco to consider hurricane-recovery issues.
Kennard was active in the successful campaign to separate Central City public schools from the East Baton Rouge Parish system. He also worked to procure funding for roads in his district and to finance the diversion canal of the Comite River.
Term-limited, Kennard could not seek a ninth four-year term in the primary held on October 20, 2007. Both of the state House candidates who entered the primary were Republicans. Clifton S. "Clif" Richardson, an East Baton Rouge Parish businessman, justice of the peace, and friend of Kennard's, defeated Edward "Clarke" Clark, 8,610 votes (67 percent) to 4,193 (33 percent).
Kennard died in Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge from the effects of the rupture of a brain aneurysm six days before what would have been his 75th birthday. Services were held on August 8, 2011, at the Zoar Baptist Church at 11848 Hooper Road, where Kennard was a longtime member. Interment was at the Zoar Church Cemetery, where his parents are also buried. His pallbearers included his three grandsons and his successor in the House, Representative Clif Richardson, along with Democratic the state Senator Francis C. Thompson of Delhi in Richland Parish in north Louisiana.
- Donald Ray Kennard. The Baton Rouge Advocate (August 7, 2011). Retrieved on April 25, 2020.
- Members of the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2024. legis.state.la.us. Retrieved on April 25, 2020.
- Camille Carpenter Kennard obituary. The Baton Rouge (December 14, 2010). Retrieved on April 25, 2020.
- Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 24, 1987.
- Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 19, 1991.
- Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 4, 2003.sults.sos.la.gov|accessdate=August 7, 2011}}
- Kennard elected to national post. house.legis.state.la.us. Retrieved on August 7, 2011; no longer on-line.
- Former state Rep. Donald Ray Kennard hospitalized. WLOX.com. Retrieved on August 7, 2011; no longer on-line.
- Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, August 7, 2011.
- In 2020, Francis C. Thompson, term-limited in the Senate, returned without opposition to the Louisiana House, where he had also served prior to becoming a state senator.