Stephen Gunn

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Stephen Lee Gunn​

Louisiana State Representative
for District 22 (Catahoula, Grant,
LaSalle, and Rapides parishes)​
In office
1992 ​ – 1996​
Preceded by A. Dale Smith​
Succeeded by Thomas D. Wright​

Mayor of Montgomery
Grant Parish, Louisiana​
In office
October 2002​ – October 2010​
Preceded by John Timothy "Tim" Coolman​
Succeeded by Vera "Susie" Waters​
Incumbent
Assumed office 
November 2018
Preceded by Vera "Susie" Waters

Born May 12, 1946}​
Political party Independent
Spouse(s) Single​

Parents:
Murrell Harrison and Elizabeth Wardlow Gunn

Alma mater Montgomery (Louisiana)
High School​

Northwestern State University

Occupation Businessman

United States Air Force (1968-1972)

Religion United Methodist
Note:
  • One of Gunn's predecessors as mayor of Montgomery was his great-aunt, Lula Wardlow, the first ever woman mayor of a Louisiana community.​

Stephen Lee Gunn, known as Steve Gunn (born May 12, 1946), is a securities investor and the mayor of rural Montgomery, Louisiana, who formerly served from 1992 to 1996 as an Independent state representative for District 22 (Catahoula, Grant, and LaSalle parishes plus one precinct in Rapides Parish).[1] Gunn served as mayor of mayor from 2002 to 2010 and returned for a second stint as mayor in November 2018.[2]

Background

Gunn's maternal great-aunt, Lula Wardlow, was mayor of Montgomery from 1926 to 1930. A Democrat, she was the first woman ever to be elected mayor of any community in Louisiana. She was a Methodist minister and denominational leader.[3]

Gunn was born to Murrell Harrison Gunn (1919–1978), a Grant Parish school principal and administrator, and the former Elizabeth Wardlow (1924–2010), an English teacher at Montgomery High School and the daughter of James Owen Wardlow (1895–1980) and the former Mabel Thompson (1897–1977).[4] Gunn graduated in 1964 from Montgomery High School and in 1968 from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches. From 1968 to 1972, he was a first lieutenant in the United States Air Force. He is single.[5]

Political life

In 1991, Gunn was elected to the legislature by ninety-four votes. He campaigned on a limited budget from his own resources and knocked on the door of nearly every residence in the district. In the October 19 primary, he ran second to incumbent Democrat A. Dale Smith, but ahead of a second Democrat, Cliff Zell. Gunn received 6,087 primary votes (33 percent) to Smith's 8,538 (46 percent), and Zell's 21 percent.[6] In the general election, Gunn prevailed, 9,931 to Smith's 9,837. Gunn lost Grant Parish in the primary, but he beat Smith by some 800 votes in Smith's home parish in the general election to secure his narrow victory.[7] He did not seek reelection in 1995.​

Gunn was an Independent town council member prior to his legislative service. He led the balloting in the council election held on October 6, 1990. He served with three Democrats and a Republican, Donna Stroud Guillory (born 1962).[8] He resigned the seat to enter the legislature.​

On October 5, 2002, Gunn was elected Montgomery mayor in the primary without opposition. He succeeded the Democrat John Timothy "Tim" Coolman (born 1962), with whom he had served on the council in 1991.​[9] On November 2, 2004, Montgomery approved a one-cent town sales tax, which Gunn said would allow his community to meet rising fuel and insurance costs. The tax won handily, 194-91.[10] Gunn won a second term as mayor by a wide margin in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on September 30, 2006. He defeated the Democrat Leo Floyd Davis, 180-38 votes. The town council then consisted of two Independents, two Democrats, and one Republican, Joann B. Lary (born 1939).[11]​ Since 2014, no Democrats have served on the town council; the current makeup is three Republicans and two Independents.

Mayor Gunn had sought construction of a bridge atop the Red River at Montgomery to link the town directly to Natchitoches to the west. A ferry once used to cross the river at Montgomery ceased operating in 1960.​ He not seek reelection as mayor in the primary held on October 2, 2010. The Democrat Vera "Susie" Waters, who received 168 votes (80 percent), was elected to succeed him, and was thereafater unseated by Gunn four years later.[12]

Early in 2016, Gunn told the Louisiana radio broadcaster Moon Griffon that he opposed U.S. President Barack Obama's executive order to enhance gun control and supported Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election and another Republican, retired Air Force Colonel Rob Maness for the United States Senate seat vacated by David Vitter, whom Gunn had also backed for governor in 2015 in the unsuccessful race against the Democrat John Bel Edwards. Gunn was also critical of state Republican lawmakers, with whose ranks he had been loosely aligned while a legislator, for having supported Edwards' unsuccessful choice for Speaker though the Republican Taylor Barras of New Iberia was finally elected as Speaker.[13]

References

  1. Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2024. Louisiana House of Representatives. Retrieved on May 12, 2020.
  2. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns (Grant Parish), November 6, 2018.
  3. Wardlow, Lula. A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography: Louisiana Historical Association. Retrieved on May 12, 2020.
  4. Obituary of Elizabeth Wardlow Gunn. The Alexandria Town Talk (July 22, 2010). Retrieved on May 12, 2020.
  5. "Louisiana: Gunn, Stephen L.," Who's Who in American Politics, 2003-2004, 19th ed., Vol. 1 (Alabama-Montana) (Marquis Who's Who: New Providence, New Jersey, 2003), p. 780.
  6. Louisiana primary election returns, October 19, 1991. electionresults.sos.louisiana.gov. Retrieved on July 13, 2010.
  7. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, November 16, 1991.
  8. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 6, 1990.
  9. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 5, 2002.
  10. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, November 2, 2004.
  11. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, September 30, 2006.
  12. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns (Grant Parish), October 2, 2010.
  13. The Moon Griffon Show, January 5, 2016.

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