|President pro tempore of the Louisiana Senate|
January 11, 2016 - January 13, 2020
|Sharon Weston Broome|
|Member of the Louisiana Senate|
from the 31st district
January 14, 2008 - January 13, 2020
|Born||July 9, 1944|
Winnfield, Louisiana, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Rose Landry (1966-2017)|
Valerie Aymond (2018-present)
|Relatives||Jimmy D. Long (brother)|
See Long family
|Education||Northwestern State University (BA)|
Gerald Long (born July 9, 1944) is an American politician from the U.S. state of Louisiana. He is a rare Republican member of the traditionally Democratic Long political dynasty. Specifically, he is a third cousin of the late Governors Huey Pierce Long, Jr., and Earl Kemp Long.
Long was elected on October 20, 2007, to the Louisiana State Senate District 31, which includes Grant and Natchitoches parishes and parts of Rapides, Red River, Sabine, and Winn parishes in the north central portion and western portion of the state. Long and former State Representative Rick Nowlin are the first two Republicans since Reconstruction to represent Natchitoches Parish in the Louisiana legislature. Nowlin was subsequently defeated in a revised districting plan in 2011 but rebounded the next year as the first elected president of Natchitoches Parish.
Gerald Long is the only Republican Long family member holding high office in Louisiana. Most Longites remained in the Democratic Party over the years. Another exception was the late Secretary of State W. Fox McKeithen, who switched parties and won four statewide elections as a Republican. Fox McKeithen's father, the late Governor John McKeithen, was a leading Long figure in the 1960s and 1970s, but the McKeithens were not relatives of the Longs.
Long and his twin brother, Carroll Long, were the last of eight sons born to Reuben Ray Long (1900–1966) and the former Ruby Smith (1906–1984). Ruby Smith's brother, P.K. Smith, later an automobile dealer in Winnfield, was a member of the Louisiana House from Winn Parish from 1960 to 1964. P.K. Smith's son, Mike Smith, served twelve years in the Louisiana State Senate as a Democrat from 1996 to 2008. Term-limited, Mike Smith preceded his cousin, Gerald Long, in the state Senate.
Reuben Long was originally a Winn Parish sharecropper. Long's paternal grandparents were Thomas Jefferson Long (1861–1948) and the former Mary Ella Wright (1864–1902). Gillis William Long, a former U.S. representative of Louisiana's 8th congressional district, since disbanded, was also a paternal grandson of Thomas Jefferson Long and hence Gerald Long's first cousin. An older brother of Gerald Long, Jimmy D. Long, served in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1968 to 2000 as a Democrat from Natchitoches. In that capacity, Jimmy Long became known as a leading legislative authority on education, an area which would also become important in Gerald Long's career as an educator and a motivational speaker. Another brother is Dr. William Jackson "Bill" Long (born 1940), a former planning commission executive in Alexandria, the seat of Rapides Parish, who was the publisher of "The Louisiana Business Journal" and a former weekly newspaper in Pineville known as the Red River Journal. Bill Long also owned Sunbelt Research Corporation. He ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 1983. Gerald Long was a distant cousin of former Pineville Mayor Floyd W. Smith, Jr. (1932-2010), whose mother was a Long. Floyd Smith spent his later years near his native Winnfield in Winn Parish.
In the summer of 1966, Long married the former Rose Marie Landry (September 16, 1947 – April 30, 2017), a native of Gueydan in Vermilion Parish, the daughter of Andy and Leontine V. Landry, a French-speaking couple in Acadiana. After graduation in 1965 from Gueydan High School, Rose entered Northwestern State University, where she met Gerald, who is three years her senior. Wherever the couple lived, Rose was active in Bible studies. She was a founding member of the Crisis Pregnancy Center in Rogers, Arkansas, a founding board member and first director of Life Choices in Ruston, and a board member and president of Women's Resource Center in Natchitoches. She was a member of the First Baptist Church of Natchitoches. Gerald and Rose mentored countless students and coaches for more than eighteen years through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. A prayer warrior, she formerly chaired the Governor's Prayer Breakfast Committee and sat on the Louisiana Baptist Moral and Social Concerns Committee. She chaired the "Louisiana Legends" selection committee for Louisiana Public Broadcasting. Mrs. Long died of an 11-month fight with brain cancer. Services were held on May 4, 2017, at Prather Coliseum on the NSU campus.
There are three Long children: Andrea Phillips, her husband, Gregg, of Ruston, and their sons, Josh, Sam, Jacob, and Caleb; a daughter, Pam Jordan, her husband, Wes, of Shreveport, and their sons Drew, Will, and John; and a son, Richard Gerald Long, his wife, Sheralyn of Baton Rouge, and their children, Nasby, Jude, and Ruby.
In August 2018, Long married Valerie Aymond, a lifelong resident of central Louisiana, community and business leader, and the daughter of Wade and Daisy Aymond. Mrs. Long has one daughter, Katelyn Olivia Cripps, and one grandson, Jase. They made their home in Woodworth, Louisiana, which is part of the 31st Senatorial District.
Like his brothers, Long was educated in the Winn Parish public schools. In 1962, he graduated from Winnfield Senior High School and entered Northwestern State University in Natchitoches on a football scholarship. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in education in 1966, the year that his father died. For the next four years, Long (1) taught at Houma Junior High School at Houma in Terrebonne Parish in south Louisiana and (2) taught and coached at Leesville High School in Leesville in Vernon Parish in western Louisiana.
Long left teaching to become an insurance agent, a representative of the State Farm Company. He is a lifetime member of the President's Club, which is earned by fewer than 2 percent of insurance agents nationally. While in the insurance business, Long was for nine years a volunteer for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Northwestern State University, a national organization devoted to college, high school, and junior-high students. FCA attempts to instill moral and spiritual values in young people. In July 1999, Long retired from business to serve full-time as the FCA representative for Rapides, Grant, Winn, Natchitoches, Sabine, and five other parishes.
Long has spoken before schools, civic organizations, churches, and senior citizens organizations. He has also been an interim Southern Baptist pastor for four churches in the Natchitoches area. He is considered both a fiscal and social conservative.
In April, 2018, Long was one of 10 senators who voted against criminalizing sexual abuse of animals. Despite Long's opposition, the bill passed with 25 votes in favor of the ban.
In the 2007 campaign, Long defeated the Democratic State Representative Thomas Taylor Townsend, a nephew and law partner of former State Senator Donald G. Kelly of Natchitoches. Townsend had unseated Jimmy Long in the 1999 nonpartisan blanket primary for the Louisiana House. He did not seek a third term in the House but instead ran for the Senate seat vacated by Long's cousin, Mike Smith, a Winnfield businessman. Long procured 20,609 votes (54 percent) to Townsend's 17,699 (46 percent). Long won five of the six parishes in the district, having lost only in Natchitoches, the home of both candidates. He even won in Red River Parish, one of only two North Louisiana parishes that did not support the successful Republican gubernatorial candidate, Bobby Jindal, in the October 20 primary.
Long was elected without opposition in 2011 to a second term in the state Senate. In May 2012, he indicated in an interview with The Piney Woods Journal in Winnfield that he is considering a gubernatorial bid of his own in 2015, when Bobby Jindal was prohibited from seeking a third consecutive term. However, he never sought the governorship. In that interview Long criticized a bill submitted by then State Senator Elbert Guillory, an African-American Democrat from Opelousas who later switched parties. Gillory's proposed legislation would have frozen cost of living adjustments to state retirees until an overhaul of the pension system is established. Long, a member of the Senate Retirement Committee said that the Guillory plan is "a really bad bill" and if implemented could mean that retirees might never obtain a COLA.
In 2013, Long introduced legislation to provide tax incentives to encourage the younger generation of farm families and loggers to remain in business after their parents reach retirement age. Such family businesses, Long noted, are often passed down to the upcoming generation.