Ernest Joseph "Ernie" Alexander, Jr. (May 3, 1933 – January 17, 2012), was from 2000 to 2008 a Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives for District 43 in Lafayette Parish. Prior to his legislative tenure, Alexander served a four-year term on the newly established Lafayette City-Parish Council. A former classroom teacher, he previously co-owned radio stations KMDL and KFTE in Lafayette.
Ernest Joseph "Ernie" Alexander
|Louisiana State Representative for|
District 43 (Lafayette Parish)
|Preceded by||Michael John Michot|
|Succeeded by||Patrick Page Cortez|
|Lafayette City-Parish Council member|
|Preceded by||New position created by Lafayette City-Parish Charter|
|Succeeded by||Marc F. Mouton|
|Born||May 3, 1933|
West Baton Rouge Parish
|Died||January 17, 2012 78) (aged|
|Resting place||St. John Cemetery in Lafayette, Louisiana|
|Political party||Republican Party while a legislator|
|Spouse(s)||Shirley Champagne Alexander (married 1954-2012, his death)|
|Alma mater||University of Louisiana at Lafayette|
|With apparent reluctance, Alexander yielded his Lafayette-based seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives to fellow Republican Patrick Page Cortez, a fraternity brother of then State Senator Michael J. Michot of Lafayette. In 2012, Cortez succeeded Michot in the state Senate.|
A graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Alexander was a former "Outstanding Teacher in Lafayette Parish" and "Outstanding Speech and Debate Coach in Louisiana." He was a president of the Lafayette Parish Association of Educators and penned A Programmed Guide to Teaching Radio and Television in Lafayette Parish Schools. A past president of Mid-Acadiana Broadcasting Corporation, he was affiliated with the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters. He formerly co-owned and was the general manager of KMDL and KFTE radio. He was inducted into the Louisiana Broadcaster Hall of Fame. He was also once a television weatherman.
A former chairman of the Lafayette Republican Party, Alexander also served on the elected Republican State Central Committee. He held membership in the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, the National Federation of Independent Business, Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, and the Public Affairs Research Council, a nonpartisan "good government" interest group. Alexander was active in the TEA Party movement prior to his death, and the group named the "Ernie Alexander Library" at its Lafayette headquarters in his honor.
For fifty years, Alexander was the radio voice of the Lafayette Kiwanis Football Jamboree. He was a coach and board member of the Lafayette Little League football program for twenty years. He was active in cultural affairs too, including the Lafayette Little Theatre, Acadiana Arts Council, and a past president of the Acadiana Symphony Association.
He compiled a generally conservative voting record in the legislature, both socially and economically. He worked to increase the time required for procuring a divorce on the grounds that delay may lead quarreling couples to reconcile. He also fought to bring more better-paying jobs to Louisiana.
Alexander originally campaigned in support of a two-term limit for legislators. The legislature since passed a three-term limit. Alexander considered seeking a third term but then decided to honor his own stated preference for a two-term limit.
Even before Alexander announced his retirement, his successor, fellow Republican Patrick Page Cortez had already entered the race in the heavily Republican district. Cortez is a co-owner and operator of La-Z-Boy Furniture and Stoma’s Furniture and Interiors in Lafayette. Cortez outraised Alexander 4-1 for the race before the incumbent decided not to run again. A former teacher and high school coach, Cortez has served on the Lafayette Parks and Recreation Commission. He also has name recognition from his television advertising on the Lafayette channels. He is personally close to Republicans former State Senator Michael J. Michot and State Representative Joel Robideaux, both of Lafayette. Michot, however, said that he would have remained neutral in any nonpartisan blanket primary which might have pitted Alexander against Cortez, Michot's former fraternity brother at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Also seeking the seat was a second Republican, architect Patrick Lynn "Pat" LeBlanc, another ULL alumnus and the president of LCS Corrections, the fifth largest private prison system in the United States. LeBlanc said that he would not have otherwise challenged Alexander but decided to run when the seat became open.
Cortez defeated LeBlanc, 7,742 (55 percent) to 6,218 (45 percent), to win the seat outright in the primary.
In the primary held on October 23, 1999, Alexander faced a fellow Republican, Ross Little, Jr., and a Democrat Ken Bouillion. Alexander led with 7,647 votes (46 percent) to Little's 5,005 (30 percent), and Bouillion's 3,839 (23 percent). In the general election, Alexander defeated Little, 9,109 (62 percent) to 5,615 (38 percent). Alexander was unopposed for reelection in the 2003 primary. That year, Alexander joined more than thirty legislative colleagues in endorsing the unsuccessful gubernatorial candidacy of former House Speaker Hunt Downer of Houma, the seat of Terrebonne Parish in south Louisiana.
In his election to the Lafayette Council, District 7 seat in 1995, Alexander ran as a "No Party" candidate and polled 3,772 votes (59 percent) to defeat two Republican rivals.
The Roman Catholic Alexander died at his Lafayette residence at the age of seventy-eight. He was survived by his wife of fifty-seven years, the former Shirley Champagne, and a brother, John Arlen Alexander, and his wife, the former Karen Kimball. Services were held on January 20, 2012, at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Lafayette. Entombent followed at St. John Cemetery. Three former legislators, Ron Gomez, Mert Smiley, and Raymond "La La" Lalonde, served as honorary pallbearers.
Newly established position
| Lafayette, Louisiana, City-Parish Council: District 7
Ernest Joseph "Ernie" Alexander, Jr.
Marc F. Mouton
Michael J. Michot
| Louisiana State Representative for
District 43 (southeastern Lafayette Parish)
Ernest Joseph "Ernie" Alexander, Jr.