Charles E. Roemer, III 1988-1992
Born: October 4, 1943 in Bossier City, Louisiana
Political Affiliation: Democrat and later Republican
Religious Affiliation: Methodist
Education: Harvard University
Career Prior to Term: Computer businessman; U.S. Representative
How He Became Governor: Received plurality in first primary and became Governor upon Edwin Edwards' withdrawal
"Buddy" Roemer won the governorship without a majority vote, a point which somewhat weakened his administration.. Roemer led in the primary with 33 percent to Edwin Edwards' 28 percent. Edwards withdrew from the election and Roemer, another in a long, but frequently interrupted line of Louisiana reform governors took office.
Roemer increased teacher pay, strengthened the Department of Environmental Quality to enforce environmental laws, and toughened the laws on campaign finance.
The legislature, however, defeated his efforts to revamp the tax system by opposing his attempt to revise property tax exemption, preferring instead to renew "temporary" sales taxes. Furthermore, Roemer's education reform program was bitterly opposed by certain organizations.
Late in his term Roemer switched parties and joined the Republicans, but never won the full allegiance of long term members of the state G0P. Despite a scandal-free administration, he failed to increase the support he received in the 1987 election. Governor Roemer came in third in the '91 campaign losing to a controversial pair of politicians who incited strong feelings--Edwin Edwards and David Duke.