Sam Houston Jones 1940-1944
Born: July 15, 1897 in Merryville, Louisiana
Political Affiliation: Democrat
Religious Affiliation: Methodist
Career Prior to Term: City Judge
How He Became Governor: Elected in 1940
Career after Term: Remained active in politics as an advisor to candidates and officials
Died: February 8, 1978 in Lake Charles, Louisiana
Sam Jones broke the 12-year hold on the Governor's office enjoyed by the Long faction in Louisiana politics. Following the "Louisiana Scandals" of 1939 which focused voters' attention on the corruption of Long's followers, Jones won the gubernatorial election of 1940 defeating Earl Long. Jones had no experience in state government but promised - and delivered - an honest administration.
He enacted civil service legislation, established competitive bidding for state purchases, and abolished the practice of annual voter registration. Jones governed during wartime, a difficult period to administer new policies. The reduction of executive power further hindered him.
Jones did continue several of the Long programs including free lunches for school- children, equal pay for black and white teachers, increased funding of state colleges and aid to the blind, elderly and indigent families. Chiefly, he restored state and national respect for Louisiana.
Jones did not build a political dynast y. He ran again in 1948, against Earl Long but, as one historian wrote, "Long outpromised Jones." Jones' heritage of good government continues in a group he helped found, the Public Affairs Research Council.
He died in Lake Charles in 1978.