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Jean Doerge

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Subject: Natchitoches, Louisiana, Northwestern State University, Everett Doerge, Webster Parish School Board
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Jean Doerge

Jean McGlothlin Doerge
State Representative Jean Doerge greets friends at a Minden High School alumni gathering.
Louisiana State Representative from District 10 (Webster Parish)
In office
1998 – January 9, 2012
Preceded by Everett Gail Doerge
Succeeded by Harlie Eugene "Gene" Reynolds
Personal details
Born (1937-06-04) June 4, 1937 (age 77)
Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Everett Doerge (married 1957-1998, his death)
Children One daughter, Sherie Doerge Lester
Occupation Retired educator
Religion United Methodist

Jean McGlothlin Doerge (born June 4, 1937) is a retired school teacher and a Democratic former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from Minden, who represented District 10 (Webster Parish) from the death in 1998 of her husband, Everett Doerge, until January 9, 2012. In 2007, her colleagues named her to the House Appropriations Committee, a key panel that approves state spending. While in the legislature Doerge (pronounced DURR GHEE) was a member of the Hurricane Katrina Memorial Commission and the Democratic Caucus.

Early years, education, family

She was born to Thomas McGlothlin (1903–1966) and the former Cora Vercher (1904–1975) in tiny Galbraith in Natchitoches Parish in Central Louisiana. She was the middle child in a family of seven daughters. She graduated from Cloutierville High School in Natchitoches Parish. Thereafter, she attended Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, where she met Everett Doerge, a native of Minden. They married in August 1957, and both graduated in 1958. Later, she received her master's degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and thirty additional hours of credits in professional education from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston.

Doerge first taught at Minden High School when it was ranked among the ten best schools in the state. For several years, the Doerges moved around, having been teachers for two years in Arp in Smith County. Texas. When Everett went to Northwestern as an assistant coach, Jean worked in an office in Natchitoches. Later, she resumed teaching in the town of Cotton Valley in Webster Parish.

In March 1965, the Doerges adopted their daughter, Sherie, now a Minden High School educator who is married to Kevin Lester. Sherie and Kevin have two sons. In 1966, Mrs. Doerge returned to Minden High School and worked in the business education department there until 1992, when both she and her husband retired. In 1985, she was named "Louisiana Business Educator of the Year."[1]

Campaigns and elections

Everett Doerge then ran for the Louisiana House, winning by only seventy-one votes over the Republican incumbent Eugene S. Eason of Springhill in northern Webster Parish.

Doerge was a big reelection winner in 1995, when he defeated two Republican women. He died near the end of his second term. Jean, widowed at the age of sixty-one, ran in the special election to succeed him and was an easy winner. She polled 3,048 votes (67 percent) to defeat the Democrat-turned-Republican Garland Mack Garrett, an oil company owner from Springhill born in 1942,[2] who obtained 1,481 ballots (33 percent). She was subsequently elected without opposition to full terms in 1999 and 2003. Doerge is the third woman to succeed her husband in the Webster Parish state House seat. Lizzie P. Thompson and Mary Smith Gleason were both named to the seat by Governor Earl Kemp Long in 1951 and 1959, respectively, when their husbands, C.W. Thompson and E.D. Gleason, died in office. Unlike Doerge, neither Thompson nor Gleason sought to hold the seat for a term of her own.

Legislative accomplishments

In 2001, Mrs. Doerge worked to establish a special district to authorize the creation of a fire and emergency training service district, only the second created in Louisiana. She helped various residents in the Dubberly community in south Webster Parish obtain water service when their wells went dry. She also helped to secure a grant for the Cotton Valley water system.

She has worked to obtain services for Springhill. In 2002, she helped the Springhill Medical Center obtain placement in the Rural Hospital Coalition, a move which enabled the facility to obtain additional funds. She pushed for the designation of a tourism center in Springhill, with appropriate directional signs to the new facility. She also worked for a jogging trail in Frank Anthony Park and for the funding to renovate the Spring Theater.

She pushed successfully for funding to relocate the Northwest Louisiana Technical College (formerly the Northwest Louisiana Vocational-Technical School) in Minden to a new campus off the Interstate 20 service road, which opened in 2013.

Doerge pulled strings to obtain special surgery in St. Louis, Missouri, for a cerebral palsy patient, 5-year-old Jeremy Logan Curtis. Had she not acted, the child would have been a permanent invalid. The surgery was successful, and the child was thereafter able to walk and play and faces a bright future.

Doerge's alma mater, NSU, inducted her into the College of Business Hall of Distinction. Her name is engraved on a plaque located in the foyer of Russell Hall. The Louisiana Police Jury [equivalent of county commission in other states] Association presented her with its "Friends of the Parishes" award.

A cancer survivor

Doerge is a breast cancer survivor. In an interview with Juanita Agan of the Minden Press-Herald, the Methodist Doerge attributed her recovery to the will and love of God and His answer to her prayers for strength and endurance, the care of her physicians, the love of her family, and the concern of friends. Late in 2004, she was declared cancer-free.

Reelection in 2007

Doerge easily retained her seat in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 20, 2007. She received 6,681 votes (57 percent) to 4,133 (35 percent) for the conservative Republican Ronnie Lavelle Broughton (born 1942) of Minden, the then president of the Webster Parish School Board. An African American candidate, Terrell Mendenhall of Cullen, polled 915 ballots (8 percent). Broughton had committed to the victorious Republican gubernatorial candidate Bobby Jindal, but Doerge had proclaimed her neutrality in the governor's race in which her former legislative colleague, Foster Campbell, was also a candidate.

In his campaign, Broughton questioned why Louisiana Highway 371 remains a two-lane road. He had promised if elected to "bring transportation dollars home to our area." Broughton also proclaimed himself a pro-life candidate: "Life starts at conception, marriage is between a man and woman, and the Second Amendment should be protected and held sacred."

Term-limited in 2011

Doerge was term-limited in 2011. In the primary election held on October 22, three Republicans, Ronnie Broughton making a second bid for the seat, businessman and former banker Gerald Holland of Springhill, and educator and businesswoman Jeri de Pingre of Minden, and a Democrat, Harlie Eugene "Gene" Reynolds of Dubberly, sought to succeed Doerge.[3]

U.S. Senator David Vitter's campaign organization, the Louisiana Committee for a Republican Majority, has urged primary voters to support either Broughton or Holland but omitted de Pingre from the recommended choices.[4] Area Democrats, including Doerge, endorsed Reynolds, who like Doerge is a former educator.

Reynolds led the four-candidate field with 3,725 votes (39 percent), and de Pingre trailed with 2,498 votes (26.1 percent). Both candidates backed by Senator Vitter finished out of the running. Gerald Holland received 2,131 votes (22.3 percent), and Ronnie Broughton, Doerge's opponent from 2007, trailed with 1,205 votes (12.6 percent).[3]

In the general election held on November 19, 2011, Reynolds defeated Republican de Pingre, 4,232 votes (54.7 percent) to 3,508 votes (45.3 percent).[5] He hence succeeded Doerge on January 9, 2012.


Minden Press-Herald, June 1, 2007

Preceded by
Everett Doerge
Louisiana State Representative from District 10 (Webster Parish; in 2012, Webster Parish and one precinct in Bossier Parish)

Jean McGlothlin Doerge

Succeeded by
Harlie Eugene "Gene" Reynolds
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