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Richard Ieyoub envisions NASCAR gold Mike Hasten
/ Louisiana Gannett News/Baton Rouge
Posted on September 5, 2003
Gannett Capital Bureau
BATON ROUGE -- Louisiana Attorney General Richard Ieyoub has become a NASCAR fan in recent months.
The gubernatorial candidate can't tell one driver's number from another, but he can rattle off numbers that show the nation's fastest-growing sport pumps a lot of money into the states that have NASCAR tracks.
"I'm a NASCAR fan from the standpoint of what it can do for economic development in Louisiana. It's been a tremendous economic development help for North Carolina, Florida and other states that have NASCAR tracks. The two tracks in North Carolina are a $1.5 billion industry."
A NASCAR track for Louisiana is but one economic development idea Ieyoub is promoting in his campaign, but it's the one that's stirring the most interest.
Ieyoub took office as attorney general in January 1992 after serving three terms (1980-92) as district attorney in Calcasieu Parish. He was re-elected with no opposition to his third term as the state's top attorney in 1999.
The Lake Charles native has the elements necessary to wage a major campaign for governor -- statewide name recognition, strong financial support and endorsements from powerful organizations. But whether the elements come together for a successful bid for the state's top office this fall depends on whether voters agree he has "a good message, sincerity people can relate to, experience and maturity that people appreciate," Ieyoub says.
So far, he's been endorsed by the Louisiana Sheriffs Association, the AFL-CIO, the City Marshals Association, an international police union and several other organizations, including Black Organization for Leadership Development in New Orleans.
Dr. Steve Price, who has been friends with Ieyoub since they were children in Lake Charles, recalls Ieyoub regularly quoting his role model, Winston Churchill, and having Zorba the Greek parties complete with dancing on tables after seeing the movie with their fathers.
"He has a great sense of family," the New Orleans gastroenterologist said. "He showed just how much when he gave a kidney to his brother" in 1977.
Ieyoub is "truly genuine and down to Earth," said John Litchfield of New Orleans, who said the two have known each other for about 15 years. "The thing people probably don't appreciate is how truly genuine he is and how he cares about people. For most politicians, that's unusual."
Ieyoub believes his biggest accomplishments as attorney general are "initiatives that protect our children and help our children lead a better quality of life." His office during the past 12 years won a multibillion-dollar settlement from the tobacco industry, has been recognized nationally for combating underage drinking and drunken driving, worked to reduce tobacco use by teenagers, established a statewide school safety program and created a high-tech crime unit that targets sexual predators on the Internet.
In 1995, Ieyoub married the former Caprice Brown, who was an attorney in his Lake Charles law firm and holds a doctorate in higher education administration. They have four children; he also has three children from a previous marriage.
About the candidate
NAME: Richard Ieyoub.
AGE: 59; born Aug. 11, 1944.
HOMETOWN: Lake Charles.
PARTY AFFILIATION: Democrat.
PREVIOUS GOVERNMENTAL EXPERIENCE: attorney general, 1992 to present; Calcasieu Parish district attorney, 1984-1992; special criminal prosecutor in the attorney general's office, 1972-75.
PROFESSION: attorney (private practice 1975-84).
EDUCATION: Lake Charles High School, 1962; bachelor of arts degree in history, McNeese State University, 1968; juris doctorate, Louisiana State University Law School, 1972.
FAMILY: married eight years to Caprice Brown Ieyoub; seven children: Amy, 30, Nicole, 27, Brennan, 23, Phillip, 7, Khoury, 5, Christian, 3, and Anna Michael, 7 months.