Woody Jenkins

Woody Jenkins bigraphy, stories - American politician

Woody Jenkins : biography

January 3, 1947 –

Louis Elwood "Woody" Jenkins (born January 3, 1947) is a newspaper editor in Central City, Louisiana, who served as a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1972 to 2000 and waged three unsuccessful races for the United States Senate.

1999 campaign for elections commissioner

In 1999, Jenkins ran for Commissioner of Elections against incumbent Democrat Jerry Fowler, whom Jenkins had alleged was part of the election fraud in 1996. Jenkins pledged to clean up elections in Louisiana and create a Voter Fraud Unit. In the primary, Jenkins ran first and fellow Republican Suzanne Haik Terrell finished in second place. Fowler ran third and was eliminated.

In the run-off between Jenkins and Terrell, the first statewide run-off between two Republicans in the history of Louisiana’s open elections system, Terrell won handily. She took office and made many changes, including creation of a Voter Fraud Unit, which successfully prosecuted numerous cases of voter fraud.

In January 2000, Jenkins retired from the Louisiana House after twenty-eight years in office. In 2002, Suzanne Terrell was a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, matched against Landrieu, in a race that also included U.S. Representative John Cooksey of Monroe and State Representative Tony Perkins of Baton Rouge, Jenkins’ 1996 campaign manager in the Senate race against Landrieu. Jenkins endorsed Perkins in the primary. In the runoff between Terrell and Landrieu, Jenkins endorsed Terrell, but Landrieu was elected to her second term.


Jenkins was born in Baton Rouge, and attended Istrouma High School, where he served as student body president and was his 1965 class valedictorian. While in high school, he worked as a radio newsman at WLCS and in college as an announcer at WAFB-TV, the CBS affiliate in Baton Rouge. While at the Louisiana State University School of Journalism, he became the conservative columnist for the LSU student newspaper, The Daily Reveille.

At age nineteen, while still in journalism school, Jenkins and his future wife, the former Diane Aker, started a community weekly newspaper, the North Baton Rouge Journal, which was honored by the Louisiana Press Association for editorial writing. Jenkins received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from LSU in 1969 and a Juris Doctor degree from the Louisiana State University Law Center, where was a member in 1972 of the Law Review.

Jenkins owned an advertising agency from 1972 to 1981, when he became executive director of the Council for National Policy. From 1985 to 2005, he was president and general manager of WBTR-TV in Baton Rouge. Since 2005, he has served as editor of the Central City News, a community weekly newspaper. At WBTR-TV, he produced a daily television news program from 1991 to 2005, Baton Rouge Today, which won first place as the Best Community News Program in the nation from the Community Broadcasters Association. The Central City News has won more than 20 national and state awards from the National Newspaper Association and the Louisiana Press Association, including General Excellence, Best Feature Writing, Best Columnist, and Best Local News Coverage. Jenkins is an inductee of the LSU Journalism School Hall of Fame.

State constituional conventiion

Jenkins was elected as a delegate to Louisiana’s state constitutional convention, which met from late 1972 to early 1974. His colleagues included fellow Representative R. Harmon Drew, Sr., future Governor Buddy Roemer and later Secretary of State and Insurance Commissioner James H. "Jim" Brown. He served on the convention’s Committee on Bill of Rights and Elections, and he authored much of the new constitution’s Declaration of Rights. The proposed constitution was approved by the delegates and ratified by the voters in a statewide election held in April 1974. Formally adopted in 1975, the document is still in effect.See Jenkins, "Declaration of Rights", Loyola Law Review, Spring 1975