Northwestern State University president Dr. Jim Henderson said the election Monday of Sen. Gerald Long of Natchitoches as President Pro Tempore of the Louisiana Senate “gives higher education an effective and influential advocate at the highest level of state government.”
Henderson said Long, who was elected last year without opposition to a third term in the Senate, “has a deep appreciation for the importance of colleges and universities in creating and maintaining a stronger and more vibrant economy for Louisiana.”
The Northwestern president said Long “is held in high esteem by his colleagues in the Senate, and that is reflected in his election as President Pro Tempore. He has established during the past eight years as Senator close relationships in government, business, industry, higher education and other realms that will assure his effectiveness in this important new position.”
Henderson, who just completed his first year as Northwestern’s president, said he has worked closely with Long “in establishing new priorities, programs and partnerships that are already resulting in enrollment growth and an expanded role for the university in higher education in the state.”
Long, a 1966 Northwestern graduate and retired insurance executive, “has demonstrated throughout his professional and political career the kind of perception, integrity, compassion and leadership that will make him an extraordinary President Pro Tempore,” Henderson said.
“It is my sincere belief that Sen. Long’s election to this second-highest position in the Senate represents a huge step forward for the state, its colleges and universities, Natchitoches and Northwestern and the extensive region of North-Central Louisiana that Sen. Long represents,” Henderson stated.
Long serves District 31, which is comprised of Natchitoches, Sabine, Winn, Grant and portions of Rapides and Red River Parishes. He has served over the past eight years on the Finance Committee, Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget, Insurance Committee, Retirement Committee, Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture and Rural Development panel, Senate Education Committee and as chair of the Natural Resources Committee.
A native of Winn Parish and graduate of Winnfield High School, Long was a teacher before beginning his long career in the insurance industry. He is also a Baptist minister and active in numerous church and religious activities. He and his wife Rose served as representatives for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in a 10-parish area for eight years.
He is a member and past president of the Natchitoches Kiwanis Club, a member of the Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce and has served on the board of directors of Northwestern’s Athletic Association.