Buddy Elson Roemer III (R)

Charles "Buddy" Elson Roemer III was born and raised outside Shreveport, Louisiana, a state with a long political tradition of radical reconstruction. At the age of 16, he graduated high school top in his class, earning a spot in the freshman class at Harvard College where he earned a BS in Economics and later an MBA in Finance at the Harvard Business School. After leaving Harvard, and a small stint at his father's computer business, he began his political career with state-level campaigns. Roemer also became a delegate to the constitutional convention in his state where he helped write the Louisiana Constitution. Buddy then served four terms as U.S. Congressman (1981-1988) as a Conservative Democrat, often breaking ranks with his party. As Congressman, he never accepted special interest money, remaining free from the "special favors" expected of Congressmen by their  corporate campaign contributors.

Buddy, set on ousting the corrupt incumbent Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards, left Congress to challenge Edwards. Through scholarship, hard work, independent thinking, and a zeal for reforming government – without the help of PAC money – "The Roemer Revolution" successfully ousted Edwards. When Roemer entered the Governor's mansion in 1988, Louisiana's ties to industry had helped make it one of the most polluted states in the country. Unemployment was high, and the state was burdened with a huge deficit. During his tenure, strict environmental protections were enacted, unemployment in the state dropped by nearly half, the state budget was balanced, education accountability standards were enacted,and sweeping campaign finance reform legislation was passed and enacted.

Buddy left public office in 1992, and has pursued a variety of business ventures, most recently as the founder, CEO, and President of Business First Bank, a community bank with approximately $650 million in assets. With a focus on small business lending, Business First Bank took no bailout money from the Federal Government, and restructured loans after the financial crisis of 2008 instead of foreclosing on homeowners. He currently lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Scarlett, and is the father of three children.