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PASSINGS / Dave Treen

Ex-governor of Louisiana

November 04, 2009|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Dave Treen, 81, who in 1979 became the first Republican governor of Louisiana since Reconstruction but lost a reelection bid to the controversial Democrat Edwin Edwards four years later, died Thursday of complications from a respiratory illness, said his son David Treen Jr.

Treen did not have to face Edwards in 1979 because the popular governor couldn't run for three consecutive terms. Treen defeated Louis Lambert but lost in a landslide four years later to Edwards, who is serving a 10-year sentence for trying to rig the riverboat casino licensing process during his fourth term.

Treen's term was marked by a downturn in Louisiana's oil economy, with prices and production falling, cutting sharply into the state's revenue.

David Connor Treen was born in Baton Rouge, La., on July 16, 1928, and graduated with honors from Tulane Law School in 1960. He was an Air Force lawyer, then had a private practice in New Orleans.

Treen lost three times to Rep. Hale Boggs, attacking his support of the Voting Rights Act. Treen was elected to Congress in 1972 in a suburban New Orleans district.

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