Paul Hardy

Hon. Paul Hardy

Former Lieutenant Governor, Louisiana

Paul Jude Hardy (born October 18, 1942) is a Baton Rouge attorney who was the first Republican to have been elected lieutenant governor of Louisiana since Reconstruction. He served in the second-ranking post from 1988-1992.

Hardy's parents were Florent Hardy, Sr., (1913-2003) and the former Agnes Angelle. He graduated from Cecilia High School in St. Martin Parish in 1960 and from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (then the University of Southwestern Louisiana), in 1965. While Hardy was on the USL track team, he won the Gulf States Conference high jump competition two years in a row.

In 1966, Hardy received his law degree from Loyola University in New Orleans, and at the age of 23 he began practicing law in St. Martinville with the firm Willis and Hardy.

In 1972 he was elected in an upset as a Democratic state senator for Iberia and St. Martin parishes. The defunct Baton Rouge State Times named him the “Outstanding Newcomer” of the year after his first legislative session.

In 1975, he was elected, again as a Democrat, as secretary of state in another upset. An opening appeared when Secretary of State Wade O. Martin, Jr., who was then a Democrat but later switched to the Republican Party, stepped down to launch an unsuccessful gubernatorial attempt. Hardy came from behind to beat his fellow Democratic opponent, State Representative P.J. Mills of Shreveport. In the primary, Mills had led with 49 percent of the vote. Hardy prevailed in the runoff -- officially the general election in Louisiana. He polled 388,780 votes (51.5 percent) to Mills' 366,510 (48.5 percent).

Because he is fluent in French, Hardy was invited to represent the United States in an international government seminar in Quebec, Canada, in 1976.