State Rep. Alfred C. Williams died Tuesday. He was 64.
A Democrat who represented Baton Rouge, Williams served in the House since 2011. He also had served on the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board.
“He will be missed and at this time we are lifting his family and loved ones up in prayer,” State Rep. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe, said in an emailed statement late Tuesday.
“He is going to be sorely missed,” said state Rep. Pat Smith, a Baton Rouge Democrat who also served with Williams on the School Board. “He always worked for the people.”
State Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge, said what he remembers most was Williams’ perseverance and his smile.
“During tough times, he always entered each day with that smile,” James said. “He was committed to doing the right thing, even if it was not the popular thing.”
As an example, James noted Williams’ push to redistrict Baton Rouge City Court to create three majority-black districts and two majority-white districts.
In one of his last public appearances, Williams in July criticized the state Department of Children and Family Services, whose employees had made several visits to the home of a special needs boy who later was found malnourished. The boy, weighing only 47 pounds, was discovered by a police officer.
Williams demanded the state launch a full investigation into how the boy’s case was handled.
“I went to the house,” Williams had said. “It was obvious that house was not suitable for a child to be living in.”
When he served on the School Board, he was just as boisterous. In 2003, he demanded that then-Superintendent Clayton Wilcox answer a number of demands, including: devise a plan to improve 60 low-performing schools; audit why Prescott Middle and Capitol and Istrouma high schools had so many special-education students; and apologize to the Prescott Middle faculty for threatening to fire them if the school didn’t improve.
During his unsuccessful 1999 campaign for the House seat, Williams readily admitted he was a recovered drug- and alcohol abuser. He underwent therapy in the 1980s and later served as a regional administrator for the state Office of Alcohol and Drug Abuse.
During his failed bid last year to unseat 19th Judicial District Judge Trudy White, Williams again touched on that battle to overcome substance abuse.
“It helped make me a better person,” he said, noting that by then he had 28 years of sobriety.
State Rep. John Bel Edwards, who served with Williams on the House Civil Law and House Education committees, said in an email that “Alfred fought for what matters most to our people. He fought for good jobs, access to high quality healthcare, and education. He will be missed and we will honor his memory by continuing that fight.”
Williams was a 1969 graduate of Capitol High School, a 1972 graduate of Southern University and a 1977 graduate of Southern Law School.