Long time Leesville attorney A.C. “Chuck” Dowden, Jr., has officially announced his candidacy for Vernon Parish District Attorney.
Dowden, 49, is a lifelong resident of Vernon Parish and graduated from Leesville High School in 1976.  He earned a degree in Finance-Commercial Banking from Northeast Louisiana University and a Juris Doctorate from Southern University Law Center.  He was admitted to the Louisiana Bar in 1985 and has maintained a law practice for more than 22 years in Vernon Parish.
Dowden was elected to serve as a member of the Vernon Parish School Board in 1989 and served 14 years in that position. Additionally, Dowden served as prosecutor for the City of Leesville and the Town of New Llano for 14 years. He was then selected to serve all of Vernon Parish as an Assistant District Attorney where he served for 7 years.
“My experience as both a criminal defense and prosecuting attorney has afforded me greater insight into the function of the office of D.A.,” said Dowden. He went on to say that his degree in finance and the experience he gained as Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Vernon Parish School Board, coupled with his personal business interests have prepared him to manage and allocate the resources of the District Attorney’s office.
“When elected,” Dowden said, “my door will always be open to all citizens, and I pledge that I will perform the criminal and civil duties of the office with honor and integrity.”
Three areas of major concerns for Dowden are child predators, crimes committed against the elderly, and crimes involving drugs.
Dowden stated that he will do everything possible to ensure that child predators and those who commit crimes against our elderly will receive the maximum punishment allowed under the law.  “Anyone who preys on our children and our elderly will have the full weight of the law brought against them,” he said.
“My office will have a zero tolerance policy for these criminals, and the people of our parish can rest assured that there will be no deals for these predators. Drug dealers have targeted Vernon Parish, our homes, and our youth.  Now, it’s time the DA’s office target these criminals. They will continue to be a major problem in our parish until we stop playing ‘Let’s Make A Deal.’”
“The current policy of the D.A.’s office will not solve the drug problems of tomorrow.  There must be change!  My policy is simple — You deal drugs in Vernon Parish, you had better be prepared to do the time,” said Dowden.
Another key component in Dowden’s plan is to fight the drug problem head-on by partnering with the parish’s educational system in a more effective way. “The District Attorney’s office will become pro-active in establishing Anti-Drug and Anti-Crime Education Programs in each school in conjunction with the Vernon Parish School Board and law enforcement to get our message out,” said Dowden.
“Also, I will personally declare our schools, stores, offices, and hospitals ‘Crime Free Zones’ to ensure a safe learning environment and to promote continued economic development in our parish,” added Dowden.
As a member of the board of directors of the Red River Delta Law Enforcement Planning Commission, Dowden has worked to secure more than $800,000.00 in grant funds designated for over-time pay for additional criminal patrols in high crime areas, improved surveillance and computer equipment for the Narcotics Task Force and other law enforcement agencies, as well as funding for the DARE, CASA, and Violence Against Women programs.
He and his spouse, Angie Smith Dowden, reside in Leesville. They have two children, Jennifer Michelle Dowden who is currently a graduate student at LSU, and A.C. “Trey” Dowden, III, a freshman at Leesville High School. He and his family worship at East Leesville Baptist Church. He is the son of the late A.C. Dowden and Merle Bray Dowden of Leesville.
Dowden is currently serving as President of the Leesville Lions Club and Second vice-president of the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce. He served on the Vernon Community Action Council Board of Directors from 1989 until 2004. Dowden is a 32nd degree mason and a member of the Anacoco Masonic Lodge #147 as well as the Leesville Masonic Lodge #240. He is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association and Ducks Unlimited.
“I humbly ask for each citizen’s vote and support in the upcoming election for Vernon Parish District Attorney.”
Please visit my website www.dowden4da.com.