Former Vernon Parish state lawmaker and sheriff has died

Associate Press

Frank "Frankie" Howard, a former Louisiana state lawmaker and Vernon Parish sheriff, has died at age 81.

Howard won election as a Republican member of the House of Representatives for three terms from 2008 through 2020. He was unable to run for reelection because of term limits. Before that, Howard had been Vernon Parish sheriff for more than two decades. 

Gov. John Bel Edwards and House Speaker Clay Schexnayder confirmed Howard's death Monday. No cause of death was immediately released.

Edwards, a Democrat who served in the House with Howard, said he was ordering flags to be flown at half-staff at the Louisiana Capitol and other state buildings on the day Howard is buried. 

"His love for the people of our state and especially his district was evident every day. He genuinely cared for his constituents, and his desire to make life better for them motivated him to work hard on their behalf," Edwards said in a statement. 

In a message posted on Facebook saluting Howard's service, Vernon Parish Sheriff Sam Craft said Howard was elected sheriff in 1976 and held the job for 24 years, after previously working 15 years as a deputy sheriff.

Funeral arrangements weren't immediately available.