“The number of tips received by the Lafayette Police Department has decreased and it is no longer feasible to answer the tips line 24 hours.” Cpl. Paul Mouton
Public Service Commissioner Jimmy Field announced Friday morning that he will retire at the end of his term on Dec. 31.
Field, 72, joined the PSC in 1996. He has several times served as chairman of the five-elected members of the PSC that regulates private utility, trucking and telecommunications companies operating in Louisiana.
A few weeks ago, Field planned to run for a third six-year term in the Nov. 6 election, which he said at the time would be his last. But over the past few weeks, Field said Friday, he started reconsidering that position.
“I just feel like the passion wasn’t there,” Field said in an interview before boarding a plane for Peru. “I never did anything that I didn’t do at 100 percent.”
Field said it would have been unfair to wait until after his vacation to announce his intentions. That would have left candidates only a month or so before qualifying Aug. 15 to make plans, make connections and raise money, he said.
All the money contributed thus far to his campaign will be returned to donors, he said.
The PSC historically has been used as stepping stone to higher office. Govs. Huey Long, John McKeithen and Kathleen Blanco served on the PSC early in their careers.
Several legislators and cabinet level officials have been named as possible candidates. But none of them returned phone calls. Ed Roy, a Lafayette businessman, already has announced plans to run for PSC District 2.
Field represents nearly 1 million people living in parts of East Baton Rouge, Iberville, Livingston, West Baton Rouge and St. Martin parishes as well as East Feliciana, Iberia, Lafayette, Lafourche, St. Mary, Terrebonne and West Feliciana parishes.
“He’s always very careful, very cautious. But he has never been afraid to take on the large utility companies on behalf of the consumers, said PSC Commissioner Lambert Boissiere III, of New Orleans. He represents parts of East Baton Rouge and of much Ascension parishes.
Field said he would continue to work at his part-time law practice and would remain active in public life.
Field said he is most proud that under his watch, PSC reviews of the costs that go into what utility companies charge customers on their monthly bills have led to $2 billion in refunds and rate reductions. “I am especially proud that Louisiana’s residential electric rates are currently among the lowest in the nation,” Field said.
“We’re going to miss Jimmy Field a lot,” said PSC Chairman Foster Campbell, of Bossier Parish. “He always had the consumers in mind. But he wanted to be fair to the big companies.”
“I was honestly surprised to hear that Commissioner Field decided to retire, but I certainly respect and understand his decision,” said Bill Mohl, president and chief executive officer of the two Entergy subsidiaries operating in Louisiana, in a prepared statement. “I have had the opportunity to work with Jimmy over my 10 years at Entergy and appreciate his wisdom, guidance and leadership. I certainly wish Jimmy the best as he enters this new season of his life and congratulate him on his numerous accomplishments as a PSC commissioner over the past 15 years.”
A native of New Jersey, Field moved as a small child to Baton Rouge. He graduated from University High School and was a quarterback and outfielder for LSU teams in the early 1960s.
He has practiced law since 1966, primarily in the areas of real estate law, public utility law, commercial law plus labor and employment law. He served as an NFL player representative from 1983 to 2007.
Field won re-election in 2000 with 68 percent of the 139,149 votes cast.
Field won the 1996 election to replace Blanco on the commission with 52 percent of 344,919 votes cast.