|United States Senator
January 3, 1997
Serving with David Vitter
|Preceded by||J. Bennett Johnston Jr.|
|Chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources|
February 12, 2014
|Preceded by||Ron Wyden|
|Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship|
January 3, 2009 – February 12, 2014
|Preceded by||John Kerry|
|Succeeded by||Maria Cantwell|
|Louisiana State Treasurer|
January 1, 1988 – January 8, 1996
|Preceded by||Mary Evelyn Parker|
|Succeeded by||Ken Duncan|
|Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives
from the 90th district
|Succeeded by||Mitch Landrieu|
|Born||Mary Loretta Landrieu
November 23, 1955
|Residence||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Alma mater||Louisiana State University (B.A.)|
|Occupation||real estate agent|
Born in Arlington, Virginia, Landrieu was raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is the daughter of Moon Landrieu, former New Orleans mayor and Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the sister of Mitch Landrieu, the current Mayor of New Orleans and former Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana. She received her baccalaureate degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. After working as a real estate agent for several years, she was elected as a state representative (1980–1988) and state treasurer (1988–1996). She won a close race for the U.S. Senate in 1996; she was re-elected by increasing margins in competitive races in 2002 and 2008.
Landrieu is one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate, at times opposing her party's positions. She came to national attention in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 after she publicly criticized the federal response to the natural disaster. In 2005, she sponsored a Senate resolution by which the U.S. Senate apologized for its failure to enact anti-lynching legislation during the early 20th century. Her opposition to the public option played a major role in the crafting of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as she did not agree to support it until additional concessions were granted to support Louisiana's Medicaid system. In 2011, she became a cardinal (chair) of the Senate's Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. She chaired the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship from 2009 to 2014, and currently chairs the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
- 1 Early life, education, and real estate career
- 2 Early political career
- 3 U.S. Senate
- 4 Political positions
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Electoral history
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
Early life, education, and real estate career
Landrieu was born in Arlington, Virginia, the daughter of Verna (née Satterlee) and Moon Landrieu, who served as mayor of New Orleans. She was raised in New Orleans as a Roman Catholic and attended Ursuline Academy of New Orleans. While a student at Ursuline, Landrieu participated in the Close Up Washington civic education program. She graduated from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in 1977, where she was a member of Delta Gamma sorority. Before entering politics, she worked as a real estate agent.
Early political career
Landrieu was first elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1979, serving from 1980 to 1988 and representing a New Orleans district. She was re-elected to the 90th district in October 1983 with 78% of the vote. In the election of October 1987, she was succeeded in the 90th district by her brother Mitch.
On January 1, 1987, State Treasurer Mary Evelyn Parker, the longtime Democratic incumbent, resigned with nearly a year and a half left in her fifth term. Landrieu ran to succeed her in both the special and regularly scheduled elections, both held in October 1987. No Republican filed to run, so Landrieu faced only Democratic opponents. She came first on both ballots with 44%. She defeated two legislative colleagues, Kevin P. Reilly, Sr., chief executive officer at the time of Lamar Advertising Company in Baton Rouge, who came second in the special and regular elections, with 33% and 32%, respectively, and Claude "Buddy" Leach, a former U.S. Representative, who came third in both elections with 15%. Thomas D. "Tom" Burbank, Jr., son of Thomas D. Burbank Sr., former head of the state police, came last in both elections with 9% of the vote. Reilly decided not to contest a runoff election, known in Louisiana as a "general election", and Landrieu won the treasurer's position by default. In 1991, Landrieu was completely unopposed for re-election.
1995 gubernatorial election
Landrieu declined to run for a third term, giving up the treasurer's office to run for Governor of Louisiana in the 1995 election. The other major candidates in the race were Democratic U.S. Representative Cleo Fields; State Senator Murphy J. Foster, Jr., who switched his party affiliation from Democratic to Republican when he filed; Democratic attorney Phil Preis; Republican former Governor Buddy Roemer; and Democratic Lieutenant Governor Melinda Schwegmann. Landrieu finished third in the state's jungle primary with 18% of the vote, finishing 8,983 votes behind Fields, who came second with 19% of the vote. Roemer came fourth with 18%, Preis was fifth with 9% and Schwegmann came sixth with 5%. Foster came first with 26% and went on to defeat Fields in the runoff with 64% of the vote.
Landrieu was elected in 1996 to the U.S. Senate seat previously held by John Bennett Johnston, Jr. of Shreveport after winning a close and controversial runoff election. This is called the general election in Louisiana. She defeated Louisiana State Representative Woody Jenkins of Baton Rouge.
Landrieu narrowly won re-election in the 2002 mid-term election. She defeated Suzanne Haik Terrell of New Orleans. Some experts and pundits had considered Landrieu as a possible running mate for presidential candidate John Kerry in the 2004 election before he selected then- Senator John Edwards of North Carolina. In 2004 Landrieu became Louisiana's senior senator upon the retirement of John Breaux, who was replaced by Republican David Vitter.
In 2008, she won a relatively comfortable 52% to 46% re-election to a third term in a race against her challenger, Louisiana State Treasurer John Neely Kennedy. He was a former Democrat who switched to the Republican Party in 2007.
Landrieu is seeking re-election in 2014. In August 2014, Landrieu announced that she had ordered an internal investigation into all of her flights during her time in the Senate after it was reported that Landrieu violated federal law by using taxpayer dollars to charter at least four private flights to campaign events. In September 2014, Landrieu revealed that the internal investigation into her flights had concluded that she had improperly charged her Senate office $33,700 for private flights to campaign events since she had entered the Senate. Landrieu originally said the charter company mistakenly billed Landrieu's Senate office instead of her re-election campaign.
In 2002 she voted for the Iraq Resolution and in 2003 issued a statement indicating that "The time for diplomacy has ended." She voted for the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 and the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
In 2005 Landrieu sponsored a resolution, which the Senate passed in an unprecedented action, to formally apologize for its repeated failure in the early twentieth century to pass anti-lynching legislation. The Senate Southern white Democrats had filibustered the Dyer bill in 1922 and two other bills that passed the House.
Landrieu held high-profile hearings on the mistakes of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.
Subsequent to the 2006 midterm election, in which the Democratic Party gained control of both houses of Congress, Landrieu announced (along with Republican Olympia Snowe of Maine) the formation of the "Common Ground Coalition", a group of moderate senators of both parties, with the goal of finding bipartisan consensus on legislative matters.
On December 15, 2008, it was announced that Landrieu would become Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship for the 111th Congress when former Chairman John Kerry left to lead the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, previously headed by Vice President-elect Joe Biden.
In September 2010 Landrieu announced she would hold up OMB director Jacob Lew’s confirmation until the administration lifted or eased a federal freeze on deepwater oil-and-gas drilling. Her delay of Lew’s nomination came despite broad bipartisan support for appointing him to OMB. The Senate Budget Committee recommended that Lew be confirmed on a 22–1 vote.
In 2011, she became a cardinal (chair) of the Senate's Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, giving her significant influence in the funding of federal agencies like the U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security and FEMA.
On April 17, 2013, Landrieu voted to expand background checks for gun purchases.
In April 2014, the United States Senate debated the Minimum Wage Fairness Act (S. 1737; 113th Congress). The bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) to increase the federal minimum wage for employees to $10.10 per hour over the course of a two year period. The bill was strongly supported by President Barack Obama and many of the Democratic Senators, but strongly opposed by Republicans in the Senate and House. Landrieu wanted additional debate on the timeline and the raise for tipped workers. Landrieu said that "I do not believe that $10.10 an hour is too high to aspire to, but how quickly we get there and what increments, the tipped wage, how that should be handled, who should get paid the tipped wage, and who shouldn't. There are a lot of questions about that, and some of those discussions are going on."
Landrieu was opposed to the public health insurance option in the America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 (HR 3200) until the bill was rewritten to send a $300,000,000 payment to Medicaid for her home state. When two pages were added to the bill to place $300 million in Louisiana's Medicaid system, she changed her web page in order to reflect her support of the program. Conservative figures referred to the deal as the "Louisiana Purchase". As a result, prominent conservative figures Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh called her a "high-priced prostitute".
On November 21, 2009, Landrieu voted with fifty-nine other Senators to bring the health care bill up for debate. On December 8, 2009, she voted against the Nelson–Hatch–Casey amendment which proposed to ban federal funding for private plans that covered elective abortions but allowed individuals to purchase separate individual riders that would cover abortions.
Prior to a concession of $300 million being added to the bill, Landrieu responded to a question on popular support of the public option, and asserted that the option has popular support because "when people hear 'public option' they hear 'free health care'. Everybody wants free health care. Everybody wants health care they don't have to pay for."
Landrieu voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") in December 2009. In September 2013, Landrieu voted to restore funding for the ACA that House Republicans had eliminated in their version of the funding bill.
On March 1, 2012, Landrieu voted against a measure that would have repealed a birth control mandate in the health care bill.
In October 2013, she introduced a bill to force health insurance companies to re-issue plans which they have cancelled.
In the weeks following Hurricane Katrina, Landrieu and fellow Senator David Vitter co-sponsored the Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief and Economic Recovery Act of 2005 (S.1765), a 440-page aid package worth an estimated $250 billion The bill was read twice by Congress, then referred to the United States Senate Committee on Finance.
Separate legislation was passed to provide $1 billion in loans to communities affected by Katrina despite Landrieu's objection to the provision insisted on by Republicans that prohibited the loans from being forgiven. In 2007, when Democrats took control of the House and Senate, they passed legislation written by Landrieu that authorized FEMA to forgive the loans.  However, 40% of the loans were not forgiven by FEMA, which led Landrieu to insert addition provisions into the 2013 federal spending bill to forgive the remainder of these loans.
Landrieu's national name recognition rose in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as she made multiple TV appearances to discuss the response effort. She was noted in The New York Times as becoming "a national spokeswoman for victims of the hurricane" as she complained of "the staggering incompetence of the national government." She was particularly critical of President George W. Bush, who in turn was critical of her in his 2010 memoir Decision Points where he related telling her to be quiet after she interrupted him in a meeting with what he called an "unproductive emotional outburst".
Landrieu voted for the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts in 2005, but in 2006, she opposed Samuel Alito, though she did vote in favor of cloture to send the nomination to an up-or-down vote. She voted for both Sonia Sotomayor in 2009 and Elena Kagan in 2010.
USA PATRIOT Act
On August 3, 2007, Landrieu broke ranks with Democrats when she and Louisiana Rep. Charlie Melancon sided with Republicans and the Bush Administration in voting for the Protect America Act, an amendment to the USA Patriot Act further expanding wiretap powers.
In 2011, she was the inadvertent Senate sponsor of the four-year extension to the Patriot Act when Senator Reid amended a small business bill introduced by Senator Landrieu as a means of avoiding a threatened filibuster by Senator Rand Paul. Senator Landrieu joined the majority in voting for the extension, which passed 72-23.
Plot to compromise Landrieu's phone system
On January 25, 2010, four Republican conservative activists, including Stan Dai, Joseph Basel, both 24; Robert Flanagan, son of Bill Flanagan, acting U.S. Attorney in Louisiana; and conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe, were arrested by US Marshals for their role in a plot to hack the phone system of Landrieu's New Orleans office to record her and her staff's conversations. Two of the alleged co-conspirators posed as telephone repair technicians in order to gain access to the telephone system. O'Keefe admitted to secretly "recording" the interactions with the staff with his cell phone and aiding in the "planning, coordination, and preparation of the operation."
On March 27, 2010, the four were charged with entering federal property under false pretenses, a misdemeanor charge. On May 26, 2010 all four pled guilty before Magistrate Daniel Knowles III in a New Orleans federal court. Three of the four received two years' probation, 75 hours of community service and $1,500 fines; while James O'Keefe received a sentence of three years' probation, 100 hours of community service and a $1,500 fine.
- Committee on Appropriations
- Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
- Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government
- Subcommittee on Homeland Security (Chair)
- Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans' Affairs, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
- Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (Chair)
- Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
- Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
- Senate Oceans Caucus
- Senate Natural Gas Caucus, co-chair
- Congressional Coalition on Adoption, co-chair
- Senate Caucus on Foster Youth, co-chair
By national standards, Landrieu is among the most conservative Democrats in the U.S. Senate. The American Conservative Union rated Senator Landrieu as 40% conservative in 2007, which was the highest score of any sitting Democrat and higher than the scores of two Republicans. As of 2012, her lifetime rating is 21%, which is the fourth highest rating among Democrats in the Senate. For 2012 votes, National Journal ranked Landrieu as the 47th-most conservative member of the Senate, while Congressional Quarterly found that she voted in support of President Obama's positions 90% of the time. She is a member of the New Democrat Coalition.
Landrieu and her husband, attorney Frank Snellings, have two children, Connor and Mary Shannon. Landrieu and Snellings live in a $2.5 million home on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Landrieu says that when not in Washington she lives in her parents' house in New Orleans, which she lists as her primary residence although Landrieu and her husband do not own any developed property in Louisiana by themselves. Landrieu and her eight siblings own part of their parents' home through an LLC. Landrieu and Snellings paid tax penalties on the Washington home in 2005, 2006, and 2012.
|Louisiana United States Senate jungle primary election, September 21, 1996|
|Independent||Nicholas J. Accardo||10,035||0.82|
|Independent||Arthur D. "Jim" Nichols||7,894||0.64|
|Independent||Darryl Paul Ward||1,770||0.14|
|Independent||Sam Houston Melton, Jr.||1,270||0.1|
|Louisiana United States Senate election runoff, November 5, 1996|
|Louisiana United States Senate jungle primary election, November 5, 2002|
|Republican||Suzanne Haik Terrell||339,506||27.24|
|Independent||Patrick E. "Live Wire" Landry||10,442||0.84|
|Libertarian||Gary D. Robbins||2,423||0.19|
|Republican||Ernest Edward Skillman, Jr.||1,668||0.13|
|Louisiana United States Senate election runoff, December 7, 2002|
|Republican||Suzanne Haik Terrell||596,642||48.30||-1.53|
|Louisiana United States Senate jungle primary election, November 5, 2008|
|Republican||John Neely Kennedy||867,177||45.72||-2.58|
- AP News Pronunciation Guide
- Paul C. Barton (30 April 2013). "Southern Democratic senators fighting conservative tide". USA Today.
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- Louisiana Secretary of State Official Election Results Results for Election Date: 10/22/1983
- Louisiana Secretary of State Official Election Results Results for Election Date: 10/24/1987
- http://staticresults.sos.la.gov/10241987/10241987_Statewide.html Louisiana Secretary of State Official Election Results Results for Election Date: 10/24/1987
- http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=263724 LA State Treasurer 1987
- http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=226158 LA State Treasurer 1991
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- Associated Press, "Senate Apologizes for Not Passing Anti-Lynching Laws", Fox News
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- Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief and Economic Recovery Act
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- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Project Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mary Landrieu.|
Mary Evelyn Parker
|Louisiana State Treasurer
|Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
|Chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
|United States Senate|
Bennett Johnston Jr.
|U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Louisiana
Served alongside: John Breaux, David Vitter
|United States order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|United States Senators by seniority