Jack Donahue (politician)

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John Leo "Jack" Donahue
Louisiana State Senator for
District 11 (St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes)
Assumed office
Preceded by Tom Schedler
Personal details
Born (1944-08-19) August 19, 1944 (age 73)
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Political party Republican

(1) Missing

(2) Maura Walsh Donahue (married 1989)

Six children or stepchildren

John L. Donahue, III
Parents Mr. and Mrs. John L. Donahue, Sr.
Residence Mandeville
St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana
Alma mater

Louisiana State University

Tulane University
Occupation Building contractor

John Leo Donahue, Jr., known as Jack Donahue (born August 19, 1944) is a building contractor and philanthropist in Mandeville, Louisiana, who is a Republican member of the Louisiana State Senate for District 11 (St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes). A runaway winner in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 20, 2007, Donahue, with 64.5 percent of the ballots, defeated fellow Republican Pete Schneider of Slidell,[1] a term-limited member of the Louisiana House of Representatives. Donahue carried the backing of the outgoing senator, Tom Schedler, also of Mandeville and similarly term-limited under Louisiana law. Late in 2010, Schedler became the Louisiana Secretary of State.

Early years, education, business[edit]

Donahue, a native of the New Orleans area, was born to John L. Donahue, Sr. (1920–1993),[2] a contractor, and the former Rita Marie De Lesseps (1922–1993),[2] a real estate agent and homemaker. The parents died within six months of each other. Donahue has a brother, Terrence Michael Donahue (born 1953), and two sisters, Kathleen Marie Donahue (born 1942) and Patricia Donahue (born 1956), all of Mandeville.[3] He received a degree in civil engineering in 1967 from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He then pursued graduate studies in advanced foundation design from Tulane University in New Orleans. In 1970, Donahue and his father formed Spartan Building Corporation. In 1979, Donahue started his own firm, the still extant Jack Donahue Contractors.[4] In 1986, Donahue joined his friend Robert F. Favret in DonahueFavret Contractors, Inc. The firm has sixty employees, with $70 million in annual sales. It is the largest construction company on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain. DonahueFavret clients have included Albertson’s, Pep Boys, Target, Circuit City, Lowe's, Embassy Suites, Holiday Inn, Best Western, the United States Coast Guard, and the U.S. Postal Service. The firm has garnered prestigious awards, including a citation from the Vieux Carré Commission for restoration of historic buildings in New Orleans. It has garnered the Platinum Step Award granted by his fellow contractors.[4] In 2007, Donahue received $11 million in constructions contracts from the gambling industry in Louisiana.[5]

Donahue is a founding member of local and state chapters of the trade association, the Associated Builders and Contractors and a former national board member of the organization. Donahue is chairman of DFV; his son, John L. Donahue, III (born September 28, 1966), is president, and Robert Favret is executive vice president and vice president of estimating. Donahue's second wife, the former Maura Walsh (born July 9, 1950), is the company vice president of business development.[4] Jack and Maura Donahue have a blended family of six children and, as of 2009, sixteen grandchildren. Maura is also a vice chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.[6]

Philanthropic work[edit]

Donahue has a long record of community involvement, including the American Heart Association, Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross, and the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. After Hurricane Katrina, Donahue helped bring his own employees to safety and then opened his company for the Red Cross to establish a financial aid center. From his office, more than $2 million of aid was dispatched to some two thousand persons who lined up at his door.He also established Suited for Success, a charitable organization which helped persons who had lost their business clothing from Katrina to begin the process of re-establishing themselves. The gesture was highlighted on Cable News Network's 2006 special "The Silver Lining".[4]

Donahue is active in Mary Queen of Peace Catholic Church and is a board member of the Catholic Foundation. He is a Bible study group leader at his company.[7][self-published source]

Donahue is a former chairman and board member of the "good-government" interest group, the Public Affairs Research Council. He has been affiliated with the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, and the St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce, which has honored him as "Business Person of the Year". Donahue has served on the St. Tammany Economic and Industrial Development District. With three fellow businessmen, he created the Business Congress of Louisiana.[4]

Political matters[edit]

Though he did not seek office himself until years later, Donahue said that his early interest in Louisiana politics dates to the unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign waged in 1972 by the late David C. Treen, then of Metairie in Jefferson Parish, who was defeated by the Democrat Edwin Washington Edwards. Thereafter, Treen became in 1973 Louisiana’s first GOP U.S. Representative and then governor in 1980. Upon Treen’s death in 2009, Donahue, U.S. Senator David Vitter, and others described the former governor as "the father of the Republican Party in Louisiana."[8]

In 2009, Governor Bobby Jindal named Donahue chairman of the Louisiana Commission on Streamlining Government, with Roy O. Martin, III, an Alexandria industrialist, as the vice-chairman. Donahue's House colleague, Brett Geymann of Lake Charles, is another member. On October 25, 2009, Donahue said that the state must reduce spending: "There is no doubt that we are going to have to reduce state spending, not only to deal with our short-term budget limitations, but also to move toward a more prudent and focused use of taxpayers’ dollars."[9]

In the fall of 2009, Donahue announced that he was relocating his Senate office from Covington, the seat of St. Tammany Parish, to his business address, 3030 East Causeway Approach in Mandeville. The relocation saves taxpayers the cost of rent in another building because office space is not funded if it is located on the premises of a lawmaker's private business.[10]

To win his second term in the Senate, Donahue polled more than 80 percent of the vote in the primary held on October 22, 2011, having defeated fellow Republican Gary J. Leonard.[11]


  1. ^ "Election returns, October 20, 2007". sos.louisiana.gov. Archived from the original on September 19, 2008. Retrieved November 6, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "Social Security Death Index". ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved November 6, 2009. 
  3. ^ ""Obituaries – Orleans Parish, Louisiana", updated 2005". usgwarchives.org. Retrieved November 7, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d e ""LSU Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Hall of Distinction: John "Jack" Donahue, Jr., 2006"". cee.lsu.edu. Retrieved November 6, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Terry Baquet, "Public, gaming sources of income disclosed"". New Orleans Times-Picayune, July 22, 2008. Retrieved November 6, 2008. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Chamber of Commerce: Fighting for Your Business". uschamber.com. Retrieved November 6, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Personal: Jack Donahue". jackdonahue.com. Retrieved November 7, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Debbie Glover, "Treen honored as father of LA GOP",October 30, 2009". ’’Slidell Sentry, Slidell, Louisiana. Retrieved November 6, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Louisiana Commission on Streamlining Government Budget Busters". senatorjackdonahue.com. Retrieved November 6, 2009. 
  10. ^ "State Sen. Jack Donahue moves district office, September 27, 2009". ’’New Orleans Times-Picayune’’. Retrieved November 6, 2009. 
  11. ^ "Louisiana primary election returns, October 22, 2011". staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved October 22, 2011. 
Louisiana Senate
Preceded by
Tom Schedler
Louisiana State Senator for
District 11 (St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes)

John Leo "Jack" Donahue, Jr.

Succeeded by