John Bel Edwards

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John Bel Edwards
John Bel Edwards Wikipedia Photo fl h.jpg
Minority Leader of the Louisiana House of Representatives
Assumed office
January 9, 2012
Preceded by Jane Smith
Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives
from the 72nd district
Assumed office
December 2008
Preceded by Robby Carter
Personal details
Born (1966-09-16) September 16, 1966 (age 49)
Amite, Louisiana, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Donna Hutto
Alma mater United States Military Academy
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
Religion Roman Catholicism

John Bel Edwards (born September 1966 in Amite, Louisiana) is a Democratic member of the Louisiana House of Representatives, representing the 72nd District since 2008. Edwards is running for Governor of Louisiana in 2015.

Early life and career[edit]

Edwards grew up in Amite, Louisiana, the son of Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Frank M. Edwards Jr, a member of the administration of Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards (no relation).[1] John Bel Edwards graduated from Amite High School in 1984 as valedictorian.[1] In 1988, Edwards received a bachelor's degree in engineering from the United States Military Academy, where Edwards served as vice chairman of the panel that enforced the West Point honor code.[1] Edwards then served for eight years as an Army Ranger, cutting his army career short due to family considerations.[1] Edwards returned to Louisiana, where he earned a law degree from the Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center in 1999. John Bel Edwards is a practicing attorney with the Edwards & Associates Law Firm in Amite.[2] As an attorney, Edwards handles a variety of cases, although he cannot practice criminal law due to his brother's status as the local sheriff.[1]

Legislative career[edit]

In 2008, Edwards ran for a seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives. Edwards was forced into a general election run-off with fellow trial lawyer George Tucker.[3] Edwards was overwhelmingly elected, winning every parish in the district.[4] Edwards was the only freshman lawmaker to chair a committee in the legislature. Edwards chairs the Veterans Affairs Committee in the House. Edwards was also selected as chairman of the Democratic house caucus, a rarity for a freshman legislator. Edwards became a critic of Governor Bobby Jindal for the governor's frequent trips away from Louisiana to raise political funds for Republicans elsewhere while Louisiana has been reducing its funding for higher education.

In 2011, Edwards was re-elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives, having defeated opponent Johnny Duncan, 83 to 17 percent.[5] Edwards declined to challenge Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal in the 2011 gubernatorial election.[6] Edwards serves as chairman of the Louisiana House Democratic Caucus, making him the Louisiana House Minority Leader.[7] Cities/towns that Edwards represents include Amite, Greensburg, and Kentwood as well as part of Hammond.

On February 21, 2013, Edwards announced that he would run for Governor of Louisiana in 2015. He said that the state needs "a healthy dose of common sense and compassion for ordinary people".[8]

Donna Hutto Edwards and husband John Bel Edwards at the 2015 Chefs Evening fundraising event for Southeastern Louisiana University

Personal life and family[edit]

Edwards and his wife, the former Donna Hutto, have two daughters (Sarah Edwards and Samantha Edwards) and one son (John Miller Edwards). John Bel Edwards is a regular parishioner of Saint Helena Roman Catholic Church in Amite.[9] Edwards is the brother of Southeastern Louisiana University mathematician and Independence, Louisiana chief of police Frank Millard Edwards,[10][11] as well as Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel H. Edwards. Edwards is brother-in-law to 21st Judicial District Court Juvenile Judge Blair Edwards (née Downing), a Republican. On February 1, 2014, Edwards and other members of his Tangipahoa Parish political family were inducted as a group into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield. On February 1, 2014, Edwards and other members of his Tangipahoa Parish political family were inducted as a group into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield.


  1. ^ a b c d e Sentell, Will (22 September 2015). "Democratic State Representative John Bel Edwards". The New Orleans World Advocate. Retrieved 30 September 2015. 
  2. ^ "Edwards & Assoc Law Firm Amite, LA, 70422 -". Retrieved 2012-11-17. 
  3. ^ "George R Tucker: Hammond, LA Lawyer, Lawyer, Attorney, Attorneys". Retrieved 2012-11-17. 
  4. ^ David, Brennan (2007-11-18). "John Bel Edwards claims strong win". Hammond Daily Star. Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  5. ^ Edwards, John Bel (2010-10-23). "AWOL Jindal: Guv galavants while Louisiana languishes". Daily Star (Hammond, Louisiana). p. 5A. 
  6. ^ Millhollon, Michelle (2010-11-14). "Any challengers?". Advocate (Baton Rouge). pp. 1A, 6A. Retrieved 2010-11-14. 
  7. ^ "Louisiana House of Representatives - Internet Portal". 2006-09-01. Retrieved 2012-11-17. 
  8. ^ Adelson, Jeff (10 February 2013). "John Bel Edwards announces he is running for governor in 2015". The New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  9. ^ Amite, seat of Tangipahoa Parish, was originally in that part of the church parish of Saint Helena which in 1869 was carved out of Saint Helena Parish to form the civil parish of Tangipahoa.
  10. ^ "Mathematics Faculty". Retrieved 2012-11-17. 
  11. ^ "Departments". Retrieved 2012-11-17. 

External links[edit]