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 (1966-09-02) September 2, 1966 (age 48)
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 grew up in Amite, Louisiana, the son of Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff and Edwin Edwards confidant Frank M. Edwards Jr. John Bel Edwards was graduated from Amite High School[1] as Valedictorian and received a bachelor's degree in engineering from the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, in 1988. After a tour in the U.S. Army Edwards returned to Louisiana to receive a law degree from the Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center in 1999. He is a practicing attorney with the Edwards & Associates Law Firm[2] in Amite. He is the brother of Southeastern Louisiana University mathematician and Independence, Louisiana, chief of police Frank Millard Edwards[3][4] and Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel H. Edwards, and he is brother-in-law to 21st Judicial District Court Juvenile Judge Blair Edwards (née Downing), a Republican.

Legislative career[edit]

John Bel Edwards faced tough criticism from the local NAACP President Pat Morris, when she thought that, as a district which had been drawn to have an African-American majority, the 72nd district would best be represented by an African American. (As of 2013 the ethnic demographics of the district have existed since the 1970s, but the district has never been represented by an African American.)

Edwards was the only freshman lawmaker to chair a committee in the legislature. Edwards chairs the Veterans Affairs Committee in the House. Edwards also chairs the Democratic house caucus and did so as a rarity during his freshman term.

In the 2008 election Edwards was forced into a general election run-off with fellow trial lawyer George Tucker,[5] Tucker campaigned primarily on the fact that he defended a Jena Six member. Edwards was overwhelmingly elected, winning every parish in the district.[6]

Cities/towns that Edwards represents include Amite, Greensburg, and Kentwood as well as parts of Saint Francisville and Hammond.

In 2010, 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.[7] Nonetheless, Edwards indicated disinterest in being a candidate to unseat Jindal in the Louisiana gubernatorial elections during 2011.[8] Edwards serves as chairman of the Louisiana House Democratic Caucus, making him the Louisiana House Minority Leader.[9]

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".[10]

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.

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

Personal life[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.[11]


  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ "Edwards & Assoc Law Firm Amite, LA, 70422 -". Retrieved 2012-11-17. 
  3. ^ "Mathematics Faculty". Retrieved 2012-11-17. 
  4. ^ "Departments". Retrieved 2012-11-17. 
  5. ^ "George R Tucker: Hammond, LA Lawyer, Lawyer, Attorney, Attorneys". Retrieved 2012-11-17. 
  6. ^ David, Brennan (2007-11-18). "John Bel Edwards claims strong win". Hammond Daily Star. Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  7. ^ Edwards, John Bel (2010-10-23). "AWOL Jindal: Guv galavants while Louisiana languishes". Daily Star (Hammond, Louisiana). p. 5A. 
  8. ^ Millhollon, Michelle (2010-11-14). "Any challengers?". Advocate (Baton Rouge). pp. 1A, 6A. Retrieved 2010-11-14. 
  9. ^ "Louisiana House of Representatives - Internet Portal". 2006-09-01. Retrieved 2012-11-17. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ 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.

External links[edit]