John Kennedy (Louisiana politician)
|United States Senator|
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2017
Serving with Bill Cassidy
|Preceded by||David Vitter|
|Treasurer of Louisiana|
January 10, 2000 – January 3, 2017
John Bel Edwards
|Preceded by||Ken Duncan|
|Succeeded by||Ron Henson (Acting)|
|Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Revenue|
|Succeeded by||Brett Crawford|
John Neely Kennedy
November 21, 1951
Centreville, Mississippi, U.S.
|Political party||Republican (2007–present)|
|Democratic (before 2007)|
|Education||Vanderbilt University (BA)|
University of Virginia (JD)
Magdalen College, Oxford (BCL)
John Neely Kennedy (born November 21, 1951), is an American lawyer and politician who has served as the junior United States senator from Louisiana since 2017. A Democrat turned Republican, he served as the Louisiana State Treasurer from 2000 to 2017.
Born in Centreville, Mississippi, Kennedy graduated from Vanderbilt University and the University of Virginia School of Law before attending Magdalen College, Oxford. He was a member of Governor Buddy Roemer's staff before running for state attorney general in the 1991 election. In 1999, he was elected Louisiana State Treasurer; he was reelected to that position in 2003, 2007, 2011, and 2015. Kennedy was an unsuccessful candidate for U.S. Senate in 2004 and 2008. In 2007, he switched parties and became a Republican.
In 2016, when U.S. Senator David Vitter opted not to seek reelection, Kennedy once again ran for Senate. He finished first in the November nonpartisan blanket primary and defeated Democrat Foster Campbell 61–39% in the December runoff. He was sworn in on January 3, 2017. Kennedy was one of six Republican senators to object to the certification of Arizona's electors in the 2020 presidential election.
Early life and education
Kennedy was born in Centreville, Mississippi, and raised in Zachary, Louisiana. After graduating from Zachary High School as co-valedictorian in 1969, he entered Vanderbilt University, where his interdepartmental major was in political science, philosophy and economics. He graduated magna cum laude.
At Vanderbilt, Kennedy was elected president of his senior class and named to Phi Beta Kappa. He received a Juris Doctor in 1977 from the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he was an executive editor of the Virginia Law Review and elected to the Order of the Coif. In 1979, he earned a Bachelor of Civil Law degree with first class honours from Magdalen College, Oxford, where he studied under Sir Rupert Cross and John H.C. Morris.
Kennedy has written and published the following books and articles: Louisiana State Constitutional Law (LSU Publications Institute, Jan. 1, 2012), The Dimension of Time in the Louisiana Products Liability Act (42 Louisiana Bar Journal, Jan. 1, 1994), The Role of the Consumer Expectation Test Under Louisiana's Products Liability Doctrine (69 Tulane Law Review 117, Jan. 1, 1994), A Primer on the Louisiana Products Liability Act (49 Louisiana Law Review 565, Jan. 1, 1989), Assumption of the Risk, Comparative Fault and Strict Liability After Rozell (47 Louisiana Law Review 791, Jan. 1, 1987) and The Federal Power Commission, Job Bias, and NAACP v. FPC (10 Akron Law Review 556, Jan. 1, 1977).
Early political career
In 1988, Kennedy became special counsel to Governor Buddy Roemer. In 1991, he was appointed as cabinet secretary and served in that post until 1992. In 1991, he was an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for state attorney general to succeed the retiring William J. Guste.
Following his first stint in state government, Kennedy returned to private law practice until 1996. That year, he was appointed Secretary of the state Department of Revenue in the cabinet of Governor Mike Foster.
Treasurer of Louisiana
Kennedy left the Foster administration when he was elected Louisiana State Treasurer in 1999, having unseated incumbent Democrat Ken Duncan, 621,796 votes (55.6%) to 497,319 (44.4%). Kennedy was reelected treasurer without opposition in 2003, 2007 and 2011. In 2015, he defeated his sole challenger with 80% of the vote.
After being courted by the Republican Party for months, Kennedy announced in a letter to his constituents that he was leaving the Democratic Party and joining the Republicans, effective August 27, 2007. In his letter, he announced that he would run again for state treasurer.
During his third term as state treasurer, Kennedy devised a 24-point plan by which the state could save money. Governor Bobby Jindal said Kennedy could "streamline" his own department. Many of Kennedy's ideas were derived from the Louisiana Commission for Streamlining Government, on which he served in his official capacity as state treasurer.
In 2004, Kennedy ran for the U.S. Senate seat held by John Breaux, who was retiring. He ran as a Democrat in the state's jungle primary, losing to Republican David Vitter and Democrat Chris John. Vitter won the runoff election.
Kennedy ran for the Senate again in 2008, this time as a Republican. He was defeated, 52.1% to 45.7%, by incumbent Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu; the same year, Republican presidential nominee John McCain defeated Barack Obama in Louisiana, but Obama was elected.
On January 26, 2016, Kennedy announced that he would run for Senate a third time. In seeking to succeed the retiring Vitter, he faced more than 20 opponents. Vitter announced his retirement from the Senate in 2015 after losing a bid for governor to John Bel Edwards.
Kennedy's senatorial campaign was endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, the National Rifle Association, the National Right to Life Committee, the American Conservative Union, Vice President-elect Mike Pence and President-elect Donald Trump. Kennedy, who had supported Vitter for governor the previous year, won the jungle primary and faced Democrat Foster Campbell in a December 10 runoff election. President-elect Donald Trump—who had received Kennedy's support in the 2016 presidential election—campaigned for Kennedy the day before the runoff. Kennedy defeated Campbell, 536,204 votes (61%) to 347,813 (39%). He lost the largest populated parishes of Orleans and East Baton Rouge, in which he had been reared, but was a runaway winner in Campbell's home parish of Bossier.
Kennedy was sworn in as Louisiana's junior U.S. Senator on January 3, 2017. On March 10, 2021, the Center for Effective Lawmaking ranked Kennedy as one of the top 10 most effective Republican senators of the 116th Congress, and as the most effective GOP senator in the areas of commerce, education, and trade.
On July 29, 2021, President Joe Biden signed Kennedy's DUMP Opioids Act into law, making that Kennedy's eighth piece of legislation to become law in his first term as a U.S. senator. Kennedy has authored more bills signed into law than any first-term senator from Louisiana except Newton Blanchard, who is tied with Kennedy.
In June 2017, Kennedy "grilled" Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in a hearing before the Appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Service, Education and Related Agencies. In the exchange, he contrasted the lack of school choice available to younger pupils in many rural areas of the country with the numerous brands of mayonnaise available at grocery stores: "Now I can go down to my overpriced Capitol Hill grocery this afternoon and choose among about six different types of mayonnaise. How come I can't do that for my kid?" Kennedy asked. The remark attracted national attention. DeVos replied that the Trump administration budget proposal would give parents and students more power and opportunity so that American education could again become "the envy of the world".
Kennedy has attracted comment for his manner in the Senate. A January 2018 Huffington Post article reported: "Since being elected to the Senate a year ago, Kennedy ... has made a name for himself on Capitol Hill with his wit, humor and penchant for folksy expressions―a notable feat in a place where jargon and arcane procedure tend to reign supreme".
In the months leading up to the 2019 election, Kennedy was mentioned as a prospective candidate for governor in the nonpartisan blanket primary against Democratic incumbent John Bel Edwards, but on December 3, 2018, he announced that he would not run for governor, saying he preferred to remain in the Senate.
2020 presidential election
Kennedy announced that he would, along with 11 other Republican senators, object to certain states' electoral votes in the 2021 United States Electoral College vote count on January 6, unless there was an audit of the vote, He was participating in the certification when Trump supporters stormed the United States Capitol. He described the attack as "despicable and shameful" and called for the rioters "to go to jail and pay for the destruction they caused." When the Capitol was secured and Congress returned to complete the certification, Kennedy objected to the certification of Arizona's electoral votes.
- Committee on Appropriations
- Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
- Committee on the Budget
- Committee on the Judiciary
- Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
This section is missing information about pre-Senate positions?.(September 2020)
Kennedy received a lifetime Liberty Score of 65% from Conservative Review. He holds a score of 89% for the 116th Congress and a lifetime score of 78% from Heritage Action for America. The American Conservative Union's Center of Legislative Accountability gives Kennedy a lifetime rating of 83.74. His Humane Society Legislative Fund rating has ranged between 67% (2019) and 28% (2017), with his last (2020) at 57%. On infrastructure, the National Association of Police Organizations rates Kennedy at 60% and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) has assigned him a rating of 8% on matters concerning labor unions.
Kennedy said he would file a bill to "prohibit airlines from putting animals in overhead bins" after a dog died in an overhead bin while flying United Airlines in March 2018. He said "officials would face significant fines" if noncompliant. In March 2018, Kennedy introduced the Welfare Of Our Furry Friends (WOOFF) Act, but the bill died in committee.
In March 2019, Kennedy introduced the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, which became law on December 18, 2020. The law prohibits any company from listing on an American stock exchange if it refuses to allow the Public Companies Accounting Oversight Board to audit its annual private audit for three consecutive years. It also requires companies to disclose whether they are owned by a foreign government.
In 2019, Kennedy introduced the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act, co-sponsored by Senator Tom Carper as an amendment to the American Energy Innovation Act. It would direct the Environmental Protection Agency to phase down production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons over the next 15 years. Hydrofluorocarbons are potent greenhouse gases used primarily as coolants in refrigerators and air conditioning systems. The American Innovation and Manufacturing Act became law in December 2020 as part of the annual government funding bill.
Kennedy crossed party lines to oppose the appointment of three of Trump's U.S. District Court judicial nominees who Kennedy believed were not qualified: Jeff Mateer, Brett Talley, and Matthew S. Petersen. The White House withdrew all three nominations. On December 13, 2017, during Petersen's confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Kennedy asked Petersen about basic legal procedure, whether he knew what the Daubert standard was, and what a motion in limine was. Petersen struggled to answer. Kennedy also voted against the nomination of Gregory G. Katsas to the D.C. Circuit, but Katsas was confirmed.
On March 7, 2018, Kennedy introduced a bill that would "prohibit companies like Comcast and Verizon from blocking or throttling web content." He was one of three Republican senators, with Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, to vote with the entirety of the Democratic caucus on May 16, 2018, to overturn the FCC's repeal of net neutrality.
In April 2018, Kennedy was one of eight Republican senators to sign a letter to United States Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin and acting Secretary of State John Sullivan expressing "deep concern" over a report by the United Nations exposing "North Korean sanctions evasion involving Russia and China" and asserting that the findings "demonstrate an elaborate and alarming military-venture between rogue, tyrannical states to avoid United States and international sanctions and inflict terror and death upon thousands of innocent people" while calling it "imperative that the United States provides a swift and appropriate response to the continued use of chemical weapons used by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his forces, and works to address the shortcomings in sanctions enforcement."
In January 2019, Kennedy was one of 11 Republican senators to vote to advance legislation intended to block Trump's intent to lift sanctions against three Russian companies.
January 6 commission
Kennedy resides in Madisonville in St. Tammany Parish outside New Orleans with his wife, Becky. He is a founding member of his local Methodist church in Madisonville. He is not related to the Kennedy family of Massachusetts.
|Democratic||Arthur A. Morrell||47,222||2.56%|
|Independent||Richard M. Fontanesi||15,097||0.82%|
|Independent||R. A. "Skip" Galan||12,463||0.67%|
|Democratic||Sam Houston Melton, Jr.||12,289||0.66%|
|Republican gain from Democratic|
|Democratic||Mary Landrieu (incumbent)||988,298||52.11%||+0.41%|
|2016 Louisiana US Senate blanket primary|
|Republican||Donald "Crawdaddy" Crawford||25,523||1.3%|
|No party||Beryl Billiot||19,352||1.0%|
|No party||Troy Hebert||9,503||0.5%|
|No party||Kaitlin Marone||4,108||0.2%|
|Libertarian||Le Roy Gillam||4,067||0.2%|
|Republican||Charles Eugene Marsala||3,684||0.2%|
|No party||Arden Wells||1,483||0.1%|
Kennedy has written and published the following books and articles:
- "The Federal Power Commission, Job Bias, and NAACP v. FPC." Akron Law Review, vol. 10, no. 556 (January 1, 1977).
- "Assumption of the Risk, Comparative Fault and Strict Liability After Rozell (47 Louisiana Law Review, vol. 57, no. 791 (January 1, 1987).
- "A Primer on the Louisiana Products Liability Act." Louisiana Law Review, vol. 49, no. 565 (January 1, 1989).
- The Dimension of Time in the Louisiana Products Liability Act (42 Louisiana Bar Journal (January 1, 1994)
- "Role of the Consumer Expectation Test Under Louisiana's Products Liability Tort Doctrine." Tulane Law Review, vol. 69, no. 1 (1994-1995), pp. 117–164.
- Louisiana State Constitutional Law. LSU Publications Institute (January 1, 2012)
- "Brett Crawford Appointed Acting Revenue Secretary". rev.louisiana.gov. May 3, 1999. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
- "Sen. John Kennedy launches 2022 re-election bid: 'I will not let you down. I'd rather drink weed killer.'". foxnews.com. June 2021. Retrieved December 6, 2021.
- Bernstein, Mark F. (May 28, 2017). "The First Year Senator". University of Virginia School of Law. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
- "Southeastern Louisiana University FACULTY SENATE Meeting Minutes" (PDF).
- "About Treasurer Kennedy". treasury.state.la.us. Retrieved November 18, 2016. Archived November 27, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
- "About Treasurer Kennedy". Louisiana Department of the Treasury. Archived from the original on June 26, 2014. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
- "Roemer is no-show for opening session", Minden Press-Herald, April 7, 1991, p. 1
- Bridges, Tyler (December 11, 2016). "Here's the secret to John N. Kennedy's U.S. Senate win". The Acadiana Advocate. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
- Ron Gomez, My Name Is Ron And I'm a Recovering Legislator: Memoirs of a Louisiana State Representative, Lafayette, Louisiana: Zemog Publishing, 2000, p. 247; ISBN 0-9700156-0-7
- "Louisiana election returns for state treasurer". Louisiana Secretary of State. October 23, 1999. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
- Sentell, Will (October 20, 2016). "Louisiana state treasurer John Kennedy hopes third time is charm in U.S. Senate bid". The Advocate. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
- Levine, Marianne; Everett, Burgesss (December 3, 2019). "Folksy John Kennedy gets serious pushback on Ukraine mess". Politico. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
- Moller, Jan. "Treasurer bolts to GOP". The Times Picayune. Archived from the original on April 27, 2014. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
- Kennedy elaborated the plan in many venues across the state. See § III of the following: Ramsey, David (February 9, 2011). "Guest Presentation by State Treasurer John Neely Kennedy" (PDF). Southeastern Louisiana University Faculty Senate Minutes. Retrieved October 8, 2011. A particular focus of Kennedy's cost-saving ideas was reduction in the hiring of consultants.
- "Michelle Milhollin, "Jindal slashes funding for state treasurer: Jindal's 'streamlining' efforts trim critics' funding"". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Archived from the original on April 27, 2014. Retrieved June 16, 2012.
- "Vitter avoids runoff, first Louisiana Republican to Senate". usatoday30.usatoday.com. November 2, 2004. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
- "Official Election Results Results for Election Date: 11/2/2004". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
- "Louisiana election results". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
- Huetteman, Emmarie (February 17, 2017). "Today's Senator John Kennedy Is From Louisiana". The New York Times. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
- Rainey, Richard. "Treasurer John Kennedy enters Senate race to succeed David Vitter". NOLA.com. The Times Picayune. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
- Richardson, Bradford (November 21, 2015). "Vitter announces Senate retirement after losing La. gubernatorial race". The Hill. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
- "U.S. Chamber of Commerce Endorses Kennedy for Senate". johnkennedy.com. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
- Hillyard, Vaughn (December 3, 2016). "Trump, Pence Endorse Louisiana GOP Senate Candidate John Kennedy Ahead of Runoff". NBC News. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
- Deslatte, Melinda. "Louisiana's Republican Senate U.S. candidates stick with Trump". Daily Comet. Retrieved November 25, 2016 – via Associated Press.
- Rainey, Richard (December 10, 2016). "Donald Trump campaigns in Baton Rouge, this time for Senate candidate John Kennedy". nola.com. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
- "Louisiana Secretary of State Official Election Results Results for Election Date: 11/8/2016 - US Senator". Louisiana Secretary of State.
- "Highlights from the New 116th Congress Legislative Effectiveness Scores". Center for Effective Lawmaking. March 10, 2021. Retrieved September 9, 2021.
- "Congress.gov advanced search". Congress.gov. July 27, 2021. Retrieved September 9, 2021.
- "Even with cornpone jokes, John N. Kennedy leverages his position for state". The Advocate. September 1, 2021. Retrieved September 9, 2021.
- Deborah Barfield Berry (June 6, 2017). "La. senator brings up mayonnaise during education hearing". USA Today. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
- Bobic, Igor (January 25, 2018). "Meet The Folksiest Man In The U.S. Senate". The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
- Hilburn, Greg (December 3, 2018). "Kennedy won't run for governor of Louisiana". The Shreveport Times. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
- "Joint Statement from Senators Cruz, Johnson, Lankford, Daines, Kennedy, Blackburn, Braun, Senators-Elect Lummis, Marshall, Hagerty, Tuberville". U.S. Senator for Texas Ted Cruz. January 2, 2021. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
- Hilburn, Greg (January 2, 2021). "Louisiana Republican Senator John Kennedy seeks to block Joe Biden's Electoral College win". The News-Star. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
- Investigator, David Hammer / Eyewitness (May 12, 2021). "Sen. Kennedy says he refused GOP calls to overturn Biden's win over Trump". wwltv.com. Retrieved July 18, 2021.
- Fatherree, Dwayne (January 8, 2021). "Resignations mount in wake of mob attack on Capitol". The Daily Iberian. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
- U.S. Senate (January 6, 2021). "Roll Call Vote 117th Congress - 1st Session—Vote Summary: Question: On the Objection (Shall the Objection Submitted by the Gentleman from Arizona, Mr. Gosar, and the Senator from Texas, Mr. Cruz, and Others Be Sustained?)". U.S. Senate Legislation and Records. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
- Braun, Paul (January 8, 2021). "5 Louisiana Congressmen Voted To Overturn Biden's Presidential Win. Here's What They Had To Say". WWNO. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
- "Liberty Score Conservative Review". Conservative Review (Blaze Media LLC). 2021. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
- "Sen. John Kennedy". Heritage Action for America. December 12, 2020. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
- "Sen. John Kennedy". American Conservative Union Foundation. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
- "John Kennedy's Ratings and Endorsements". Vote Smart. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
- Anapol, Avery (March 15, 2018). "GOP senator opposed to gun control mocked for bill proposal after airline pet death". The Hill. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
- Connolly, Griffin (March 15, 2018). "After Dog Dies On United Airlines Flight Sen. John Kennedy Proposes Bill". Roll Call. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
- "S.2556 - Welfare Of Our Furry Friends (WOOFF) Act". congress.gov. March 15, 2018. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
- "Republican John Kennedy wins Louisiana senate race in runoff election". CNBC. December 10, 2016. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
- "S.945 - Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act". Congress.gov. December 18, 2020.
- "S.945 - Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act". Congress.gov. December 18, 2020.
- "S.2754 - American Innovation and Manufacturing Act of 2019 Legislation". Congress.gov. October 30, 2019.
- "Carper and Kennedy Introduce Bill to Phasedown Use of HFCs". U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public. November 1, 2019. Retrieved September 9, 2021.
- "Senators Announce Historic, Bipartisan Agreement on Environmental Innovation Legislation". U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public. December 21, 2020.
- "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
- "New NRA Ad Urges Voters to Elect John Kennedy for U.S. Senate". NRA-ILA. December 8, 2016. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
- Hohmann, James (December 19, 2017). "The Daily 202: Why a Louisiana GOP senator keeps bringing down Trump judicial nominees". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
- Bowden, John (December 14, 2017). "Dem senator bashes Trump judicial nominee over hearing testimony: 'Hoo-boy'". The Hill. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
- Bromwich, Jonah Engel; Chokshi, Niraj (December 15, 2017). "Trump Judicial Nominee Attracts Scorn After Flopping in Hearing". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
- Hawkins, Derek (December 15, 2017). Trump judicial nominee fumbles basic questions about the law, The Washington Post, December 15, 2017 Retrieved April 2, 2020.
- U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 115th Congress – 1st Session United States Senate Vote Summary: Vote Number 282, United States Senate, November 27, 2017, Retrieved April 2, 2020.
- Levine, Marianne (December 18, 2018). "Senate approves Trump-backed criminal justice overhaul". Politico. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
- Neidig, Harper (March 7, 2018). "GOP senator offers his own net neutrality bill". The Hill. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
- Mitchell, Ellen (April 13, 2018). "Key senators warn Trump of North Korea effort on Syria". The Hill. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
- Carney, Jordain (January 15, 2019). "Senate advances measure bucking Trump on Russia sanctions". The Hill. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
- "Proposal for 9/11-style commission to probe Capitol attack mired in partisanship". NBC News. February 24, 2021. Retrieved September 14, 2021.
- Stevenson, Peter; Blanco, Adrian; Santamariña, Daniela (May 28, 2021). "Which senators supported a Jan. 6 Capitol riot commission". Washington Post. Retrieved May 29, 2021.
- "Roll Call Vote 117th Congress - 1st Session". United States Senate. May 28, 2021. Retrieved July 10, 2021.
- Akers, Mary Ann (June 13, 2008). "The Sleuth: John Kennedy, a Politician by Any Other Name." Washington Post. Archived from the original.
- "Official Election Results". Louisiana Secretary of State. November 8, 2016. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
- "Louisiana Secretary of State - Live Election Results". voterportal.sos.la.gov.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to John Neely Kennedy.|
- Official U.S. Senate website
- Campaign website
- John N. Kennedy at Curlie
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Campaign contributions at OpenSecrets.org
- Follow the Money – John Kennedy