John Kennedy (Louisiana politician)

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John Kennedy
Official portrait, 2017
United States Senator
from Louisiana
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Serving with Bill Cassidy
Preceded byDavid Vitter
Treasurer of Louisiana
In office
January 10, 2000 – January 3, 2017
GovernorMike Foster
Kathleen Blanco
Bobby Jindal
John Bel Edwards
Preceded byKen Duncan
Succeeded byJohn Schroder
Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Revenue
In office
January 8, 1996 – April 30, 1999
GovernorMike Foster
Succeeded byBrett Crawford
Personal details
John Neely Kennedy

(1951-11-21) November 21, 1951 (age 72)
Centreville, Mississippi, U.S.
Political partyRepublican (since 2007)
Other political
Democratic (before 2007)
Rebecca Stulb
(m. 1990)
EducationVanderbilt University (BA)
University of Virginia (JD)
Magdalen College, Oxford (BCL)
WebsiteSenate website

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 Republican, he served as the Louisiana State Treasurer from 2000 to 2017, as Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Revenue from 1996 to 1999,[1] and as special counsel and then cabinet member to Governor Buddy Roemer from 1988 to 1992.[1]

Born in Centreville, Mississippi, Kennedy graduated from Vanderbilt University and the University of Virginia School of Law before attending Oxford University. In 1988, Governor Buddy Roemer selected Kennedy to serve as special legal counsel and later appointed him Secretary of the Cabinet.[2] He left Roemer's staff in 1991 to unsuccessfully run for state attorney general as a Democrat. In 1999, he was elected 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 ran for Senate again. 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. In 2022, Kennedy was reelected to the U.S. Senate,[3] defeating 12 opponents with 62% of the vote in the first round.[4] Kennedy won every parish except Orleans Parish in his 2022 reelection.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Kennedy was born in Centreville, Mississippi, and raised in Zachary, Louisiana. He graduated from Zachary High School as co-valedictorian in 1969. He then attended 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, where he was an executive editor of the Virginia Law Review and elected to the Order of the Coif.[6] In 1979, he earned a Bachelor of Civil Law degree with first class honours from Oxford University, where he was a member of Magdalen College and studied under Rupert Cross and John H.C. Morris.[7][8][9]

Early career[edit]

Kennedy was a partner in the New Orleans and Baton Rouge law firm Chaffe McCall from 1985 to 1987 and 1992 to 1996.[10] He also served as an adjunct professor at Louisiana State University's Paul M. Hebert Law Center in Baton Rouge from 2002 to 2016.[11]

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[edit]

Special Counsel to Buddy Roemer[edit]

In 1988, Kennedy became special counsel to Governor Buddy Roemer.[12] In 1991, he was also appointed secretary to the governor's cabinet and served in both posts until 1992. Roemer tasked Kennedy with helping him pass two key priorities: tort and campaign finance reforms.[1]

Roemer instructed Kennedy to draft the Louisiana Products Liability Act, a bill that aimed to set forth four clear legal theories by which manufacturers could be held liable for damage their products caused.[13] The new code also clarified what counted as "unreasonably dangerous" to help make potential sources of liability more predictable to both businesses and buyers with claims.[14] Roemer then tasked Kennedy with building support for passing the legislation.[15]

As part of his advocacy, Kennedy published a law review article titled "A Primer on the Louisiana Products Liability Act".[14] He argued that the Products Liability Act would "bring added clarity, precision and certainty to Louisiana's products liability doctrine" and "strike an equitable balance between the right of a claimant who is injured in a product-related accident to just compensation and the right of the product's manufacturer to be judged fairly."[14] Kennedy also delivered public testimony before the Louisiana House Committee on Civil Law and Procedure in support of the bill, saying that the bill "provides for a state-of-the-art defense for manufacturers."[16] The Louisiana legislature enacted the Louisiana Products Liability Act in 1988.[17]

Before Roemer's time in office, Louisiana had no limits on individual campaign contributions, which allowed donors to cut massive checks to campaigns without reporting the contributions.[18] Roemer placed Kennedy in charge of his quest to toughen campaign finance laws, including placing a $5,000 cap on individual contributions to statewide candidates.[15]

In addition to ushering in the passage of campaign finance and product liability reforms for Roemer's administration, Kennedy led the effort to consolidate Louisiana's four boards of higher education into one. He said the policy would be "fundamental" to improving Louisiana universities' "quality and desegregation".[19] That effort eventually came one vote short of passage.[15]

Roemer lost his reelection bid in 1991, but ran again in 1995 with Kennedy as his campaign manager.[15] Roemer later endorsed Kennedy's bids for Senate.[20] Kennedy remained close to Roemer until his death in 2021 and credited the former governor for getting him involved in public service.[21]

1991 state attorney general race[edit]

In 1991, Kennedy ran for Louisiana attorney general to succeed the retiring William J. Guste.[22] At 39, he was the youngest candidate in the race.[10] In the state's jungle primary he received 288,382 votes (20%), placing third behind Ben Bagert, who received 313,143 (22%), and Richard Ieyoub, who received 447,457 (31%).[23]

Louisiana Secretary of Revenue (1996–1999)[edit]

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.[24][25] Despite having political differences with Kennedy during his time in Roemer's administration, Foster selected Kennedy for the position and later endorsed him for the U.S. Senate.[26] Kennedy stepped down as secretary in April 1999 and was replaced by Brett Crawford.[27]

Unclaimed Property Program[edit]

As secretary of revenue, Kennedy started an initiative to return unclaimed property to the people of Louisiana. At the time, nearly 500,000 people had valuable unclaimed property, such as old bank accounts, stocks, bonds, utility deposits and other lost or forgotten money that had been turned over to the state.[28] Louisiana was one of 39 states to join an effort to return unclaimed property.[29] Kennedy's Louisiana team hosted "Unclaimed Property Awareness Day" at the Lakeside Mall in Metairie, where shoppers claimed more than $365,000 in unclaimed property from the state.[30] Kennedy also launched a website for Louisiana residents to collect unclaimed property online and continued to hold events throughout the state to help people find their unclaimed money. He continued the unclaimed property effort after being elected treasurer.[31]

Taxpayer Bill of Rights[edit]

In 1998, Kennedy advocated for the passage of Act 136, a bill that established a Taxpayer's Bill of Rights. The bill guaranteed that taxpayers would be treated with respect, have access to instructions "written in plain English", receive quick responses to questions from the Department of Revenue, and receive notice if they were in violation of the tax policy, among other things.[32]

Kennedy used the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights as a foundation to advocate for more tax code changes. In 1999, he proposed tax code changes that would protect people from prosecution for tax crimes that their spouses committed without their knowledge. He also proposed "Fair Interest" policies that halted the accrual of interest on tax liabilities held by people whom the Department of Revenue did not notify were in violation of state tax policy. Kennedy said the efforts helped ensure Louisiana residents had a tax system that was as "fair, easy, and convenient as possible", adding, "We look upon taxpayers as our customers...not our enemies."[33]


In 1998, Kennedy aimed to streamline the process of paying taxes by allowing Louisiana taxpayers to file returns by phone via the TeleFile program.[34] The Department of Revenue sent 593,000 taxpayers information on how to file by calling a toll-free number. In the first year, 61,000 taxpayers filed via TeleFile in a process that took an average of eight minutes to complete. Kennedy also worked to expand electronic filing in the state by allowing professional filers to submit forms online.[35]

Gaming Control Board[edit]

While secretary of revenue, Kennedy was also appointed to the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, which is responsible for regulating legalized gambling. He criticized riverboat casino operators for failing to enforce the 21-year age restriction.[15]

Treasurer of Louisiana (2000–2017)[edit]

Kennedy at the Natchitoches Christmas Parade in 2014

Kennedy left the Foster administration when he was elected Louisiana State Treasurer in 1999, having unseated incumbent Ken Duncan with 55.6% of the vote, or 621,796 votes, to Duncan's 44.4%, or 497,319 votes.[36] Kennedy was reelected treasurer without opposition in 2003, 2007 and 2011.[37] In 2015, he defeated his sole challenger with 80% of the vote.

Commission on Streamlining Government[edit]

Kennedy served as a member of the Commission on Streamlining Government, which worked to reduce bureaucracy in Louisiana.[38] In 2009, he urged the commission to consolidate the state's four boards of higher education into one.[39] Kennedy argued that the state needed to cut spending, rather than raise taxes, because it already had the nation's fifth-highest business taxes. He urged the commission to cut the number of state government employees, which he said could save $800,000 per year. Kennedy also recommended that the commission review all state consulting contracts to ensure the state was getting a good deal.[40]

Kennedy suggested limiting Medicaid patients to two nonemergency room visits per year as a cost-saving measure. He also called for the state to require that all prisoners receive a high school diploma to reduce recidivism. Kennedy often criticized the commission as "way too tentative” in its policy proposals.[41]

Unclaimed property[edit]

After being elected treasurer, Kennedy drafted a bill to move the work of managing unclaimed property from the Department of Revenue to the state treasurer's office to allow him to continue the work he had started as secretary of revenue under Governor Foster.[15][42] Kennedy led regular events to raise awareness about unclaimed property at malls and other public spaces, returning $400 million to 600,000 Louisianians.[43] He told reporters that the state had returned money to many prominent Louisianians, including Foster, Archie Manning, and John Goodman.[44] Under Kennedy's leadership, the treasury uncovered $45 million in unclaimed death benefits alone.[45]

With the money that remained unclaimed, Kennedy convinced the state legislature to establish a $200 million fund to repay construction bonds that were used to build I-49.[46] He worked with Moody's and Standard & Poor's to maintain the state's favorable bond rating throughout the project.[47]

Debt refinance[edit]

As treasurer, Kennedy sought to refinance portions of Louisiana's debt from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita as interest rates decreased.[48] He worked with the state legislature and several governors' offices to negotiate each refinancing.[49]

In 2004, Kennedy told the state legislature that he could save more than $1.4 billion by refinancing the state's debt. He noted that he had sent Governor Kathleen Blanco several letters about refinancing that went unanswered.[48] In 2011, Kennedy announced that Lafayette and Livingston Parishes had saved $11 million by refinancing.[50] By 2013, Kennedy said he had "refinanced virtually all of the state's debt".[51]

In 2014, Kennedy worked to refinance $229 million in bond debt.[51] The project faced delays because of a disagreement with Governor Bobby Jindal's office over accounting practices.[52] Jindal's team claimed Kennedy was "unnecessarily holding up" progress on many construction projects, but Kennedy maintained that Jindal's accounting practices potentially violated federal anti-fraud laws. The two sides eventually compromised and the deal moved ahead, saving Louisiana $12 million.[53] By the end of 2014, Kennedy had saved Louisiana a total of more than $600 million by refinancing debt.[54]

In 2015, Kennedy saved Louisiana $109 million over 26 years by refinancing a $649 million loan that funded a highway project.[55]

Anti-corruption efforts[edit]

Kennedy speaking to the media, September 2014

As treasurer, Kennedy pushed for tougher ethical standards in state contracting reform.[56] In 2007, he called for a full investigation into all contracts signed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina after media investigations revealed that one FEMA contractor allegedly engaged in profiteering by misrepresenting timesheets and hourly rates.[57] Kennedy also urged Governor Blanco to ban family members of state officials from securing construction contracts during the rebuilding effort.[58]

In 2013, Kennedy reported 30 Louisiana nonprofits to the legislative auditor's office after they failed to file financial reports.[59] In 2014, he launched an investigation into Act 859, an unconstitutional state retirement bill that benefited state police chief Mike Edmonson and one other state trooper. Kennedy said he received hundreds of emails from state employees who found the legislation unfair and claimed that the state's police officer retirement fund was underwater because "for years the legislature passed special interest legislation like this to help a select few".[60]

In 2014, Kennedy urged state prosecutors to start pressing charges against people who committed food stamp fraud. Kennedy noted that more than $1.1 million in food stamp debit cards were sent to people in jails, $107,000 was sent to ineligible felons, and $2 million was spent outside the state—implying that the funds were likely sent to nonresidents.[61]

Tobacco settlement[edit]

In 1988, Louisiana was one of 46 states to enter into a settlement with tobacco companies over smoking-related illnesses whereby each state could choose between annual payments or a smaller lump sum.[62] Louisiana took the annual payments. As treasurer, Kennedy structured a deal to auction off part of the annual payments in exchange for a lump sum to hedge against the possibility that the tobacco companies could go bankrupt.[63] At the time, Kennedy said, "If your rich uncle died and left you $4.4 billion, all of it in Philip Morris stock, what would you do? I would diversify."[64] The proceeds from that sale were invested in trust funds earmarked for education, health care, and TOPS—a higher-education scholarship program.[63]

Kennedy opposed future sales of the debt. He argued that his early sale was only a hedge against a potential bankruptcy of the tobacco companies and should not be used as a short term fund to address immediate spending.[64] In 2007, the Louisiana State Bond Commission voted to sell more of the settlement and Kennedy was the lone opposition vote.[65]

In 2015, Governor Jindal announced a plan to sell the remainder of the tobacco settlement in one lump sum of $751 million to help him address budget shortfalls rather than accepting the remaining $1.2 billion in annual payments.[63] Kennedy opposed the plan, saying that taking the lump sum would be a "bonehead move" that the legislature would not support and adding: "I’ve talked to a number of legislators. I think most of them would rather drink weed killer than do this." He argued that the sale would stop a one-time budget problem without addressing spending, leaving a debt bomb for future generations. The legislature sided with Kennedy, and Jindal's plan dissolved.[64]

START college savings plan[edit]

In 1997, Louisiana launched its Student Tuition Assistance and Revenue Trust Savings Program to allow people to start a 529 plan to save for their children's education.[66] As treasurer, Kennedy expanded five new investment options to give parents the choice of investing in the stock market in addition to the fixed returned securities options. He also put these investment options online to make it easier for parents to watch and manage their investments. During Kennedy's tenure, Louisiana's START program was ranked fifth-best in the nation.[67]

Switching political parties[edit]

In the 2004 election, Kennedy endorsed Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry over George W. Bush.[68]

After being courted by the Republican Party for months, Kennedy declared 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 stated that he would run again for state treasurer later that year.[69]

Working with governors[edit]

As treasurer, Kennedy often clashed with governors and state legislators from both political parties, especially over spending and tax increases.[70] He advocated for reducing state bureaucracy by cutting unnecessary state government jobs.[71]

In 2009, Kennedy criticized Governor Kathleen Blanco for including more than $9 million in spending he deemed "pork". He sent Blanco a six-page document of suggested cuts she could make as line-item vetoes. Kennedy said his list was "based upon the fact that many of the entities do not appear to be government entities, the lack of information about many of the items or entities, and that many of the items should have been considered through the entire process and/or included in other appropriate places in the budget to ensure proper public scrutiny, input and accountability."[72]

During his third term as treasurer, Kennedy devised a 24-point plan by which the state could save money.[73] 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 treasurer.[74] Kennedy later accused Jindal's administration of check kiting, a controversial accounting practice whereby the governor took money from the 2014-2015 budget to cover debts from the 2013-2014 budget.[75]

Campaigns for U.S. Senate[edit]


On February 3, 2004, Kennedy launched his first bid for the U.S. Senate to replace incumbent John Breaux, who was retiring.[76] He ran as a Democrat in the state's jungle primary, losing to Republican David Vitter and Democrat Chris John.[77] Vitter won the election outright.[69][78]


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.[79][80]


Then-president-elect Donald Trump and Kennedy campaigning in Baton Rouge

On January 26, 2016, Kennedy launched a third bid for a Senate seat. In seeking to succeed the retiring Vitter, he faced more than 20 opponents.[81] Vitter had announced his forthcoming retirement from the Senate in 2015 after losing a bid for governor to John Bel Edwards.[82]

Kennedy's senatorial campaign was endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, the NRA Political Victory Fund,[83] the National Right to Life Committee, the American Conservative Union, Vice President-elect Mike Pence and President-elect Donald Trump.[84][85] 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[86]—campaigned for Kennedy the day before the runoff.[87] Kennedy defeated Campbell by 536,204 votes (61%) to 347,813 (39%). He lost the most-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.[88]


Kennedy was reelected in 2022,[3] defeating 12 opponents in an open primary with 62% of the vote in the first round.[89] In the general election, Kennedy defeated Democratic nominee Gary Chambers by 43.7 percentage points. Kennedy received the most votes in every parish except Orleans parish.[5]

U.S. Senate (2017–present)[edit]

115th Congress (2017–2019)[edit]

Kennedy being sworn in as Louisiana's junior U.S. senator by outgoing Vice President Joe Biden in the U.S. Capitol's Old Senate Chamber on January 3, 2017

Kennedy was sworn in as Louisiana's junior U.S. Senator on January 3, 2017. He had resigned his position as state treasurer earlier that day.[90]

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".[91] Kennedy served as a volunteer substitute teacher for more than a decade in Louisiana public schools to better understand issues in the education system.[92][93] He 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".[94]

Kennedy received widespread media attention after he 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.[95] On December 13, 2017, during Petersen's confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Kennedy asked Petersen about basic legal procedure,[96] whether he knew what the Daubert standard was, and what a motion in limine was. Petersen struggled to answer.[97][98] Kennedy also voted against the nomination of Gregory G. Katsas to the D.C. Circuit, but Katsas was confirmed.[99]

On April 7, 2017, Kennedy voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court. Kennedy participated in Gorsuch's confirmation as a member of the Judiciary Committee.[100] During the confirmation process, Kennedy said, “Neil Gorsuch is obviously very well-qualified based on his education and background, but I want to know what’s in his heart. I want to know what he thinks about past Supreme Court decisions and how the justices reached those decisions. I want to know whether he thinks personal preferences have a role in the judicial decision-making. I want to know if he knows the name of the person who cleans his office. Also, I'm rather fond of the U.S. Constitution, and I want to make sure he is, too."[101]

On October 6, 2018, Kennedy voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.[102] As a member of the Judiciary Committee, Kennedy participated in Kavanaugh's contentious nomination hearing after Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Kennedy criticized the hearing, saying, "No fair-minded American can believe that he's not qualified—he went to Yale Law School; he didn't get his law degree from Costco. He has a total command of Supreme Court precedent. I think he’s a legal rock star."[103] Kennedy broke from Republicans during the hearing to call for the FBI's investigation into Ford's allegations to be made public.[104]

In March 2018, after a dog died in an overhead bin while flying United Airlines, Kennedy said he would file a bill to "prohibit airlines from putting animals in overhead bins" and added that officials "would face significant fines" if they did not comply.[105][106] That month, he introduced the Welfare Of Our Furry Friends (WOOFF) Act, but the bill died in committee.[107]

In July 2018, Kennedy and several other Republican members of Congress met with Russian government officials in Moscow. During the meetings, the two sides discussed election interference, upholding nuclear arms treaties, maintaining peace in Syria, and respecting Ukrainian sovereignty. The delegation was criticized for visiting the country during Fourth of July celebrations and for holding the talks just days after an incident in the United Kingdom in which a couple were poisoned by a suspected Russian nerve agent.[108][109]

On October 12, 2018, the Senate voted to pass Kennedy's Rural Business Investment Program Advisers Relief Act of 2018. The bill removes compliance costs on a venture capital program aimed at stimulating business in rural America. It became law in 2019.[110]

On December 18, 2018, Kennedy voted against the First Step Act, a criminal justice reform bill that reduced the prison sentences of some federal inmates. He said, "I voted against this bill because the most important goal of the criminal justice system for American families is justice. This bill is backwards. It favors criminals over victims. It forgets that the ultimate goal is justice. We’ve seen what’s happened with so-called criminal justice reform in Louisiana. People are literally getting killed."[111]

On October 5, 2018, Kennedy introduced a Small Business Administration Disaster Loan bill to stop the agency from dropping SBA loan limits from $25,000 to $14,000 to ensure businesses have funds to rebuild following natural disasters.[112] The bill passed the Senate with unanimous consent. President Trump signed it into law on November 29, 2018.[113]

On November 15, 2018, Kennedy introduced the National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act, a bill that amended the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program until June 1, 2019, to avoid a lapse in the program.[114] The bill passed the Senate with unanimous consent and passed the House with a vote of 315–48. Trump signed the bill into law on December 21, 2018.[115]

In 2018, Kennedy worked with Senator Joe Manchin on the Justice Against Corruption on K Street (JACK) Act. The bill was named after Jack Abramoff, a lobbyist who was convicted of fraud, corruption, and conspiracy. Kennedy said, "This idea is simple: If you have been convicted of a felony like bribery, extortion, embezzlement or tax evasion, you should have to disclose that when registering to become a lobbyist. Political leaders and businesses need to know the backgrounds of those who are trying to influence public policy."[116] The bill passed the Senate on December 20, 2018, and was signed into law in 2019. In February 2020, JACK Act disclosures revealed that lobbyists with criminal histories collected $3.1 million.[117]

Leading up to the 2019 election, Kennedy was mentioned as a prospective candidate for governor in the jungle primary against incumbent John Bel Edwards, but on December 3, 2018, he said he preferred to remain in the Senate and would not run for governor.[118]

116th Congress (2019–2021)[edit]

In March 2019, Kennedy introduced the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, which Trump signed into law on December 18, 2020.[119] The law prohibits any company from listing on an American stock exchange if it refuses to allow the Public Company 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.[120]

In 2019, Kennedy again introduced a bill to extend the National Flood Insurance Program. It extended the program through September 30, 2018, rather than lapsing on May 31.[121] The bill passed the Senate on May 23, 2019, and was signed into law.[122]

Kennedy and other congressional Republicans greeting president Trump at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, January 2019

In 2019, Kennedy called on the Treasury Department to establish a website where citizens could find out whether they had unclaimed Treasury savings bonds.[123] He established a similar website for the state of Louisiana when he was treasurer.[30] On October 22, 2019, the Treasury Department announced that it would launch a website for unclaimed bonds. Kennedy said, "The bond might be lost, the physical bond in the days when we used paper bonds, and the people who loaned the money to the federal government might have forgotten about the bonds. But you know who knows about the bonds? The United States Department of Treasury, because they've got the names and the addresses, and right now they've got the money—$26 billion that they are holding that belongs to the American people, and they won't give it back."[123]

On November 25, 2019, Trump signed Kennedy's Recovery for Small Businesses After Disaster Act, a bill allowing small business disaster loans to remain at a limit of $25,000, rather than dropping to $14,000.[124]

After Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death in 2020, Kennedy supported Trump's nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Supreme Court vacancy. Kennedy voted to confirm Barrett, and said in an interview on Tucker Carlson Tonight, "you would have to be barking mad to think that she is not qualified".[125] After her confirmation on October 26, he applauded it as a "victory for our founders".[125]

On February 4, 2020, Kennedy voted against Trump's first impeachment.[126]

On March 26, 2020, Kennedy voted for the first COVID-19 stimulus package, the CARES Act, saying, "This virus poses a unique health risk, and we know that poverty can also threaten lives. Understanding that, I voted today to protect the well-being of Louisianans now and into the future by investing in medical services, families, workers and businesses."[127][128]

In July 2020, Kennedy voted for the second COVID-19 relief package, saying, "I’m very conservative fiscally, as I think most of you know, but people are in pain and the size of the American economy is just extraordinary. This is the largest economy in all of human history, and government just shut down, just shut it down, and a lot of people have gotten hurt, through no fault of their own, and we need to help them without wasting any money."[129]

Kennedy helped draft the Water Resources Development Act of 2020, a bill that determines which projects the Army Corps of Engineers will build. With few options, Louisiana agreed to let the Corps build a flood protection system for the New Orleans region that meets the standards for national flood insurance. He added a provision that allowed Louisiana to renegotiate a loan agreement with the Corps for a flood protection system that saved Louisiana taxpayers $1.3 billion.[130]

On March 10, 2021, the Center for Effective Lawmaking ranked Kennedy as one of the ten most effective Republican senators of the 116th Congress, and the most effective Republican senator in the areas of commerce, education, and trade.[131]

117th Congress (2021–2023)[edit]

Kennedy on the senate floor speaking about attempts to slow the ongoing surge in inflation, December 2022

After the 2020 presidential election, Kennedy and 11 other Republican senators said they would object to certain states' electoral votes in the 2021 United States Electoral College vote count on January 6, 2021, unless the vote was audited.[132][133][134] He was participating in the certification when Trump supporters stormed the United States Capitol. Kennedy called the attack "despicable and shameful" and called for the rioters "to go to jail and pay for the destruction they caused."[135] When the Capitol was secured and Congress returned to complete the certification, he objected to the certification of Arizona's electoral votes.[136][137]

On February 9, 2021, Kennedy voted against Trump's second impeachment.[138] Kennedy said the impeachment effort was unconstitutional because Trump was no longer president.[139] He called the impeachment process "a thinly veiled effort by the uber-elites in our country, who look down on most Americans, to denigrate further those people who chose to vote for President Trump and not vote for President Biden."[140]

On March 6, 2021, Kennedy voted against the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a COVID-19 recovery package. He said he voted against it because it was "an orgy of pork",[141] adding, "This is not a coronavirus bill, not the way it's been portrayed".[142]

On May 28, 2021, Kennedy voted against the January 6 commission House Speaker Nancy Pelosi proposed[143] to investigate the January 6 attack.[144][145] The commission failed to gain traction, but the House later successfully established the January 6 committee as an alternative.

On June 22, 2021, the Senate passed the Accelerating Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, a bill by Kennedy that moves up the deadline for a bill passed in 2019 that required U.S. markets to delist any foreign company that refused to allow the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board to inspect its audits. Kennedy said, "When foreign companies flout America's security laws, they put Americans' retirement plans and savings at risk. China is bent on exploiting American investors, so we need more accountability for foreign companies using American capital, and we need it now."[146]

On July 29, 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law the DUMP Opioids Act, Kennedy's eighth piece of legislation to become law in his first term as a U.S. senator.[147] Kennedy has authored more bills signed into law than any first-term senator from Louisiana except Newton Blanchard.[148]

On August 8, 2021, Kennedy voted against the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, saying, "I realized pretty quickly that if you look up 'stupid stuff' in the dictionary, there's a picture of this bill. They told us it was a real infrastructure bill. It's not; only 23% of the bill is real infrastructure. The rest is Green New Deal and welfare. They told us the bill was paid for; it isn't. We're gonna have to borrow maybe up to $400 billion to pay for it. They told us there were no tax increases. There are; my state's gonna have to pay $1.3 billion in new taxes on our petrochemical industry. They told us … the Democrats were really wary of this bill and that if we passed this bill, it would make it harder for them to pass their $5 trillion tax and spending binge reconciliation bill. Well, if that's true, how come every Democrat voted for this infrastructure bill? And finally, they told us that it's not going to add to inflation, but it will."[149]

On September 27, 2021, Kennedy introduced the Unclaimed Savings Bond Act of 2021 to require the Treasury Department to speed the process of returning unclaimed savings bonds to the American people, continuing work he had done as state treasurer. He said the Treasury was sitting on more than $26 billion in unclaimed bonds.[150] President Biden signed an executive order based on Kennedy's efforts.[151]

In November 2021, while questioning Saule Omarova, the nominee for Comptroller of the Currency, Kennedy mockingly said: "I don’t mean any disrespect. I don’t know whether to call you professor or comrade". This came after an exchange between Omarova and Kennedy about her upbringing in the USSR and her former connections to communist groups. Senator Sherrod Brown interrupted Kennedy's line of questioning, accused him of engaging in character assassination.[152]

On April 7, 2022, Kennedy voted against Ketanji Brown Jackson's nomination to the Supreme Court to succeed Stephen Breyer, who was retiring. At the hearing, he said that he "found Judge Jackson to be smart, well-versed in the law, and extraordinarily deft and artful in her ability to speak at length without saying anything of substance on critical questions—especially the limits of judicial power and the importance of judicial restraint", adding, "I don't agree with the judge on where, based on her opinions, she draws the limits of judicial power, and I don't think she places as great an importance as I do on judicial restraint in a Madisonian system of checks and balances and separation of powers, and, for that reason, I will be voting no."[153]

On July 27, 2022, Kennedy voted against the Chips and Science Act, a bill regarding semiconductor production. He called the bill "a subsidy to Big Tech", adding, "These are extraordinary American companies that Congress just helped, but they're very profitable, and the supply of chips is growing now. My concern is the amount of money. For that amount, we could have doubled the R&D tax credit for every company in America."[154]

On August 7, 2022, Kennedy voted against the Inflation Reduction Act, calling it a "massive tax-and-spending bill".[155] While the bill was being amended, Kennedy attempted to include an amendment he drafted with Senator Raphael Warnock to cap the price of insulin at $35 per month; the amendment did not receive the 60 votes needed to be included.[156]

118th Congress (2023–present)[edit]

By late 2022 there was again speculation that Kennedy might run for governor in the 2023 election, when Edwards would be term limited, but he ended the rumors on the second day of the 118th Congress by announcing he again would prefer to stay in the Senate.[157]

On January 25, 2023, Kennedy quizzed Biden's judicial nominee Charnelle Bjelkengren on basic questions about the Constitution of the United States, whether she could state the functions of Articles V and II, and whether she could define purposivism and the independent state legislature theory.[158] Bjelkengren failed to answer all four questions.[159] After the hearing, Kennedy told a local reporter at NBC News, "Some of these nominees that have been forced in the last two years have no business being anywhere near a federal bench—they don't have any business being anywhere near a park bench."[159] Bjelkengren later withdrew her nomination.[160]

In May 2023, Kennedy sparked a diplomatic row with Mexico after he said, "Without the people of America, Mexico, figuratively speaking, would be eating cat food out of a can and living in a tent",[161] while asking DEA Administrator Anne Milgram why the U.S. was not asking Mexico to partner more effectively with the U.S. to stop the flow of fentanyl over the border.[162] Kennedy introduced a bill to classify drug cartels as terrorist organizations because they traffic fentanyl, a drug that killed more than 70,000 Americans in 2022.[163] He also introduced a bill in 2023 to increase the prison sentences for fentanyl dealers, saying, "You have to have 400 grams. . . to face a mandatory 10-year sentence. Four hundred grams will kill 200,000 people dead as a doornail. Shreveport, Louisiana, is home to 184,000 people. So, a dealer could [have] 400 grams—an amount that could kill every man, woman, and child in Shreveport—in order to get a mandatory 10-year sentence."[164] Senate Democrats blocked the bill, citing concerns over incarceration rates.[165]

In 2023, Kennedy and Senator Kyrsten Sinema introduced a bill to install a special inspector general to track the money the U.S. sends Ukraine to fight its war with Russia, like the inspector general tasked with tracking money in Afghanistan. Kennedy and Sinema said of the bill, "One of the best ways we can avoid escalation (and bring this conflict to a close) is by ensuring that the investments America has already made pay off instead of being wasted, lost or diverted."[166] A vote to add the bill to the National Defense Authorization Act failed.[167]

Kennedy was among the 31 Senate Republicans who voted against final passage of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023.[168]

In September 2023, Kennedy read explicit passages from All Boys Aren't Blue and Gender Queer during a Senate judiciary hearing on book banning. When he asked whether the books should be available to children, Senator Dick Durbin replied, "No one is advocating for sexually explicit content to be available in an elementary school library or a children's section of a library."[169]

Committee assignments[edit]


Political positions[edit]

Kennedy holds a score of 89% for the 116th Congress and a lifetime score of 83% from Heritage Action for America.[171] The American Conservative Union's Center of Legislative Accountability gives Kennedy a lifetime rating of 83.74.[172] His Humane Society Legislative Fund rating has ranged between 67% (2019) and 28% (2017), with his last (2020) at 57%.[173] 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.[173]


Kennedy is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. As a member, he voted to confirm Justices Neil Gorsuch,[174] Brett Kavanaugh,[175] and Amy Coney Barrett.[176] He voted against the nomination of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.[177]

Kennedy has defended the blue slip process for district court judges, saying that it "encourages bipartisan cooperation … The blue slip process makes our court system fairer and stronger. And that’s good for our democracy."[178] He often asks judicial nominees basic questions about the Constitution during their confirmation process, occasionally stumping them.[179]

Kennedy has opposed the effort to add more justices to the Supreme Court,[180] claiming it would "delegitimize" the Court. He has said he supports judges and justices who believe in "judicial restraint", adding, "Federal judges don't make law. They don't tell us what the law ought to be. They tell us what the law is."[181] Kennedy opposed Congress establishing ethics standards for justices. He claimed such a move would violate the Constitution and called it a "a crusade to undermine the United States' Supreme Court's legitimacy and the credibility of the federal judiciary."[182]

Natural disasters and conservation[edit]

Kennedy has advocated for natural disaster aid for Louisiana to address hurricane damage as a member of the Appropriations Committee.[183] He worked to reform the National Flood Insurance Program because he believes flood insurance is too expensive for coastal communities, including those in Louisiana. In 2023, Kennedy called on FEMA to disclose the algorithm it uses to determine flood insurance prices after premiums increased rapidly under FEMA's Risk Rating 2.0, saying, "Since millions of Louisianians depend on the NFIP to protect their homes from natural disasters, FEMA must come clean about why premiums are skyrocketing under Risk Rating 2.0. In the meantime, my bills would ensure fairer rates for the people of Louisiana."[184]

As treasurer, Kennedy believed in investing in coastal restoration and conservation. He worked to ensure that settlement money from the BP oil spill was used for coastal protection and restoration.[185] Kennedy also fought to protect tobacco settlement money that had been allocated toward coastal restoration after the governor proposed using the money to cover other state debts.[186]

Health care[edit]

Kennedy supported the "skinny repeal" of the Affordable Care Act in 2017, a vote that failed. He said, "It's not a loss for the Republican Party—it's a loss for the American people. But I intend to keep my promise to the people of Louisiana, to get rid of Obamacare."[187] Kennedy has supported capping the price of insulin. He and Senator Raphael Warnock introduced a bill to cap the price at $35.[188]

As treasurer, Kennedy fought to keep investing tobacco settlement money in health care rather than reallocating it toward other budget shortfalls.[189]


Kennedy opposed President Biden's student loan forgiveness plan, saying, "Americans who already paid off their debt, worked through college, went to a trade school, or chose to not go to school will pay off the loans that other people incurred. On what planet is that fair?"[190] He celebrated the Supreme Court's ruling against loan forgiveness, writing, "Biden's attempt to cancel student debt was a woke injustice: Forcing Americans who paid their debt or chose not to go to school to foot bills for [people] who haven’t paid back their personal loans. SCOTUS made the right call. Hardworking Americans will be better off for it."[191]

Kennedy supports school choice and has argued that parents should get to pick the school their child attends, especially if their district is providing a poor education. He said, "We can't seem to teach our kids how to read and write and do basic math when we've got 18 years to do it. I don't understand that…I don't care what the political cost is. I'm willing to try just about anything to improve public elementary and secondary education, including vouchers, including school choice, including charter schools."[192]

In 2023, Kennedy encouraged the Louisiana legislature to pass HB 12, a bill that requires schools to give extra tutoring to students who cannot read at grade level by third grade.[193] He has served as a volunteer substitute teacher in Louisiana schools for more than a decade.[194] He told CNBC he volunteered at the schools because "It occurred to me that not many of the folks in that room really knew what public schools were like today".[93]


Kennedy has warned against allowing Chinese investors into American markets without safeguards to prevent insider trading. He passed two bills, the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act and the Accelerating Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, to require American markets to delist foreign companies that do not allow reviews of their audits.[195]

Kennedy criticized regulators for failing to spot the failure of Silicon Valley Bank, saying, "Where were the regulators? You couldn’t have found them with a search party."[196]

Immigration and border security[edit]

Kennedy opposes illegal immigration and has called for stronger border security. In 2008, while serving as Louisiana treasurer, he criticized Senator Mary Landrieu for opposing legislation that would have prevented illegal immigrants from receiving Social Security benefits.[197] In 2019, Kennedy supported Trump's effort to build a border wall and said he believed it could save taxpayers money by reducing the number of migrants on government benefits. He also called for illegal immigrants to pay fines for breaking immigration laws, saying, "If you cross the border illegally or overstay your visit to this country, then you should pay a stiff penalty."[198] Kennedy said weak border policies have allowed fentanyl to flow into the United States, leading to thousands of overdose deaths annually. He introduced a bill to extend the prison sentences of those caught dealing fentanyl.[199] Kennedy also introduced a bill to classify cartels south of the border as terrorist organizations.[163]

Kennedy supports legal immigration, saying, "Legal immigration makes the country better. We are, after all, a nation of immigrants."[200]


Kennedy is "strongly opposed" to abortion.[201] He supported the 2022 overturning of Roe v. Wade, saying, "today's decision to return the issue of abortion to the American people and the states corrects a legal and moral error."[202]

Greenhouse emissions[edit]

In 2019, Kennedy introduced the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act,[203] 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.[204] 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.[205] [non-primary source needed]


Kennedy had an "A" rating in 2016 and "A+" rating in 2022 from the NRA Political Victory Fund (NRA), which endorsed him during both elections.[206][207][83] Kennedy opposed a rule from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms that effectively reclassified guns equipped with pistol stabilizing braces as short barreled rifles, which would require gun owners to register the weapons with the federal government. He argued the rule harmed gun owners with disabilities who needed the braces to use handguns. He tried to pass a joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to block the rule, but the resolution failed by a vote of 50–49.[208] Kennedy supports gun ownership for self-defense and often says, "I believe love is the answer. I do. But I also own a handgun, just in case."[209]

Criminal justice[edit]

Kennedy opposed the First Step Act, a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill. The bill passed 87–12 on December 18, 2018.[210] Kennedy said the bill did not do enough to protect victims of crime, saying, "This is not a criminal justice bill. It is a prisoner release bill. We should be protecting victims of crimes and not the offenders who committed the crimes."[211] In 2023, he introduced a bill that would lower the amount of fentanyl a dealer must possess to face the mandatory minimum prison sentence.[199]

Kennedy has criticized prosecutors for declining to prosecute some offenders. In 2023, he introduced the Prosecutors Need to Prosecute Act, which requires prosecutors to disclose when they decline to prosecute cases. It would also remove funding for prosecutors who fail to report such cases.[212]

Net neutrality[edit]

On March 7, 2018, Kennedy introduced a bill that would "prohibit companies like Comcast and Verizon from blocking or throttling web content."[213] 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.

Foreign policy[edit]

Kennedy greeting Vyacheslav Volodin in July 2018

As Louisiana treasurer, Kennedy defended his choice to invest state money in Israeli bonds, writing, "Here’s how the U.S. Secretary of State’s Office sums up our nation's relationship with Israel: 'The United States was the first country to recognize Israel as a state in 1948. Since then, Israel has become, and remains, America's most reliable partner in the Middle East. Israel and the United States are bound closely by historic and cultural ties as well as by mutual interests.' That—along with Israel Bonds' solid track record—is good enough for me.”[214]

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 United Nations report 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."[215]

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.[216]

Kennedy criticized Biden for his conduct of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, saying, "President Biden chose to withdraw from Afghanistan, but there’s no reason it had to be so chaotic. We all saw it: The panic, the fear, the chaos, the abandonment of equipment, the scrambling to destroy unclassified documents and classified documents, thousands of Americans and our allies trapped behind Taliban lines, no plan for the refugees… I am so sorry that all of our American soldiers who fought so valiantly had to witness what we all saw, and what we saw was stunning incompetence."[217]

Kennedy has been hawkish on China, especially when it comes to stopping Chinese companies from breaking American stock market rules. He passed two bills, the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act and the Accelerating Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, to delist any company that refuses to have its audits inspected by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.[218]

Kennedy supported sending aid to Ukraine, saying, "This is not just the fight for the people of Ukraine. It's a fight for the people of the United States of America. It’s a fight for our national security."[219] He advocated for a special inspector general to monitor the aid given to Ukraine following Russia's invasion.[220] Kennedy expressed concern that money was being misspent, saying, "Ukraine is not without flaws. We've heard several unsettling reports of bad actors exploiting our generosity… We trust that our friends in Ukraine take corruption seriously. We must verify, too."[221]

Personal life[edit]

Kennedy and his wife, Becky,[222] are founding members of their local Methodist church in Madisonville.

Despite sharing the first name and last name of the 35th president of the United States, he is not related to the Kennedy family of Massachusetts.[223]

Kennedy's family have been political and economic elites in Louisiana since the 19th century. Kennedy's great-grandfather Leonidas Calhoun owned hundreds of acres of land in Catahoula and Concordia Parish, which employed sharecroppers. Kennedy inherited hundreds of acres of land in Catahoula when his mother died.[224]

Electoral history[edit]

2004 United States Senate election in Louisiana
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican David Vitter 943,014 51.03%
Democratic Chris John 542,150 29.34%
Democratic John Kennedy 275,821 14.92%
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%
Majority 400,864 21.69%
Turnout 1,848,056
Republican gain from Democratic
2008 United States Senate election in Louisiana
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Mary Landrieu (incumbent) 988,298 52.11% +0.41%
Republican John Kennedy 867,177 45.72% -2.58%
Libertarian Richard Fontanesi 18,590 0.98% n/a
Independent Jay Patel 13,729 0.72% n/a
Independent Robert Stewart 8,780 0.46% n/a
Majority 121,121 6.39% +2.99
Turnout 1,896,574 100
Democratic hold
2016 Louisiana US Senate blanket primary[225]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican John Kennedy 482,591 25.0%
Democratic Foster Campbell 337,833 17.5%
Republican Charles Boustany 298,008 15.4%
Democratic Caroline Fayard 240,917 12.5%
Republican John Fleming 204,026 10.6%
Republican Rob Maness 90,856 4.7%
Republican David Duke 58,606 3.0%
Democratic Derrick Edwards 51,774 2.7%
Democratic Gary Landrieu 45,587 2.4%
Republican Donald "Crawdaddy" Crawford 25,523 1.3%
Republican Joseph Cao 21,019 1.1%
No party Beryl Billiot 19,352 1.0%
Libertarian Thomas Clements 11,370 0.6%
No party Troy Hebert 9,503 0.5%
Democratic Josh Pellerin 7,395 0.4%
Democratic Peter Williams 6,855 0.4%
Democratic Vinny Mendoza 4,927 0.3%
No party Kaitlin Marone 4,108 0.2%
Libertarian Le Roy Gillam 4,067 0.2%
Republican Charles Eugene Marsala 3,684 0.2%
Republican Abhay Patel 1,576 0.1%
No party Arden Wells 1,483 0.1%
Other Bob Lang 1,424 0.1%
Other Gregory Taylor 1,151 0.1%
Total 1,933,635 100
2016 United States Senate election in Louisiana[226]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican John Kennedy 536,191 60.65% +4.09%
Democratic Foster Campbell 347,816 39.35% +1.68%
Total votes 884,007 100 N/A
Republican hold
2022 United States Senate election in Louisiana
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican John Kennedy (incumbent) 851,527 61.6
Democratic Gary Chambers 246,928 17.9
Democratic Luke Mixon 182,877 13.2
Democratic Syrita Steib 31,567 2.3
Republican Devin Lance Graham 25,275 1.8
Democratic MV "Vinny" Mendoza 11,910 0.9
Independent Beryl Billiot 9,378 0.7
Democratic Salvador P. Rodriguez 7,766 0.6
Independent Bradley McMorris 5,388 0.4
Libertarian Aaron C. Sigler 4,863 0.4
Independent Alexander "Xan" John 2,752 0.2
Independent W. Thomas La Fontaine Olson 1,676 0.1
Independent Thomas Wenn 1,322 0.1
Total votes 1,383,229 100
Republican hold

Selected publications[edit]

Kennedy has written and published the following books and articles:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Bridges, Tyler. "John Kennedy says he is seriously considering race for governor, releases poll". Archived from the original on August 10, 2023. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  2. ^ Deslatte, Melinda. "Louisiana governor's race surprise: Sen. Kennedy won't run". Houma Today. Archived from the original on August 10, 2023. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  3. ^ a b "Sen. John Kennedy launches 2022 re-election bid: 'I will not let you down. I'd rather drink weed killer.'". June 2021. Archived from the original on August 21, 2022. Retrieved December 6, 2021.
  4. ^ "Louisiana Secretary of State Official Results Tues Nov 8 2022". Louisiana Secretary of State. November 9, 2022. Archived from the original on May 18, 2019. Retrieved March 17, 2023.
  5. ^ a b "John Kennedy (R) won the race for Louisiana Senate". Politico. Retrieved August 25, 2023.
  6. ^ Bernstein, Mark F. (May 28, 2017). "The First Year Senator". University of Virginia School of Law. Archived from the original on June 5, 2018. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  7. ^ "U.S. Senator John Kennedy Congressional Update Luncheon". Natchitoches Parish Journal. Retrieved August 22, 2023.
  8. ^ "Southeastern Louisiana University FACULTY SENATE Meeting Minutes" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 22, 2015. Retrieved November 22, 2015.
  9. ^ "About Treasurer Kennedy". Archived from the original on November 27, 2015. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
  10. ^ a b The Shreveport Times, Attorney General candidates (October 13, 1991)
  11. ^ "About Treasurer Kennedy". Louisiana Department of the Treasury. Archived from the original on June 26, 2014. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  12. ^ "Roemer is no-show for opening session", Minden Press-Herald, April 7, 1991, p. 1
  13. ^ "Civil Justice Reform". LABI. Archived from the original on August 10, 2023. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  14. ^ a b c Kennedy, John. "A primer on the Louisiana Products Liability Act". Louisiana Law Review. Archived from the original on April 3, 2019. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  15. ^ a b c d e f Maginnis, John. "Treasure the Moment". The Gambit. Archived from the original on August 10, 2023. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  16. ^ Garner, James. "The Louisiana 1998 Products Liability Reform Act: The Changes and Their Effects". Tulane University. Archived from the original on August 11, 2023. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  17. ^ "Products Liability in Louisiana under the LPLA". Louisiana Lawyer Blog. Archived from the original on August 10, 2023. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  18. ^ Maginnis, John. "National interest groups invade Louisiana politics, challenge campaign limits: John Maginnis". Archived from the original on August 11, 2023. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  19. ^ "New Integration Plan for Louisiana Colleges". New York Times. Archived from the original on August 10, 2023. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  20. ^ Hillburn, Greg. "Former Gov. Roemer endorses Kennedy for Senate". News Star. Archived from the original on August 10, 2023. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  21. ^ Bridges, Tyler. "Buddy Roemer, reform governor who switched parties and lost re-election bid, dies at 77". The Advocate. Archived from the original on August 10, 2023. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  22. ^ Bridges, Tyler (December 11, 2016). "Here's the secret to John N. Kennedy's U.S. Senate win". The Acadiana Advocate. Archived from the original on October 27, 2020. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  23. ^ The Town Talk, Ieyoub, Bagert in AG runoff (October 21, 1991)
  24. ^ Gomez, Ron, My Name Is Ron And I'm a Recovering Legislator: Memoirs of a Louisiana State Representative. Lafayette, LA: Zemog Publishing, 2000, p. 247; ISBN 0-9700156-0-7
  25. ^ "Foster's first appointments fill nine of 12 Cabinet posts". January 8, 1996. Archived from the original on March 16, 2023. Retrieved March 16, 2023.
  26. ^ Sharkey, Richard. "Mike Foster endorses John Kennedy in U.S. Senate race". Town Talk. Archived from the original on August 11, 2023. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  27. ^ "Brett Crawford Appointed Acting Revenue Secretary". May 3, 1999. Archived from the original on October 25, 2020. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  28. ^ Henderson, Byron. "Louisiana Unclaimed Property Program To Be Featured On "Dateline NBC" News Program". Louisiana Department of Revenue. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  29. ^ Henderson, Bryon. "Louisiana Joins 39 States In Effort to Collect Unclaimed Property From Holders". Louisiana Department of Revenue. Archived from the original on August 10, 2023. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  30. ^ a b Henderson, Byron. "Over $164,000 in Unclaimed Property Returned To Cities, Towns and Municipalities". Louisiana Department of Revenue. Archived from the original on August 10, 2023. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  31. ^ Ballard, Mark. "Treasurer candidates vow to keep controversial unclaimed property program". The Advocate. Archived from the original on August 10, 2023. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  32. ^ Brown, Danny. "Governor Signs Taxpayer's Bill of Rights" (PDF). Louisiana Tax Topics. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 25, 2016. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  33. ^ Henderson, Byron (March 23, 1999). "1999 Legislative Session Proposals Announced". Louisiana Department of Revenue. Archived from the original on August 10, 2023. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  34. ^ Henderson, Byron (March 23, 1999). "TeleFile Program Reaches Thousands In 1999". Louisiana Department of Revenue. Archived from the original on August 10, 2023. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  35. ^ Henderson, Byron (January 19, 1999). "1998 Louisiana State Tax Forms Mailed To Taxpayers". Louisiana Department of Revenue. Archived from the original on August 10, 2023. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  36. ^ "Louisiana election returns for state treasurer". Louisiana Secretary of State. October 23, 1999. Archived from the original on June 22, 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  37. ^ Sentell, Will (October 20, 2016). "Louisiana state treasurer John Kennedy hopes third time is charm in U.S. Senate bid". The Advocate. Archived from the original on January 13, 2021. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  38. ^ "Advisory Group on Outsourcing, Privatization and Risk Management" (PDF). Commission on Streamlining Government. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  39. ^ "Streamlining Commission Starts Sifting". KTBS. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  40. ^ McIntyre, Wade. "Louisiana Treasurer John Kennedy unhappy with streamlining effort". State Journal-Register. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  41. ^ Gramlich, John. "Weekly Wrap: Streamlining State Government". Stateline. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  42. ^ Ballard, Mark; Karlin, Sam. "Louisiana's 'unclaimed property' program at center of battle between treasurer, governor". The Advocate. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  43. ^ Hagen, Joe. "Treasurer Kennedy on Unclaimed Property". WBRZ. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  44. ^ Brown, Shelley. "FOX 8 Defenders: Man hits jackpot with unclaimed property". Fox *. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  45. ^ "La. Treasury finds almost $45 million in insurance benefits owed to residents". KPLC. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  46. ^ McGinnis, John; Alford, Jeremy. "Treasurer's job not big enough for Kennedy". Baton Rouge Business Report. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  47. ^ Stickney, Ken. "Kennedy: Bond rating helps Louisiana push forward in I-49 funding". Daily Advertiser. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  48. ^ a b "Louisiana to refinance debt for $82M for this year's budget". WDSU. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  49. ^ "State Treasurer Urges Refinancing of Debt". KPLC. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  50. ^ "BOND MONEY COMING TO SEVERAL PARISHES". KPEL. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  51. ^ a b Varney, James. "Budget Wars - a Q&A with Louisiana State Treasurer John Kennedy: James Varney". Times Picayune. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  52. ^ Deslatte, Melinda. "Jindal And Kennedy Reach A Deal On $200M Borrowing". New Orleans Business Insider. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  53. ^ "Treasurer: Debt refinancing saved Louisiana 12 million". Minden Press Herald. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  54. ^ Green, Sean. "State bond commission saves taxpayers millions through refinancings". Bossier Press. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  55. ^ "Louisiana to save millions by refinancing highway projects". The Advocate. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  56. ^ Hillburn, Greg. "Contract saga continues; cut them, Kennedy says". News Star. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  57. ^ Sandler, Tim; Myer, Lisa. "Ex-FEMA chief profiteering on Katrina?". NBC News. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  58. ^ Baum, Dan. "The Lost Year". New Yorker. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  59. ^ "State Treasurer refers 19 non profits to Office of Debt Recovery". WAFB. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  60. ^ Avery, Cole. "Kennedy presses police retirement system for answers on 'Edmonson Act'". Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  61. ^ Kennedy, John. "John N. Kennedy: Both Right and Left should fight food stamp fraud". Ouachita Citizen. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  62. ^ "Louisiana Gets $137M in Tobacco Settlement Funds". Courthouse News. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  63. ^ a b c Kennedy, John. "John Kennedy: Last savings account now targeted". Town Talk. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  64. ^ a b c Wakefield, Tanner; Glantz, Stanton. "Blowing Smoke Out of the Bayou: The Battle for Tobacco Control in Louisiana" (PDF). Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  65. ^ "Decision could Come in June on Tobacco Money". WAFB. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  66. ^ Wales, Gus. "START college saving program expands investment options and online account capabilities". Office of Student Financial Assistance. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  67. ^ Kilpatrick-Stone, KC. "Louisiana's START College Savings Program as the fifth best 529 plan in the nation". KTBS. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  68. ^ Levine, Marianne; Everett, Burgess (December 3, 2019). "Folksy John Kennedy gets serious pushback on Ukraine mess". Politico. Archived from the original on December 4, 2019. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  69. ^ a b Moller, Jan. "Treasurer bolts to GOP". The Times Picayune. Archived from the original on April 27, 2014. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  70. ^ McInnis, John. "Treasure the Moment". The Gambit. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  71. ^ Barrow, Bill. "Treasurer John Kennedy, with no official role in budget process, outlines $3 billion savings plan". Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  72. ^ "Kennedy IDs $9M in pork for Blanco knife". New Orleans City Business. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  73. ^ 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.[permanent dead link] A particular focus of Kennedy's cost-saving ideas was reduction in the hiring of consultants.
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External links[edit]

Party political offices
Title last held by
Ken Duncan
Democratic nominee for Treasurer of Louisiana
Title next held by
Derrick Edwards
New title Republican nominee for Treasurer of Louisiana
2007, 2011, 2015
Succeeded by
Preceded by Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Louisiana
(Class 2)

Succeeded by
Preceded by Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Louisiana
(Class 3)

2016, 2022
Most recent
Political offices
Preceded by Treasurer of Louisiana
Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
David Vitter
U.S. senator (Class 3) from Louisiana
Served alongside: Bill Cassidy
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas United States Senator from New Hampshire Order of precedence of the United States
as United States Senator from Louisiana

since January 3, 2017
Succeeded byas United States Senator from Indiana
United States senators by seniority
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