|Attorney General of Louisiana|
January 11, 2016
|Governor||John Bel Edwards|
|Preceded by||Buddy Caldwell|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 3rd district
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2013
|Preceded by||Charlie Melancon|
|Succeeded by||Charles Boustany|
|Born||Jeffrey Martin Landry
December 23, 1970
St. Martinville, Louisiana, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Louisiana, Lafayette
Loyola University, New Orleans
|Awards||Army Achievement Medal
Army Commendation Medal
Louisiana War Cross
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1987–1998|
|Unit||Louisiana National Guard|
Jeffrey Martin Landry, known as Jeff Landry (born December 23, 1970), is the Attorney General of Louisiana. On January 11, 2016, he succeeded Buddy Caldwell, the man whom he unseated in the runoff election held on November 21, 2015. Landry is also a former U.S. Representative for Louisiana's 3rd congressional district. Landry is a member of the Republican Party and the Tea Party Caucus.
Landry finished a strong second with 347,441 votes (32.7 percent) in the primary held on October 24. Leading the four-candidate field was the two-term incumbent Republican Buddy Caldwell, with 376,187 votes (35.4 percent). Democrat Geraldine "Geri" Broussard Baloney finished third with 187,332 votes (17.6 percent). Another Democrat, Isaac "Ike" Jackson of Plaquemine in Iberville Parish, finished fourth with 115,037 votes (10.8 percent); a second Republican, Marty Maley came in last with 37,787 votes (3.6 percent). In the second round of balloting, Landry prevailed, 610,435 (56.3 percent) to Caldwell's 473,876 (43.7 percent).
Early life, education, and military service
Landry's mother is a religion school teacher at Trinity Catholic School in St. Martinville in St. Martin Parish. His father is an architect and businessman. Jeff Landry received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (then known as the University of Southwestern Louisiana) in environmental and sustainable resources, with a minor in biology. He earned a JD degree from Loyola University New Orleans Law School.
He served at Fort Hood near Killeen, Texas, during Operation Desert Storm. After eleven years of service in the Louisiana National Guard, he was discharged at the rank of sergeant. His military commendations include the Army Achievement and Army Commendation medals, National Defense and Overseas Training ribbons, and the Louisiana War Cross.
Landry is a former St. Martin Parish sheriff's deputy and a former police officer in Parks. He was formerly employed by the St. Martin Economic Development Authority. Just out of high school, he worked in the sugar cane fields. He is an attorney and small businessman in New Iberia.
2007 State senate election
In the 2007 general election, he ran for Louisiana's 22nd Senate District when incumbent Republican State Senator Craig Romero was term-limited. In the general election, he faced Democrat Troy Hebert of Jeanerette in Iberia Parish. Hebert later declared himself an Independent. Hebert defeated Landry 51–49 percent. At the time the district had a 3–1 Democratic majority.
U.S. House of Representatives
A lifelong Republican, Landry jumped into the race after Democratic incumbent Charlie Melancon relinquished the seat to make an unsuccessful run for the Senate against David Vitter. Landry won his party's congressional nomination in a runoff election held on October 2, 2010. He defeated former Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives Hunt Downer of Houma, 19,657 votes to 10,549 votes (65–35 percent). He won every parish in the district except for Downer's Terrebonne Parish.
Landry participated in 2010 in Louisiana Tea Party movement rallies and carries the endorsement of that organization. The Third District voted 61–37 for U.S. Senator John S. McCain of Arizona in the 2008 presidential election. The Tea Party ran a "Down with Downer" campaign and referred to him as a Democrat (Downer had been a Democrat until 2001). Downer accused Landry of compensating a Tea Party organizer in return for the endorsement of the group. Downer ran advertising which accused Landry of misleading voters about Downer's position on abortion.
Landry nearly won the GOP nomination outright in the August 28 closed primary, but he fell .9 of 1 percent short of the 50 percent plus one-vote threshold required for nomination in Louisiana. Therefore he and Downer entered the runoff contest. In the showdown, Landry won 79 percent in his own Iberia Parish, while Downer was held to 61 percent in Terrebonne. Landry polled more than 70 percent in the runoff in St. Mary, St. Martin, St. John the Baptist, St. Charles, and St. James parishes.
Landry soundly defeated his Democratic opponent, Ravi Kishan Sangisetty, an attorney from Houma, 108,957 votes (64%) to 61,909 (36%). He won all but two smaller parishes in the district, St. James and St. John the Baptist. He won Sangisetty's own Terrebonne Parish. He became the second freshman Republican to represent the 3rd District since Reconstruction. Both candidates had pledged to reject congressional perks for themselves, including retirement and health care benefits. Landry said that Sangisetty's "choice of party affiliation and alliance with his Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, proves he supports the Washington Democrat's liberal agenda of increased taxes, government takeovers of private industry and dramatically liberal values."
Louisiana lost a congressional district due to out-migration during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Landry's district was dismantled, and its territory split among three neighboring districts. Landry was drawn into the same district as fellow Republican Charles Boustany of the neighboring 7th District. The new district retained Landry's district number—the 3rd—but geographically and demographically is more Boustany's district. Boustany was the choice of establishment Republicans, while the freshman Landry was a grassroots Tea Party candidate. Landry was endorsed by Citizens United. Landry led Boustany in third-quarter 2011 fundraising, $251,000 to $218,000. According to Federal Election Commission, Boustany led in cash-on-hand lead, $1.1 million–$402,000. Landry carried the endorsement of Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum political action committee.
In the November 6 election, Landry trailed Boustany by 45,596 votes. Boustany led the five-candidate field with 139,123 votes (44.7 percent); Landry received 93,527 votes (30 percent). The Democrat Ron Richard procured 67,070 votes (21.5 percent), 7,908 votes (2.5 percent) and 3,765 votes (1.2 percent) were cast, respectively, for Republican Bryan Barrilleaux and the Libertarian Jim Stark. Because none of the five candidates received a majority, Boustany and Landry went into a runoff contest held on December 8.
With 58,820 votes (60.9 percent), Boustany defeated Landry, who polled 37,764 ballots (39.1 percent). Landy prevailed in only three of the ten parishes in the revised district, all of which he then represented, including his home parish of St. Martin, his residence of Iberia, and St. Mary Parish. His margin in those three parishes, however, was 30 percentage points over Boustany.
During his short tenure in Congress, Landry was known as a staunch advocate for the Oil and Natural Gas industry. He has heavily criticized President Obama saying, "Republicans continue to criticize the president for being anti-oil. He says that's not true, but his actions don’t match his rhetoric."
Landry made national headlines by holding up a sign saying Drilling=jobs during Obama's national jobs plan speech in September 2011. Regarding the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Landry opposed the liability cap on BP while supporting the Gulf Hurricane Protection Project.
On June 4, 2012, Landry, in a radio program produced by the American Center for Law and Justice, said that the Obama administration was "granting special status or waivers to Muslims as they go through TSA screenings." The Transportation Security Administration does not grant any religious exemptions to Muslims.
In July 2012, Landry made local headlines when he declared his opposition to the establishment of a minor field in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He wrote to the university's president, Dr. Joe Savoie, saying, "As our nation continues to struggle with high unemployment, higher education's primary mission should be ensuring current and future students have the tools necessary to compete in the 21st century economy." Landry also criticized the new minor as an unnecessary use of taxpayer funding. Savoie refused to drop the course.
In a blog post, he said that the program "did not require budgetary allocations or divert resources from other areas." Savoie also explained, "Our desired posture is to be neither advocate nor adversary on controversial social issues of the day. Rather, our responsibility is to provide in an impartial manner an opportunity for investigation, analysis, and understanding."
- House Committee on Natural Resources
- House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure
- House Committee on Small Business
- Republican Study Committee
- Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus
- National Guard & Reserve Components Caucus
- Coast Guard Caucus
- General Aviation Caucus
- Tea Party Caucus
- Values Action Team
From Washington to Baton Rouge
As he departed Washington, D.C., Landry said that his greatest disappointment is the failure of his party leadership to use effectively the House margin that it had received in the 2010 mid-term elections: "We missed some great opportunities and did not take advantage of the gift that the American people gave Republicans."
Landry was critical of then Speaker John Boehner of Ohio for the failure to lower the debt and reduce government spending: "The responsibility for doing that was solely on the shoulders of the Speaker of the House. ... We went in under his guidance, under his words that we were not going to kick the can down the road anymore. I think we're finding out that we're running out of road to kick a can down." Landry urged Boehner to reject any "fiscal cliff" proposals that would increase taxes.
Landry also said that he will not in any way miss the wrangling over taxes and spending that has occurred in recent years at the end of each congressional session: "It's ridiculous. Every year that I've been here, there's a crisis at the end of the year. Basically, Congress and this administration have given the American people a crisis every Christmas now for the last three, four, five years." He said he has not ruled out anything in regard to a future role in politics: "I've learned that when I try to decide what doors are opened and closed without allowing the good Lord to do it—that becomes a train wreck. I believe that when one door closes, another door opens. You have to have a little grace and faith and find out where they are." Landry's congressional legacy may center on the insertion of language which he managed to place into a bill that increases oil revenues to the Gulf Coast.
On February 24, 2014, Landry announced his challenge to Caldwell, who was first elected in 2007 as a Democrat. On July 28, 2015, the Louisiana Republican Party under chairman Roger F. Villere, Jr., formally endorsed Landry. Caldwell said that he would have "welcomed the endorsement, but we weren't counting on it. The state party has never endorsed me before ..." Caldwell questioned Landry's qualifications for the position: "It's unnerving to me that the statewide Republican Party would even think about endorsing someone who has never tried a civil or criminal case in court. I'm not sure really what his qualifications are."
In the primary, Landry amassed a strong showing principally in southwestern Louisiana, including his own St. Martin and Iberia parishes as well as Assumption, Lafayette, St. Mary, and Calcasieu. Caldwell carried most parishes in the primary.
The endorsed Democratic Party choice in the race, Geri Broussard Baloney, an African-American lawyer from Garyville, endorsed Landry in the runoff against Caldwell because she said the state must change the way business is conducted in the attorney general's office. "Geri and I both know the Attorney General’s Office under Buddy Caldwell has been about rewarding the desires of a few, over the needs of the many," said Landry upon receiving her endorsement.
Soon after taking office as attorney general, Landry became embroiled in a public dispute with newly-elected Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards over a lawsuit regarding the Common Core State Standards Initiative, which both political figures have opposed. Edwards said that the state will drop the appeal of a federal lawsuit to block implementation of Common Core. Edwards declared the lawsuit moot because of new federal legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act, and a state legislative compromise agreed upon in 2015 in the last year of the Jindal state administration. Landry first replied that he would review the case and could proceed with the appeal to the federal court. Edwards wrote to Landry: "As in any case the client, not the attorney, should ultimately make the decisions on the course of action, and I have decided this case will not proceed." A few days later, Landry announced that after having reviewed the matter he would defer to Edwards and drop the suit.
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- Landry criticizes President Obama as "anti-oil", thehayride.com; accessed March 1, 2014.
- Shahid, Aliyah (September 9, 2011). "President Obama's jobs speech: GOP Rep. Jeff Landry of Louisiana holds sign 'drilling equals jobs'". Daily News. New York.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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- American Center for Law and Justice speech
- "Congressman Landry asks UL Lafayette president to remove new LGBT minor". KATC-TV. Retrieved February 3, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- "Noisemaker: UL prez addresses LGBT studies minor". theind.com. Retrieved February 3, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- , wdsu.com; accessed March 1, 2014.
- "La. GOP endorses Landry; AG Caldwell dismisses snub". The Shreveport Times. Retrieved July 29, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Mark Ballard (November 2, 2015). "Democrat endorses Republican challenger in attorney general's race". The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved November 5, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Greg Hilburn (February 6, 2016). "Gov. Edwards to AG Landry: Butt out". The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved February 10, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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- Congressman Jeff Landry official U.S. House website
- Jeff Landry for Congress
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Project Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at The Library of Congress
- Jeff Landry profile at FactCheck.org
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 3rd congressional district
|Attorney General of Louisiana