John Neely Kennedy

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John Neely Kennedy

Assumed office 
January 3, 2017
Preceded by David Vitter

Louisiana State Treasurer
In office
January 10, 2000 – January 3, 2017
Preceded by Kenneth "Ken" Duncan
Succeeded by Ron Henson (interim)

Born November 21, 1951
Centreville, Mississippi
Resting place Democrat-turned Republican (2007)
Spouse(s) Rebecca Stulb Kennedy
Children Preston Kennedy
Residence Madisonville, Louisiana
Alma mater Vanderbilt University
University of Virginia
Magdalen College, Oxford
Religion United Methodist

John Neely Kennedy (born November 21, 1951) is an attorney and politician who is the junior United States Senator from Louisiana, with service since January 3, 2017. A former Democrat who switched parties in 2007, he was his state's treasurer from 2000 to 2017.

Kennedy's 2016 landslide victory for the Senate over the Democrat Foster Lonnie Campbell, Jr., of Bossier Parish was in sharp contrast to the two losing races that he had made for the Senate in 2004 as a Democrat against Republican David Vitter and in 2008 as a Republican against Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu. When Vitter did not seek a third term in the Senate in 2016, after he lost a race for governor in 2015 to the Democrat John Bel Edwards, Kennedy launched his third bid for the position. He had mended fences with Vitter, whom he supported in the gubernatorial race, and Vitter backed Kennedy as his successor.

In 1988, Kennedy first entered politics as the special legal counsel for incoming Governor Buddy Roemer, a Democrat who switched parties in 1991. He returned to the private practice of law until 1996, when Governor Mike Foster, another Democrat-turned-Republican, appointed Kennedy secretary of the Louisiana Department of Revenue.[1]

Though born in southwestern Mississippi, Kennedy was reared in Zachary in East Baton Rouge Parish, near the capital city of Baton Rouge. He resides in Madisonville in St. Tammany Parish is suburban New Orleans, sixty-six miles from Baton Rouge.

Senator Kennedy endorsed his fellow St. Tammany Parish resident, Republican former state Representative John Schroder in the special election runoff held on November 18, 2017, to choose Kennedy's successor as state treasurer. Schroder won his race for treasurer.

In June 2018, Kennedy called upon Louisiana's Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards to step down from his position and turn the office over to Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser, a Republican. Kennedy is critical of Edwards' repeated calling of special legislative sessions to obtain more tax increases to close a state budget deficit. Kennedy maintains spending must first be reduced before higher taxes should be considered. Edwards' office called Kennedy's demand "absurd."[2] Kennedy's opposition to Edwards drew the scrutiny of the liberal Baton Rouge Advocate newspaper, which claimed the U.S. senator is using his office as "a platform for politically absurd suggestions" and should instead "focus on what is really important to those that elected him. The U.S. Senate, Kennedy's ostensible workplace, hasn't exactly been a model of accomplishment lately. If the senator is worried about the lack of political leadership these days, he should start by looking into the mirror."[3]


  1. Ron Gomez, My Name Is Ron And I'm a Recovering Legislator: Memoirs of a Louisiana State Representative, (Lafayette, Louisiana: Zemog Publishing, 2000), isbn=0-9700156-0-7, p. 247
  2. Elizabeth Crisp (June 12, 2018). Sen. John Kennedy: John Bel Edwards should resign; governor's office says that's 'absurd'. Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on June 13, 2018.
  3. Our Views: John Kennedy worried about lack of leadership? He should look into the mirror (commentary). Baton Rouge Advocate (June 12, 2018). Retrieved on June 13, 2018.