John Bel Edwards
Governor of Louisiana
John Bel Edwards was sworn in as Louisiana’s 56th Governor on January 11, 2016. Governor Edwards’ political career started in 2008 when he was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives, representing District 72 in Louisiana’s Northshore region.
Despite being a freshman legislator, he was selected to lead the House Democratic Caucus and also to chair the House Veterans Affairs committee.
He is a 1988 Dean’s List graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. While at West Point, he was chosen by his classmates as the Vice Chairman of the Honor Committee in Charge of Investigations. After eight years of active duty with the U.S. Army as an Airborne Ranger, culminating with command of a rifle company in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, he went on to graduate Order of the Coif from Louisiana State University’s Paul M. Hebert Law Center.
From the heart of Louisiana, John Bel, as his friends and family know him, excelled in high school athletics (football and baseball) and graduated as valedictorian of his Amite High School class. As one of eight children from a family long dedicated to public service, John Bel carries on the family tradition. With a father who was the elected Sheriff of Tangipahoa Parish – the Edwards have four generations of Tangipahoa Parish Sheriffs in their family lineage with John Bel’s brother Daniel currently serving as Sheriff – John Bel learned the importance of public service at an early age.
His Catholic upbringing and strong family ties have shaped both his commitments to his own community as well as his family. John Bel’s mother taught him both the compassion he demonstrates as a legislator and his belief in the power of prayer. Meanwhile, his family credits his father with ensuring that John Bel carefully considers all sides of an issue before making difficult decisions on behalf of his constituents. In the legislature, Edwards was known as a well-prepared, passionate, articulate and thoughtful debater who was more interested in finding common ground than winning an argument.
John Bel is married to his high-school sweetheart, the former Donna Hutto and they live in Roseland, Louisiana, with their three children, Samantha Bel, Sarah Ellen, and John Miller. They attend St. Helena Catholic Church in Amite.