|45th Attorney General of Louisiana|
January 11, 2016
|Governor||John Bel Edwards|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Louisiana's 3rd district
January 3, 2011 - January 3, 2013
|Charles Boustany (Redistricting)|
Jeffrey Martin Landry
December 23, 1970
|Education||University of Louisiana at Lafayette (BS)|
Loyola University New Orleans (JD)
|Branch/service||United States Army|
|Years of service||1987-1998|
|Unit||Louisiana National Guard|
|Awards||Army Achievement Medal|
Army Commendation Medal
Louisiana War Cross
Jeffrey Martin Landry (born December 23, 1970) is an American lawyer and politician serving as the Attorney General of Louisiana. On January 11, 2016, he succeeded Buddy Caldwell, the incumbent whom he unseated in the runoff election held on November 21, 2015. Landry is a former U.S. Representative for Louisiana's 3rd congressional district. Landry is a member of the Republican Party.
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. He has a brother, Nick, who is openly gay and has criticized his politics. 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 Juris Doctor degree from Loyola University New Orleans Law School.
He served at Fort Hood near Killeen, Texas, during Operation Desert Storm. After eleven years 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.[non-primary source needed]
Landry is a former St. Martin Parish sheriff's deputy and a former police officer in Parks, Louisiana. He was formerly employed by the St. Martin Economic Development Authority. Just out of high school, he worked in the sugar cane fields. Until his election as attorney general, he was an attorney and small businessman based in New Iberia.
When Landry was 23, he worked in the St. Martin Parish Sheriff's Department as a deputy and shared a home in St. Martinville with a friend and fellow deputy, a man who managed to smuggle at least $10,000 worth of cocaine and stash it underneath their home. Once his colleagues caught onto the crime, the police executed a search warrant; Landry pleaded ignorance. His home was searched, and his roommate lost his job and spent some time behind bars. Landry turned in his own badge three or four months later
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 by 51% to 49%. At the time the district had a 3 to 1 Democratic majority.
A lifelong Republican, Landry entered the race to represent Louisiana's 3rd Congressional District after Democratic incumbent Charlie Melancon relinquished the seat to make an unsuccessful run for the Senate against David Vitter. Landry won his party's nomination in a runoff election held on October 2, 2010, defeating former Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives Hunt Downer of Houma, Louisiana, 19,657 votes to 10,549 votes (65-35 percent). He won every parish in the district except for Downer's home parish of Terrebonne.
Landry participated in 2010 in Louisiana Tea Party movement rallies and won that organization's endorsement. The 3rd District voted 61-37 for U.S. Senator John 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 0.9% short of the 50 percent plus one-vote threshold required for nomination in Louisiana. Therefore, he and Downer entered the runoff contest. In the runoff, Landry won 79% in his own Iberia Parish, while Downer was held to 61% in Terrebonne Parish. Landry polled more than 70% 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 was more Boustany's district; Landry only retained the western third of his old district.
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). Landry 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.
During his tenure in Congress, Landry was known as an 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, Savoie 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."
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 did not rule out a future role in politics.
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."
Landry finished second with 347,441 votes (32.7 percent) in the primary held on October 24, 2015. 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). 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.
In the second round of balloting, held on November 21, 2015, Landry prevailed 610,435 (56.3 percent) to Caldwell's 473,876 (43.7 percent).
The Democratic Party choice in the race, Geri Broussard Baloney, an African-American lawyer from Garyville, endorsed Landry in the runoff contest 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. After he assumed office, Landry named Baloney's daughter, Quendi Baloney, to a position in his administration. The Baton Rouge Advocate questioned whether the appointment was made on merit or political consideration. Landry defended his choice by citing the education and experience of Ms. Baloney, a graduate of George Washington University and Loyola University New Orleans College of Law who was formerly employed by the United States Department of Justice. She investigated housing discrimination by Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. Baloney and her colleagues secured a $2.7 million settlement from Sterling.
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.
Soon Landry was in an even larger dispute with the governor. In September 2016, Landry announced that he would block Edwards' attempt to require that state contracts protect gay and lesbian employees from discrimination based on life-style. Edwards then sued Landry over his refusal to approve the contracts. In a press conference, Landry vowed, "I will not cower to executive overreach; rather, I will continue to defend our Constitution and the will of the people."
On December 14, 2016, Judge Todd Hernandez of Baton Rouge declared Edwards' order unconstitutional even though Edwards maintains that his directive exempts contractors who are also tied to religious organizations. Landry claims that the Edwards directive would have established a new "protected class" of individuals that does not exist in state law. Already, Landry had successfully blocked dozens of legal services contracts which included the gay-rights language. Landry told radio talk show host Moon Griffon that he hopes his legal victory over the governor will persuade Edwards not to attempt to govern by executive orders to the extent that outgoing U.S. President Barack H. Obama did during much of his eight-year tenure.
In March 2017, however, Edwards announced that he will appeal the LGBT case won by Landry before Judge Hernandez. In a speech in West Monroe before the Ouachita Republican Women, Landry claimed that Edwards is "playing petty politics" by seeking cuts in the attorney general's office budget while state highways "continue to fail." He noted too that U.S. News and World Report declared that Louisiana is "back to being 50th again" and was ranked "the worst state." Landry also noted that Edwards voted for most of the previous budgets of the former Jindal administration yet continues to claim that he is blameless in the state's ongoing budget crisis which Edwards seeks to resolve through greater taxation.
Landry's brother, Nick H. Landry (born 1982) of St. Martinville, who is openly gay, opposes the attorney general on LGBT issues: "I can't remain silent any longer, because although I am not political, I am a human being, and I just want my rights, my unalienable rights. Those of you who are worried, who are in the same position as me and who may not have an attorney general for a brother, I want you to know I stand with you guys and those who want to be married, and I'll do anything I can do to support anyone and any organization."
Early in 2016, Landry became embroiled in a dispute with Mitch Landrieu, the Democratic mayor of New Orleans, over failed efforts to curtail street crime in New Orleans. Landry named a task force to zero in on the issue without consultation with the Louisiana State Police or the New Orleans Police Department. Landry claims that crime in New Orleans is "more dangerous than Chicago." NOPD Superintendent Michael S. Harrison said that Landry had ignored the city home rule charter and does not have the legal authority "to engage in active law enforcement in New Orleans." Landrieu claimed that Landry's task force has placed the lives of state trooper and city police officers in jeopardy.
In April 2017, Landry again filed suit against Governor John Bel Edwards; this time, he disputes the freezing of $4 million in an escrow fund obtained from a pharmaceutical settlement in 2013, when Buddy Caldwell was the state attorney general. Landry claims that his office is entitled to the funds because it must generate revenues to meet a portion of its own budget. Edwards replied that Landry is fighting budget cuts that have also been imposed on other state offices. "It's another dog and pony show," Edwards said of the suit. Landry called Edwards "an emperor ... a predictable and vindictive Washington-style politician more concerned with political points than the people's business. By playing petty partisan politics, the governor is jeopardizing the operations of the Louisiana Department of Justice." Three months later, Landry withdrew this suit against Edwards which became moot after state Senator Bret Allain of Jeanerette, vice chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, brokered a compromise that transfers $2.7 million to Landry's office operations.
In July 2017, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton led a group of Republican Attorneys General from nine other states, including Landry in Louisiana, as well as Idaho Governor Butch Otter, in threatening the Donald Trump administration that they would litigate if the president did not terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy that had been put into place by president Barack Obama. Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery subsequently reversed his position and withdrew his participation from the proposed suit on August 31. Slatery went further to urge passage of the DREAM Act.
In April 2018, Landry joined Republican U.S. Representative Mike Johnson of Louisiana's 4th congressional district and Christian actor Kirk Cameron to argue under the First Amendment for student-led prayer and religious expression in public schools. Landry and Johnson appeared, with Cameron on a promotional video, at prayer rallies at the First Baptist Church of Minden and Bossier Parish Community College in Bossier City. The gatherings were organized by area pastors, including Brad Jurkovich of First Baptist Bossier, in response to a lawsuit filed in February against the Bossier Parish School Board and the superintendent, Scott Smith. The board and the superintendent are accused of permitting teachers to incorporate various aspects of Christianity in their class presentations.
In 2018, Landry was elected for a one-year term as president of the National Association of Attorneys General. In 2019, Attorneys General from all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and all four U.S. territories were urged by NAAG to support a bill, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1595), sponsored by U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), which would permit marijuana-related businesses in states and territories to use the banking system. The bill would facilitate collection of taxes levied on the $8.3 billion industry, reduce the danger of operating cash-only businesses and more effectively monitor the industry. Only Fox and 16 other A.G.s did not support the measure. 
In August 2018, Landry indicated that he may forego his planned bid for reelection as attorney general in 2019 and instead challenge Governor John Bel Edwards, who is seeking a second term. Landry said that people everywhere approach him and urge him to seek the governorship. He indicated that he may run unless U.S. Senator John N. Kennedy decides to enter the gubernatorial race and called upon interested Republican candidates to announce their intentions. Landry has broken with Edwards on numerous political issues, including the voter referendum scheduled on November 6, 2018, which requires unanimous jury consent for felony convictions, rather than the current ten of twelve jurors. Only Louisiana and Oregon have the lower threshold.
In November, Landry announced that he would not run for governor but instead seek reelection as attorney general.
Landry is the chairman of the Louisiana Committee for a Conservative Majority, which is targeting "Republicans in Name Only" (RINO) state legislators in the 2019 election. Landry rejects "the big tent" approach favored by moderate Republicans and wants conservatives to rally behind core principles. But the state GOP has splintered into conservative and moderate factions.
On October 12, 2019, Landry was overwhelmingly re-elected by a 2-1 margin.
|Louisiana State Senate 22nd District Primary Election, 2007|
|Democratic||Sydnie Mae Maraist Durand||12,375||32|
|Louisiana State Senate 22nd District Runoff Election, 2007|
|Louisiana's 3rd Congressional District Republican Primary Election, 2010|
|Louisiana's 3rd Congressional District Election, 2010|
|Louisiana's 3rd Congressional District Primary Election, 2012|
|Republican||Charles Boustany, Jr.||139,123||45|
|Republican||"Jeff" Landry (inc.)||93,527||30|
|Louisiana's 3rd Congressional District Runoff Election, 2012|
|Republican||Charles Boustany, Jr.||58,820||61|
|Republican||"Jeff" Landry (inc.)||37,767||39|
|Louisiana Attorney General Primary Election, 2015|
|Republican||James "Buddy" Caldwell (inc.)||376,407||35|
|Democratic||Geraldine "Geri" Broussard Baloney||187,575||18|
|Democratic||Isaac "Ike" Jackson||115,118||11|
|Louisiana Attorney General Runoff Election, 2015|
|Republican||James "Buddy" Caldwell (inc.)||473,915||44|