3800 gov of louisiana john bel edwards
Photo: ABC News

Who is John Bel Edwards?

John Bel Edwards (born September 16, 1966) is an American politician and attorney serving as the 56th Governor of Louisiana since 2016. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously served as the Democratic leader of the Louisiana House of Representatives for two terms.

Edwards was first elected to the Louisiana House in 2007. He defeated Republican U.S. Senator David Vitter in the second round of the 2015 election for governor. Edwards won a second term in the 2019 election, becoming the first Democrat to win reelection in Louisiana since Edwin Edwards in 1975. He is a United States Army veteran, having served with the 82nd Airborne Division, reaching the rank of captain.

Early life Bel Edwards

Edwards was born in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana on September 16, 1966. The son of a sheriff and charity hospital nurse, John Bel Edwards understood the importance of serving others from an early age. From his service as an active duty Airborne Ranger in the U.S. Army to his time in the Louisiana House of Representatives, Gov. Edwards has always put people first, as cites by Office of the Governor. Hundreds of thousands are insured, Louisiana’s budget is stable and Louisiana is open for business, as cited by Johnbelforlouisiana.com.

4001 gov of louisiana john bel edwards
Gov. Edwards when joining the military service. Photo: The Advocate.

John Bel was born seventh out of eight children to Sheriff Frank Jr. and Dora Jean Edwards. He grew up hunting and fishing in Amite, a rural town in Tangipahoa Parish. He and First Lady Donna Edwards began dating while students at Amite High School. After graduating top of his class, Gov. Edwards attended the United States Military Academy at West Point.

As a cadet, he completed Airborne School and served as vice-chairman of the panel that enforces the West Point Honor Code. The governor graduated from West Point in 1988, commissioning as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He served on active duty for 8 years, earning Airborne, Ranger and Jumpmaster status, culminating with command of a rifle company in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

John Bel Edwards and family

4628 gov of louisiana john bel edwards
Governor's family (the leftmost is Governor's son-in-law). Photo: Twitter.

John Bel is married to his high-school sweetheart, Donna Hutto Edwards, in 1989. They have three children, Samantha, Sarah Ellen, and John Miller.

First Lady Donna Hutto Edwards

Donna Hutto Edwards is the first lady of the state of Louisiana. She was born to a loving mother and hardworking father in Meridian, Mississippi. As a child, their family moved around due to her father’s job with International Paper Co. Their family moved to Amite, LA when Donna was in middle school and it was then that she met her future husband John Bel Edwards.

Upon John Bel’s graduation from West Point and Ranger School, the two married in 1989. Donna and John Bel are a team and work together as such. Together, they are committed to serving the state of Louisiana just as they served their country.

5016 gov of louisiana john bel edwards
Governor and his First Lady at their wedding in 1989. Photo: The Advocate

While raising three children and being active in their community organizations, school and church groups, Donna decided to become a certified teacher. She taught for eight and a half years as a music teacher in the public school system where she and John Bel both graduated.

Career life Bel Edwards

In 2008, the people of House District 72 elected John Bel Edwards to the Louisiana House of Representatives

John Bel represented the people of Amite, Greensburg, Kentwood and Hammond for eight years before being elected governor in November 2015.

On January 11, 2016, John Bel Edwards was sworn in as the 56th Governor of Louisiana.

In his first official act, Gov. Edwards signed an executive order to expand Medicaid coverage to 430,000 of the state’s working poor. The decision to expand Medicaid cut Louisiana’s uninsured rate from 24 percent to just 10 percent, saving lives and improving the quality of life for citizens across the state. Gov. Edwards considers this the easiest big decision he’s had to make as Governor.

Upon taking the oath of office, Gov. Edwards inherited the largest budget deficit in Louisiana’s history, following years of budget mismanagement, which included cuts to higher education and vital state resources and services. In 2016, the state faced a $1 billion shortfall to close out the last quarter of the fiscal year. And in 2017, the state faced a $2 billion deficit in the governor’s first full fiscal year.

Gov. Edwards and a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers worked hard to stabilize the state’s budget through a balanced approach. Today, higher education funding has been restored, the state’s gross domestic product is the highest it’s ever been and Louisiana’s budget is balanced and stable.

One of the governor’s top priorities coming into office was comprehensive criminal justice reform. For decades, mass incarceration plagued Louisiana, and the state led the nation in incarceration rates. Gov. Edwards signed sweeping bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation in 2017 that targets recidivism and invests in treatment programs. In 2018, the state saw a 20 percent decrease in the number of people imprisoned for non-violent crimes. Under his leadership, Louisiana shed the title of the most incarcerated state in the country.

On November 16, 2019, the people of Louisiana re-elected Gov. Edwards to another four-year term.

5207 gov of louisiana john bel edwards
Governor was sworn in for his second term in January. Photo: The Maroon

On January 13, 2020, Gov. Edwards was sworn into his second term as the 56th Governor of Louisiana.

Gov. Edwards continues to do what the people sent him to Baton Rouge to do: Put Louisiana First. Hundreds of thousands are insured, Louisiana’s budget is stable and Louisiana is open for business.

After years of hard work, he and a bipartisan group of legislators worked together to stabilize Louisiana’s budget for the first time in a decade. In addition, his tenure as governor has been marked by securing the largest economic development project in the state’s history, providing health care to the working poor, and working to make Louisiana’s economy the largest its ever been.
Who is  Bill Lee - the Current Governor of Tennessee Who is Bill Lee - the Current Governor of Tennessee

William Byron Lee is an American businessman and politician serving as the 50th governor of Tennessee. Elected in 2018, Bill Lee campaigned as a business-oriented ...

Who is Jay Inslee - the Current Governor of Washington Who is Jay Inslee - the Current Governor of Washington

Have you heard about Jay Inslee, the 23rd governor of Washington State? Here is a look at the life of Jay Inslee, the Current Governor ...

Who is Greg Abbott - the Current Governor of Texas Who is Greg Abbott - the Current Governor of Texas

Abbott, who has held high-profile roles in the Texas government for more than 20 years, has become one of the most influential politicians – particularly ...