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Profile of Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana

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Profile of Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Profile of Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana:

Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana was elected in 1996 and reelected in 2002 in narrowly contested races. In 2008, though, she won reelection by a comfortable margin.

Sen. Landrieu is a conservative Democrat, and was a member of the "Gang of 14" centrist senators who famously crafted a 2005 compromise to the threatened filibuster of judicial nominees.

Notability:

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Landrieu was publicly confronted by CNN's Anderson Cooper about her graciousness toward George Bush and FEMA for their support of New Orleans. She later realized that she was not fully apprised of city conditions, and expressed anger at President Bush.

Since that embarrassing moment, Landrieu has been an unrelenting advocate for Louisiana and for rebuilding New Orleans.

Major Areas of Interest:

Senator Landrieu is a passionate champion of education,and worked to create and pass the No Child Left Behind Act. Landrieu was an effective, prudent Louisiana state treasurer, and brings those fiscal skills to the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. She is a strong supporter of US armed forces.

Mary Landrieu on the Issues:

Sen Landrieu's voting record is that of a conservative Democrat: traditionally liberal on some issues, strikingly centrist on others. She is given a 91% rating by the National Education Association for a strong pro-education record, and a 77% AFL-CIO rating for her pro-labor stances. She also has strong pro-civil rights and pro-gay rights record.

Due to her support for expansion of U.S. oil drilling and for her many pro-business stances, her record is viewed as mediocre on developing U.S. energy independence and on pro-environmental issues.

Senate Committees in the 112th Congress, 2011-2012:

  • Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, Chair
  • Appropriations Committee
  • Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy, Water Development
  • Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services
  • Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security
  • Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, Human Services, Education
  • Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee
  • Homeland Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery, Chair
  • Homeland Subcommittee on State, Local, Private Sector Preparedness
  • Energy & Natural Resources Committee

Prior Experience:

  • Worked in real estate after LSU graduation, 1977
  • State House of Representatives, 1980-88
  • Louisiana State Treasurer, 1988-96
  • Unsuccessful run for Governorship, 1995
When 24-year-old Landrieu began her career in the State House, she was frequently greeted with catcall whistles and once, rubber snakes in her desk.

Personal Data:

  • Birth - November 23, 1955 in Arlington, Virginia
  • Education - Ursaline Academy, a private Catholic girls high school, where she was student body president; BA in Sociology, Louisiana State University, 1977, where she was active in Delta Gamma sorority.
  • Family - Married to attorney-developer Frank Snellings; two adopted children, Connor and Mary Shannon.
  • Faith - Roman Catholic
  • Interests - Horseback riding
As a child, she loved the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy books.

The Mary Landrieu Persona:

Mary Landrieu is gregarious, charming and attractive, with a taste for luxury. One Louisiana pundit describes her as "a political animal... hardly adverse to hardball, but she and her family have earned reputations as people with a sense of decency." Landrieu once commented that she "fell in love with" Spanish architecture on a childhood trip to Europe with her father.

The Landrieu Family in Lousiana Politics:

Mary is the oldest of Maurice "Moon" and Verna Landrieu's nine children. Mitchell Landrieu, Mary's brother, is the current Lt. Governor of Louisiana. Moon Landrieu led a distinguished career in liberal Democratic politics. He was the colorful Mayor of New Orleans from 1970-78 who led city desegregation. He served as HUD Secretary under President Jimmy Carter, and was a federal judge until his 2000 retirement.

Memorable Quotes:

Spoken on September 3, 2005--- "Yesterday, I was hoping President Bush would come away from his tour of the regional devastation triggered by Hurricane Katrina with a new understanding for the magnitude of the suffering and for the abject failures of the current Federal Emergency Management Agency. 24 hours later, the President has yet to answer my call for a cabinet-level official to lead our efforts.

Meanwhile, FEMA, now a shell of what it once was, continues to be overwhelmed by the task at hand. I understand that the U.S. Forest Service had water-tanker aircraft available to help douse the fires raging on our riverfront, but FEMA has yet to accept the aid. When Amtrak offered trains to evacuate significant numbers of victims --far more efficiently than buses-- FEMA again dragged its feet.

Offers of medicine, communications equipment and other desperately needed items continue to flow in, only to be ignored by the agency. But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe.

Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment. The good and decent people of southeast Louisiana and the Gulf Coast -- black and white, rich and poor, young and old-- deserve far better from their national government.

Mr. President, I'm imploring you once again to get a cabinet-level official stood up as soon as possible to get this entire operation moving forward regionwide with all the resources --military and otherwise-- necessary to relieve the unmitigated suffering and economic damage that is unfolding."

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