NEA supports

John Bel Edwards

for Governor, Louisiana

Current Office

Governor, Louisiana

On the Record

  • “There's not a more important ingredient to quality education and improved educational outcomes than having a highly motivated and professional dedicated teacher in every classroom. And, you jeopardize that when you go years without giving these pay raises, and when pay in Louisiana is not competitive with pay in other states.”

    Oct. 23, 2018, KTBS

  • “A bad school letter grade is much more likely to indicate the level of poverty than the quality of teaching. A recent study of sixteen states that use school letter grades stated what we have always known: they are invalid and misinform parents.”

    Nov. 23, 2015, FacingSouth.org

Talking Points

  • In his first year in office, Governor Edwards opposed legislation that would have reduced extended sick leave benefits for teachers and school employees in cases of assault or battery by a student. (HB 165-2016)
  • Governor Edwards believes that teachers should be allowed to do what they do best - teach - and has fought against a culture of excessive testing in our public schools. During his time as Governor, John Bel has reduced state mandated high-stakes standardized testing, ensured test taking accounts for no more than 2% of annual instruction time, and formed a commission to review school testing. (HB 572, HB 616, HR 166)
  • Increasing teacher and school support professional pay is at the top of Edwards’ list. During the 2019 legislative session, Governor Edwards championed and passed the first permanent pay raise for Louisiana educators in over a decade. Governor Edwards is committed to continuing the fight to raise educator pay up to the southern regional average.
  • Following a decade of dramatic cuts to education, Governor Edwards has worked to stabilize funding for Louisiana’s public schools, community colleges, and universities. In 2018, Governor Edwards crafted a budget compromise that prevented a 30% cut to the state’s TOPS scholarship program – helping to keep our best and brightest students right here in Louisiana.
  • Louisiana’s public schools were losing $600 million in funding per year through the Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP). Funds that were sorely needed in many of our school districts. So, Governor Edwards signed an executive order that gave local parents and educators the power to vote down ITEP giveaways and keep funding in their schools.
  • Governor Edwards has long been a vocal opponent of school vouchers and of charter school expansion and has fought both while in office.

Biography

Born and raised in Amite, Louisiana, John Bel Edwards graduated from public high school as valedictorian. He is a 1988 Dean’s List graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point.  After eight years of active duty with the US 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.

Edwards began his political career as a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives in 2008, where he served as Minority Leader from 2008 to 2015. He assumed office as Governor of Louisiana in 2016.

In his first term as governor, John Bel inherited the largest budget deficit in the state’s history. 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.

With a father who was the elected Sheriff of Tangipahoa Parish – the Edwards family has 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. The husband of a public school teacher, Edwards is also the proud father of two daughters.

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