Governor John Bel Edwards

Keynote Speaker for the 27th Annual Tulane Environmental Law and Policy Summit
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards.

Governor Edwards was sworn into office as the 56th Governor of Louisiana on January 11, 2016, and was reelected into office in 2019. His commitment to bettering the lives of the people of Louisiana is demonstrated by his willingness to cross party lines and work towards practical solutions to the State’s problems. Since he took office, Governor Edwards has expanded 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. He also overcame the largest budget deficit in Louisiana’s history by working with a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers 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. Additionally, he 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. Furthermore, Governor Edwards recognized the need to make Louisiana more resilient to climate change and sustain our coastline along the Gulf. He established the Climate Initiatives Task Force. After 15 months and 49 public meetings, the Task Force produced the State’s first Climate Action Plan. Among many other provisions, the Plan has established goals of 100% clean or renewable power by 2035, and 100% carbon neutrality by 2050.

Before entering politics, Governor Edwards served as a Captain in the United States Army. After his military career, he earned a JD from LSU Law and clerked at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. As a freshman member of the Louisiana House of Representatives, representing District 72 and the people of Amite, Greensburg, Kentwood, and Hammond, Governor Edwards served as the chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee. After 8 years in the House, John Bel Edwards was elected Governor of Louisiana.

Register for in-person keynote and reception: Please complete this form to register for the in-person keynote and reception. Due to COVID restrictions, attendance is capped below 150.

Submit a Question for Governor Edwards’ Q&A: The Governor would like to hear from you! Please use this link to submit questions so we can make sure to consolidate similar questions and have a more effective Q&A session.