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Charlie Melançon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Charlie Melançon
Charles Melancon.jpg
Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
In office
January 11, 2016 – December 22, 2016
GovernorJohn Bel Edwards
Preceded byRobert Barham
Succeeded byPatrick Banks (acting)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2011
Preceded byBilly Tauzin
Succeeded byJeff Landry
Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives
from the 60th district
In office
Preceded bySoup Kember
Succeeded byAudrey McCain
Personal details
Charles Joseph Melançon

(1947-10-03) October 3, 1947 (age 73)
Napoleonville, Louisiana, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Peachy Clark
EducationUniversity of Louisiana, Lafayette (BS)

Charles Joseph Melançon (/məˈlɑːnsɒn/; born October 3, 1947) is an American politician and the former secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

From 2005-11, he was the U.S. Representative for Louisiana's 3rd congressional district. He earlier served as a state representative, from 1987 to 1993. In 2010, he was the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate seat held by the Republican David Vitter.

Early life, education and career

Melançon was born in Napoleonville, Louisiana, the son of Nicee L. "Brownie" (née Talbot) and Joe Melançon.[1] The grandson and great-grandson of sugar cane farmers, Melançon has spent most of his life in Napoleonville, 50 miles south of Baton Rouge. He owned and operated several small businesses, including two Baskin-Robbins outlets. He also served as head of the American Sugar Cane League.[2]

Louisiana House of Representatives

Melancon won a special election in 1987 in District 60 for the Louisiana House of Representatives for Assumption, Iberville, and West Baton Rouge parishes to succeed Harry J. Kember Jr., who resigned. He served alongside Clyde Kimball of Pointe Coupee Parish, whose District 29 then overlapped with West Baton Rouge Parish. Melancon left the House in 1993 and was succeeded by fellow Democrat Audrey McCain.[3]

U.S. House of Representatives

Melançon ran in 2004 for the House of Representatives seat in Louisiana's 3rd congressional district and won.

Committee assignments

Very soon after being sworn in January 2005, Melançon joined the Blue Dog Coalition. Like most Southern Democrats, he is more conservative than most members of the national party, especially on social issues. But he did vote for the DREAM Act and repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".[citation needed]

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

Just a few months after Melancon took office, Hurricane Katrina slammed into south Louisiana, causing massive levee failures and devastating flooding in the eastern part of his district. A second major storm, Hurricane Rita, struck the Gulf Coast three weeks later. Melancon worked with the rest of the Louisiana delegation in Congress to bring billions of recovery dollars to south Louisiana. He fought for federal funding for hurricane protection projects such as Morganza-to-the-Gulf and the levee systems in lower Plaquemines Parish and south Lafourche Parish.[4]

Melancon has continuously urged other members of the United States Congress to visit south Louisiana for as long as Louisiana still has recovery or hurricane protection needs. He has brought Congressional delegations to the Gulf Coast to see firsthand the destruction from the storms as well as the ongoing need for hurricane protection and coastal restoration. Since the storms, Melancon has sponsored a number of reform bills to try to fix the flaws in the government's disaster response and relief system. As the representative for much of south Louisiana, Melançon has been an advocate in the United States Congress for hurricane recovery.[4]

Supporting small businesses and economic development

Melancon supported the Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act (H.R. 2352), a bill that provided funding for more small business development centers. These small business incubators provide office space, support, and technology to help new companies get off the ground.[5] He also supported tax relief for small businesses, voting for the Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2007 (H.R. 976). The bill provided tax credits and incentives for expanding and purchasing new equipment.[6] Melançon joined other members from energy-producing states, as well as the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, to keep new taxes on the oil and gas industry out of the President's 2010 budget.[7]

Climate change

Melancon voted against the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) twice, once in the Energy and Commerce Committee and again in the full the United States House of Representatives. The bill is also known as the "Waxman-Markey Energy Bill" or the "cap-and-trade" bill. Melançon said in a release that he opposed the bill because he believed it would hurt his "district and the people I represent … The oil and gas industry is the engine driving south Louisiana's economy, providing good-paying jobs to hundreds of thousands of our workers for generations."[8]

Melancon was successful in including an amendment in the bill that would protect Louisiana's share of wetlands restoration funding from cuts indirectly caused by hurricane disaster assistance.[8]

America's Affordable Health Choices Act

On July 31, 2009, Melançon voted against the America's Affordable Health Choices Act (H.R. 3200) in the Energy and Commerce Committee. Melançon explained in a statement that he voted against the bill for reasons including its potential effects on small businesses, the possibility of taxpayer-funded abortions, and increases in taxes.

Melançon said he was concerned that "the public option, as designed, would unfairly undercut anything the private sector could offer." He noted that the bill does not do enough to address the need for more providers in rural communities.[9]

Melancon also voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in March 2010,[10] because it "doesn’t work for Louisiana."[11] However, he has not signed the discharge petition circulated by Iowa Republican Steve King calling for a complete repeal of the law.[12]

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Melançon voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.[13] In explaining his vote for the legislation, Melançon said, "The people of south Louisiana sent me to Congress because I promised to listen to them and do what I thought was right, not what was most popular or what my party told me to do. This plan, while far from perfect, will create or save an estimated 50,000 jobs in Louisiana, invest over $538 million in infrastructure projects for our state, and lay a foundation for long-term growth for our country through innovation and education."[14]

Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008

Melancon voted for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.[15]

Employee Free Choice Act

Although Melancon is listed as a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act, his comments on the bill indicate a more ambivalent measure of support. He has stated, "I understand many of the concerns expressed by the business community. I am interested in bringing both sides together to work out their differences and develop a bipartisan solution that will address some of these concerns, while still protecting employees’ rights."[16]

Federal Marriage Amendment

In July 2006, Rep. Melancon voted in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment.[17]

Matthew Shepard Act of 2009

On 29 April 2009, Rep. Melancon voted against the federal hate crimes expansion bill known as the Matthew Shepard Act.[18]

Political campaigns

2004 U.S. House campaign

Melancon declared his candidacy for Congress after longtime incumbent Billy Tauzin announced his retirement. Although he was considered an underdog for much of the race,[citation needed] he entered a runoff due to an especially ugly intraparty battle between Republican candidates Billy Tauzin III and state Senator Craig Romero, the former candidate being the son of the incumbent. In the runoff campaign, Melançon repeatedly hammered away at Tauzin III's family ties. Melançon won a victory by 569 votes.[19] Romero set his sights on challenging Melançon in 2006, and was defeated again.[citation needed]

2006 U.S. House campaign

On November 7, 2006, Melancon defeated Romero 55% to 40% to win a second term in the U.S. House.[citation needed]

2008 U.S. House campaign

He was re-elected without opposition in November 2008. Because of William J. Jefferson's defeat on December 6 after federal corruption indictments, Melancon became the sole Democrat representing Louisiana in the U.S. House.[20]

2010 U.S. Senate campaign

Melançon challenged incumbent Republican U.S. Senator David Vitter in 2010.[21] In announcing his candidacy on August 27, 2009, he billed himself as "a proud centrist" and "a straight up the middle fighter for the little guy."[2][22]

Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

Although Melancon lost the 2010 Senate race to David Vitter, he was appointed to serve in the Cabinet of Governor John Bel Edwards, the Democrat who defeated Vitter for governor in the 2015 general election. Melancon succeeded Robert J. Barham, a former state senator from Morehouse Parish, as the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Melancon first said that Edwards administration officials asked him to resign in mid-February 2017. However, he suddenly resigned from the position just prior to Christmas Day 2016 because of a lingering dispute over the questionable spending of money from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Richard Carbo, an Edwards spokesman, said that the governor to replace Melancon because "unnecessary public battles" were detracting from the pursuit of needed reforms.[citation needed]

Edwards said the agency will work to remedy the financial problems identified by the auditors. Melancon wrote Edwards that he had "accepted your appointment in the spirit of public service without the knowledge that I would be responsible for turning around a troubled state agency. However, many of the department's previous problems persist, driven largely by ... (a recreational fishing group) and individuals within the department that we tried to put reforms in place to correct."[23]

Edwards announced that state Representative Jack Montoucet of Scott in Lafayette Parish would take office in January 2017 to succeed Melancon as the wildlife and fisheries secretary.[citation needed]

Personal life

Melançon is married to the former Peachy Clark; they have two children.[24]


  1. ^ "Melancon". Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  2. ^ a b Tilove, Jonathan. Rep. Charlie Melancon to run for Senate against David Vitter, The Times-Picayune, August 27, 2009.
  3. ^ "Membership of the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-Current: Pointe Coupee and West Baton Rouge parishes" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 6, 2014. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Hurricane Recovery. Archived August 21, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Congressman Charlie Melancon.
  5. ^ House Vote On Passage: H.R. 2352: Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act of 2009, GovTrack; accessed April 23, 2018.
  6. ^ Bill Summary & Status 110th Congress (2007 - 2008) H.R.976. THOMAS.
  7. ^ Representative Charles J. 'Charlie' Melancon, Sr., Project Vote Smart; accessed April 23, 2018.
  8. ^ a b Representative Melancon Votes Once Again Against Climate Change Bill, Project Vote Smart; accessed July 10, 2017.
  9. ^ Citing Concerns with Current Version, Melancon Votes Against Health Bill in Committee. Archived September 2, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Congressman Charlie Melancon. 31 July 2009.
  10. ^ "FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 165 (Democrats in roman; Republicans in italic; Independents underlined)". Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  11. ^ Video on YouTube
  12. ^ "United States 2nd Session House of Representatives". Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  13. ^ Jackson, David; Wolf, Richard (January 29, 2009). "House passes economic stimulus bill". USA Today. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  14. ^ Rep. Melancon Supports Economic Recovery Plan to Create and Save 50,000 Jobs in Louisiana. Archived September 3, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Congressman Charlie Melancon. 13 February 2009.
  15. ^ Rep. Melançon Supports Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. Project Vote Smart.
  16. ^ Perilloux, Gary. Free choice?, The Advocate, August 9, 2009.
  17. ^ Charlie Melancon on the Issues. On the Issues.
  18. ^ FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 223: Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act; accessed July 10, 2017.
  19. ^ Barrow, Bill. "Melancon campaign may be no contest".[permanent dead link] The Times-Picayune, July 11, 2008.
  20. ^ Charlie Melancon (D-La.) Archived March 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine Washington Post.
  21. ^ Kraushaar, Josh. Melancon running against Vitter. Politico, August 27, 2009.
  22. ^ Melancon's candidacy announcement on YouTube
  23. ^ "Louisiana wildlife secretary opts to resign immediately, says reforms sabotaged". The Baton Rouge Advocate. December 21, 2016. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  24. ^ Representative Charles J. 'Charlie' Melancon, Sr. - Biography, Project Vote Smart.

External links

Louisiana House of Representatives
Preceded by
Soup Kember
Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives
from the 60th district

Succeeded by
Audrey McCain
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Billy Tauzin
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
Jeff Landry
Party political offices
Preceded by
Mike Ross
Chair of the Blue Dog Coalition for Communications
Served alongside: Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (Administration), Baron Hill (Policy)
Succeeded by
Jim Matheson
Title last held by
John Breaux
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Louisiana
(Class 3)

Succeeded by
Foster Campbell
Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Barham
Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Succeeded by
Patrick Banks
This page was last edited on 9 January 2021, at 01:44
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