Charlie Melancon: Wikis


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Charlie Melancon

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 3rd district
Assumed office 
January 3, 2005
Preceded by Billy Tauzin

Born October 3, 1947 (1947-10-03) (age 62)
Napoleonville, Assumption Parish, Louisiana, USA
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Peachy Clark Melancon
Children Charles Joseph Melancon
Claire Melancon
Residence Napoleonville, Louisiana
Alma mater University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Occupation Small business owner, politician, President, American Sugar Cane League[1]
Religion Roman Catholic

Charles Joseph "Charlie" Melancon (surname pronounced muh-LAW-saw), born October 3, 1947, in Napoleonville, is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from Louisiana's 3rd district. He was first elected in a December 4, 2004 general election and was re-elected in 2006 and 2008. He is currently the only Democrat among the seven-member House delegation from Louisiana. On August 27, 2009, he announced he is challenging Senator David Vitter in the 2010 Louisiana Senate Race.[2]


Early life

The grandson and great-grandson of sugar cane farmers, Melancon 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) before he won a special election in 1987 for the Louisiana House of Representatives. He won two more consecutive terms after that victory. At some point during this time period, he served as head of the American Sugar Cane League.[3].

He is married to Peachy Clark, and they have two children, Charles Joseph (Seph) and Claire.[citation needed]

United States House of Representatives

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, Melancon repeatedly hammered away at Tauzin III's family ties (many members of both major parties resented Tauzin's status as frontrunner for the seat solely because his father was the incumbent).[citation needed] Melancon won a victory by 569 votes.[citation needed] Romero set his sights on challenging Melancon in 2006, and was defeated again.[4]

On November 7, 2006, Melancon defeated Romero 55% to 40% to win a second term in the U.S. House.[5]

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.[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.[6]

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, Melancon has been an advocate in the United States Congress for hurricane recovery.[7]

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.[8] 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.[9] Melancon 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.[10]

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. Melancon 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.”[11]

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.[12]

America's Affordable Health Choices Act

On July 31, 2009, Melancon voted against the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act (H.R. 3200) in the Energy and Commerce Committee. Melancon 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. Melancon said he was concerned that “the public option, as designed, would unfairly undercut anything the private sector could offer.” Melancon also noted that the bill does not do enough to address the need for more providers in rural communities.[13]

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Melancon voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.[14] In explaining his vote for the legislation, Melancon 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."[15]

Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008

Melancon voted for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.[16]

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.”[17]

Federal Marriage Amendment

In July 2006, Rep. Melancon voted in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment.[18].

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. [19]

Committee assignments

2010 U.S. Senate campaign

Melancon is challenging David Vitter for the Senate in 2010.[20]

A Rasmussen poll released on January 20, 2010 showed Senator Vitter with an 18 point lead over Melancon. [21]

Political positions

Very soon after being sworn in January 2005, Melancon joined the Blue Dog Democrats. In announcing his candidacy for the Senate, he billed himself as "a proud centrist" and "a straight up the middle fighter for the little guy."[22]


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  4. ^ Louisiana's 3rd congressional district election returns for 2006 November 07 by parish.
  5. ^ Louisiana's 3rd congressional district election returns overall.
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  22. ^ Melancon's candidacy announcement

External links

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

2005-01-03 – present


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