Charlie Melancon

Charlie Melancon

Charlie Melancon
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2011
Preceded by Billy Tauzin
Succeeded by Jeff Landry
Louisiana State Representative for District 60 (Assumption, Iberville, and West Baton Rouge parishes)
In office
April 1987 – 1993
Preceded by Harry J. "Soup" Kember, Jr.
Succeeded by Audrey McCain
Personal details
Born Charles Joseph Melançon
(1947-10-03) October 3, 1947
Assumption Parish
Louisiana, USA
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Peachy Clark Melançon
Children Charles Joseph Melancon
Claire Melancon
Residence Napoleonville, Louisiana
Alma mater University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Occupation Small business owner, politician, president of the American Sugar Cane League[1]
Religion Roman Catholic

Charles Joseph "Charlie" Melançon ( ; born October 3, 1947) was the U.S. Representative for Louisiana's 3rd congressional district, serving from 2005 to 2011, and the unsuccessful 2010 Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican David Vitter.


  • Early life, education and career 1
  • Louisiana House of Representatives 2
  • U.S. House of Representatives 3
    • Committee assignments 3.1
    • Hurricanes Katrina and Rita 3.2
    • Supporting small businesses and economic development 3.3
    • Climate change 3.4
    • America's Affordable Health Choices Act 3.5
    • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 3.6
    • Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 3.7
    • Employee Free Choice Act 3.8
    • Federal Marriage Amendment 3.9
    • Matthew Shepard Act of 2009 3.10
    • 2010 Oil Spill 3.11
  • Political campaigns 4
    • 2004 U.S. House campaign 4.1
    • 2006 U.S. House campaign 4.2
    • 2008 U.S. House campaign 4.3
    • 2010 U.S. Senate campaign 4.4
  • Personal life 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life, education and career

Melancon was born in Napoleonville in Assumption Parish, the son of Nicee L. "Brownie" (née Talbot) and Joe Melancon.[2] 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.[1]

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. "Soup" Kember, Jr., who resigned. He served alongside Clyde Kimball of New Roads in 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

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, however he did vote for the DREAM Act and repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

Just a few months after Melancon took office, 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.” Melançon also 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]

2010 Oil Spill

His district was heavily affected by the 2010 BP oil spill crisis. He has been active in recovery efforts and was seen in a hearing tearing up when talking about the damage. The video of the hearing gained national press.

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, 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.[20]

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.[21]

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.[22]

2010 U.S. Senate campaign

Melançon challenged incumbent Republican U.S. Senator David Vitter in 2010.[23] 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."[1][24]

Personal life

Melançon is married to Peachy Clark, and they have two children.[25]


  1. ^ a b c Tilove, Jonathan. Rep. Charlie Melancon to run for Senate against David Vitter. The Times-Picayune. 27 August 2009.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Membership of the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-Current: Pointe Coupee and West Baton Rouge parishes" (PDF). Retrieved May 25, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Hurricane Recovery. Congressman Charlie Melancon.
  5. ^ House Vote On Passage: H.R. 2352: Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act of 2009. GovTrack.
  6. ^ Bill Summary & Status 110th Congress (2007 - 2008) H.R.976. THOMAS.
  7. ^ Representative Charles J. 'Charlie' Melancon, Sr. Project Vote Smart.
  8. ^ a b Representative Melancon Votes Once Again Against Climate Change Bill. Project Vote Smart.
  9. ^ Citing Concerns with Current Version, Melancon Votes Against Health Bill in Committee. Congressman Charlie Melancon. 31 July 2009.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Video on YouTube
  12. ^
  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. Congressman Charlie Melancon. 13 February 2009.
  15. ^ Rep. Melançon Supports Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. Project Vote Smart.
  16. ^ Perilloux, Gary. Free choice? The Advocate. 9 August 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.
  19. ^ Barrow, Bill. Melancon campaign may be no contest. The Times-Picayune. 11 July 2008.
  20. ^ Louisiana's 3rd congressional district election returns for 2006 November 07 by parish. Louisiana Secretary of State.
  21. ^ Louisiana's 3rd congressional district election returns overall.
  22. ^ Charlie Melancon (D-La.) Washington Post.
  23. ^ Kraushaar, Josh. Melancon running against Vitter. Politico. 27 August 2009.
  24. ^ Melancon's candidacy announcement on YouTube
  25. ^ Representative Charles J. 'Charlie' Melancon, Sr. - Biography. Project Vote Smart.

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

Succeeded by
Jeff Landry
Preceded by
Harry J. "Soup" Kember, Jr.
Louisiana State Representative for District 60 (Assumption, Iberville, and West Baton Rouge parishes)

Charles Joseph "Charlie" Melancon

Succeeded by
Audrey McCain