WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Bill Cassidy M.D. (R-La.) today announced that the National Science Foundation awarded a new Regional Class Research Vessel to the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) and the University of Southern Mississippi.  The boat, along with two others, will be built by Louisiana workers.

The vessel will be designed with state-of-the-art technology that will allow researchers to create detailed seafloor maps, monitor algae blooms, study shifting ocean chemistry, observe coastal changes and much more.

The National Science Foundation awarded three research vessels to coastal universities and research consortiums to study the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts.  The other two vessels were awarded to Oregon State University and a research consortium led by the University of Rhode Island.  All three vessels will be built in Louisiana by the Gulf Island Shipyards LLC in Houma.  They are scheduled to be completed in 2023.

Since the vessel will likely be too large to dock at LUMCON’s current facilities, LUMCON is planning to construct a new port in Houma.

As members of the research consortium, Louisiana State University and Tulane University will also be able to utilize the vessel.

“With the new technology available on this research vessel, scientists and researchers will have access to new data to help tackle the coastal issues we’re facing in Louisiana,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “The folks at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium are an excellent choice for this award, and this vessel is a great investment into protecting our coastline.”  

“Building these boats employs Louisiana skilled workers,” said Sen. Cassidy.  “Once built, data from these boats will protect coastlines and coastal ecosystems. This benefits all Americans.”


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The office of U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) will host three Service Academy days this month for students interested in learning more about the U.S. Service Academies.  The events will be in Monroe, Lafayette and New Orleans.

Representatives from West Point, the Naval Academy, the Air Force Academy, the Merchant Marine Academy, the Coast Guard Academy and local ROTC programs will be present.  This is an opportunity for students to discuss opportunities available at the academies, free college educations and commissioned officer slots.

“Our Service Academies train and educate some of the bravest men and women in this country,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “I have great respect for the students who decide to serve their country and dedicate themselves to learning at one of the academies.”

This event is free and geared towards high school students, parents and active duty members who are interested in learning more about the academies.

Service Academy Days:

Sept. 7, 2019

9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Cypress Room, Bayou Pointe Event Center

University of Louisiana at Monroe

1 Warhawk Way

Monroe, LA 71209

(Staff for Sen. Cassidy (R-La.), Rep. Abraham (R-La.) and Rep. Johnson (R-La.) will also be at this event.)


Sept. 21, 2019  

9 a.m.-12 p.m.

LITE Center

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

537 Cajundome Blvd.

Lafayette, LA 70506

(Staff for Sen. Cassidy (R-La.), Rep. Abraham (R-La.), Rep. Graves (R-La.), Rep. Higgins (R-La.) and Rep. Johnson (R-La.) will also be at this event.)


Sept. 28, 2019

9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Mary and William McCaffery Ballroom, University Center

Xavier University of Louisiana

1 Drexel Dr.

New Orleans, LA 70215

(Staff for Sen. Cassidy (R-La.), Rep. Graves (R-La.), Rep. Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. Richmond (D-La.) will also be at this event.)


If you are interested in attending a service academy day, please RSVP to



WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today an $11.7 million Health and Human Services grant to help combat the opioid crisis in Louisiana.

This funding will help states and local governments track opioid data and support their work in preventing overdoses and saving lives.

“Louisiana lost more people to opioid deaths than to car accidents last year,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “The opioid crisis is ruining lives and hurting families.  This grant will help Louisiana officials track overdose data and then use that data to help save lives.”


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) and the nation’s drug czar, Jim Carroll, attended the ground breaking Wednesday for the anchor facility of the Safe Haven campus in Mandeville.  Located on the grounds of the former Southeast Louisiana Hospital, Safe Haven will be a 24-bed facility offering comprehensive behavioral health treatment.

“It’s no secret that we have a drug problem in this country that is destroying families.  All too often, mental illness is at the root of an addiction,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Drug Czar Carroll is committed to helping us resolve this problem as a nation.  Safe Haven is a candle of hope in the battle against mental illness and addiction.  This is a fight that we have to win.”

“While the addiction crisis continues to take too many lives, we are making progress in getting more help to those who need it.  Today was an incredibly special day because it means more family members, friends, and neighbors right here in Louisiana will have the opportunity to get their lives back,” said Drug Czar Carroll.  “By working with true leaders like Senator Kennedy, and those on the frontlines of this fight, the Trump Administration will continue to be relentless in our efforts to save lives.”

“This is a remarkable day for St. Tammany, and our entire region.  Safe Haven is a unique investment in our future because our elected officials, health care providers, first responders, nonprofit organizations and countless other agencies are working collaboratively to make this vision a reality.  We are combining resources so every agency can focus on their field of expertise to provide healing to those who need it,” said St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister.


WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today in response to President Trump’s approval of Louisiana’s disaster declaration to release federal assistance for Hurricane Barry recovery.

Hurricane Barry didn’t wallop us like we expected, but it still caused significant property damage,” said Sen. Kennedy. “The president’s disaster declaration will help us recover and rebuild.”

This disaster declaration will make federal funding available to the parishes of Allen, Iberia, Lafourche, Plaquemines, St. Mary, Terrebonne and Vermilion for all categories of public assistance.



WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today an $8.3 million Army grant to fund dredging on waterways in south Louisiana.

The work will be performed on the New Orleans Harbor Reach of the Mississippi River, bays along the Gulf Intracostal Waterway, Bayou Lafourche, Houma Navigation Canal and Barataria Bar Channel.

“Historic rainfall throughout the country has resulted in massive loads of silt and soil being washed down the Mississippi River to south Louisiana,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “This grant will fund dredging to help keep our waterways clear for commerce and transportation.”



WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement regarding the White House’s decision to require non-exempt refineries to increase their ethanol usage in order to reallocate unused ethanol from refineries that were granted small refinery exemptions. This requirement would take effect in 2021.

“I am thankful to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler for helping Louisiana’s small refineries by granting exemptions that keep them competitive and further America’s energy independence initiative.  However, we shouldn’t weaponize these exemptions and punish larger refineries,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “The decision to reallocate unused ethanol puts a huge burden on larger refineries and threatens Louisiana jobs.  It also undermines America’s quest for energy independence, and I predict it will further undermine the legitimacy of the ethanol program.  This is a punitive policy move.”



WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded a total of $204,100 in rural development grants to Amite, Basile and Athens, Louisiana.

The USDA awarded a $49,600 grant to Amite to purchase police vehicles and police equipment.  Amite also received an $18,800 grant for a new maintenance truck.

Basile received a $47,000 grant to help purchase public safety equipment and maintenance equipment.  This grant will be used to acquire six bulletproof vests, six body cameras and four portable radios for law enforcement in Basile. Basile received another $49,700 grant to purchase two police patrol cars that are better equipped to navigate the town’s gravel roads.

The USDA awarded $39,000 to Athens to purchase a police vehicle and improve public safety services in the town.

“Public safety is a priority for families and community leaders in every city and town across the nation,” said Sen. Kennedy. “The law enforcement in every community needs access to the proper resources to keep residents and their properties safe.  These grants will provide the resources necessary to improve and update public safety equipment in several of Louisiana’s rural communities.”



WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today on the death of former Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco:

“Becky and I are deeply saddened by Gov. Blanco’s passing and extend our condolences to Coach and their children as well as to Kathleen’s mother.  Kathleen was a dedicated public servant and a loving mother, daughter and wife.  She led a remarkable life but wasn’t immune to tragedy.  She handled those tragedies with tremendous courage and unwavering faith.  True faith makes you fearless, and that faith was Kathleen’s solace and strength.  Louisiana has suffered a tremendous loss with her passing.”


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today thanked Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler for granting 31 exemptions that will protect Louisiana’s small refineries from financial devastation. 

At issue are hardship waivers – called Small Refinery Exemptions – that give small refineries in Louisiana the ability to remain competitive against larger companies and further President Donald Trump’s initiative for the U.S. to be energy independent.  The waivers free refineries from biofuel blending requirements that are unaffordable.

“These exemptions are necessary to keep small refineries in business and protect tens of thousands of jobs across the U.S.,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Louisiana can only help this country achieve energy independence if our refineries are allowed to thrive.  These exemptions are a huge win, not just for the industry, but for workers and families across Louisiana.”