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Oral History Project | Women of the Senate

Mary L. Landrieu U.S. Senator from Louisiana (1997–2015)

Mary Landrieu (D-LA)

Mary Landrieu grew up in Louisiana in a politically active family. Inspired by the women in her life and political pioneers like Representative Lindy Boggs of Louisiana, Landrieu began her political career by winning a race for the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1979. When she took her oath of office in January 1980, Landrieu was one of only three women then serving in the state legislature. She was elected state treasurer in 1988 and after two terms ran for governor in 1995 against a crowded field. Though she fell short in the race for governor, the following year she prevailed in a campaign for the U.S. Senate, becoming the first woman in Louisiana to be elected to a full term in the Senate. When Landrieu entered the Senate in 1997, she was one of only nine women serving at that time. She was the first Democratic woman to serve on the Armed Services Committee and went on to chair the Small Business Committee, Energy Committee, and Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Homeland Security. In her 18-year Senate career, Landrieu was a leader on a diverse range of issues, including energy policy, education reform, and child adoption.

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Scholarly citation: "Mary L. Landrieu, U.S. Senator from Louisiana, 1997–2015," Oral History Interview, September 18, 2017, Senate Historical Office, Washington, D.C.

Disclaimer: The Senate Historical Office has a strong commitment to oral history as an important part of its efforts to document institutional change over time. Oral histories are a natural component to historical research and enhance the archival holdings of the Senate and its members. Oral histories represent the personal recollections and opinions of the interviewees, however, and should not be considered as the official views or opinions of the U.S. Senate, of the Senate Historical Office, or of other senators and/or staff members. The transcripts of these oral histories are made available by the Senate Historical Office as a public service.