Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-CHANGES coming on LSU Board of Supervisors?

LSU’s Board of Supervisors Should Expect Numerous Changes in Composition Under Republican Governor Jeff Landry Based on Current Members’ Political Donation Activity

With the election of Gov. Jeff Landry, the head of Louisiana’s government is now led by a Republican after the last eight years of Democratic governor John Bel Edwards.

With the change in governors comes a change in members of Louisiana’s governor-appointed boards. Gov. Landry is likely to appoint Republican allies in those board positions, which means any Democrats appointed by Edwards are unlikely to see another term.

Of the seats Gov. Landry can appoint, a spot on the LSU Board of Supervisors is considered one of the most coveted. A spot on the board is not a paid position, but members are in close proximity to LSU’s athletics program.

The LSU Board of Supervisors is a constitutionally empowered board that is granted the power to “supervise and manage the institutions, statewide agricultural programs, and other programs administered through its system.”

The board is made up of two members from every congressional district and three members from the state at-large. The board members are appointed by the Governor of Louisiana and serve six-year terms. There is also a student member who is elected by the LSU Council of Student Body Presidents and serves a one-year term.

Seats on the board are often given to donors and supporters of the Governor. Members of the board often donate to multiple candidates and usually make contributions closer to election time when the winner of the election is clearer.

More than $1.3 million has been donated from the LSU Board of Supervisors in the previous four election cycles, according to the Louisiana Illuminator. Every member of the board has made donations except for the student member.

Seven board members appointed by Edwards have their terms ending this year on June 1. Those seven board members are Chester “Lee” Mallet, Robert Dampf, B. Wayne Brown, Mary Werner, Jimmie Woods Sr., Remy Starns and Jack “Jay” Blossman Jr.

Of the seven, only one has made donations to Gov. Landry. The other six have given money to either Edwards, LA Democrats or democratic candidate Shawn Wilson and are expected to not be reappointed.

After those seven, four more board members’ terms come to an end in June of 2026 and another four in May of 2028. Landry will have to win re-election to fully replace all of Edwards’ board members.

Kate Kelly, Landry’s Communications Director, said that as of now they have no comment on the board positions that will be opening or who will fill them.

Chester “Lee” Mallet

Mallet is a Louisiana businessman and is one of the members-at-large. Mallet also has a spot on the State License Board of Contractors and owns multiple manufacturing and construction companies. He was appointed to different board positions by Gov. Bobby Jindal as early as 2006. He is the one board member whose term is ending that has made donations to both Edwards and Jeff Landry.

He is the longest serving board member of the seven having been on the board since 2012 when Jindal appointed him.

He has made five different donations to Jeff Landry’s campaign since 2023 and has made multiple other donations to the Republican Party of Louisiana. He also made donations to Cajun Pac II, a PAC that Gov. Landry is the chairman of. His donations to Gov. Landry, the Republican Party of Louisiana and Cajun Pac II exceeded $120,000 in 2023 alone.

Despite being a staunch Republican, Mallet contributed to both Edwards and Shawn Wilson. He donated over $12,000 to Wilson in 2023. He also made $10,000 in donations to Stephen Waguespack, a republican candidate who ran against Landry in 2023.

Robert Dampf

Dampf is a partner in Perry Dampf Dispute Solutions, a mediation and arbitration company headquartered in Baton Rouge. He also practiced law for 38 years after having served as a law clerk for one year for the Louisiana State Courts of Appeal. He’s a Baton Rouge native and holds degrees from Southern Methodist University and the LSU Law Center.

Dampf made multiple donations to Edwards and has not made any financial contributions to Laundry.

B. Wayne Brown

Brown is an engineer who received his bachelor’s degree from LSU and his master’s from Purdue in construction management. He founded and led Brown Builders, Inc., a construction company base in Bossier City, for over forty years. He has been a board member since 2018.

Brown made 12 different donations to Edwards from 2015 to 2019 and has not donated to Landry. He also made three different $1,000 donations to Bobby Jindal.

Mary Leach Werner

Werner serves as Director and Vice President of The Sweet Lake Land & Oil Company and The North American Land Company. Her father was Buddy Leach, a businessman who served in Congress and the state House. Buddy Leach was a life-long Democrat and served as the state Democratic Party’s chair for two years. He donated and helped raise money to help Edwards win the governor’s race in 2015.

Her mother, Laura Leach, served on the LSU board for 18 years under four different governors.

Werner made donations numerous donations to Edwards and contributed to Wilson’s campaign three times in 2023. She has never made any donations to Landry or other republican candidates.

Jimmie Woods Sr.

Woods is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Metro Service Group, Inc. His wife, Regina B. Woods, is a Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal Judge. He currently serves as the chair of the LSU Board of Supervisors.

He is a former board member of the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, the New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce, the Jefferson Economic Development Corporation (JEDCO), the Jefferson Housing Foundation, the Christian Civic Democratic Organization and the Coalition for Leadership and Development.

He has made over $15,000 dollars in donations to Edwards in 2019 and made another $50,000 in donations to LA Democrats in 2015. He hasn’t made any donations to Landry or other republican candidates.

Remy Starns

Starns is the State Public Defender and oversees the entire 64-parish public defense system in Louisiana. Before that, he was an assistant district attorney in Avoyelles Parish and practiced civil and criminal law in both state and federal court. He has served on the board since 2018.

Starns is a big supporter of the Democrat Party has made multiple donations to Edwards and LA Democrats since 2015. He also contributed $24,000 to Democrat Caroline Fayard’s campaign. Fayrad ran for election to the U.S. Senate in 2016.

He donated $5,000 to Wilson’s donations in 2023 and made no contributions to Landry.

Jack “Jay” Blossman

Blossman is an attorney from Mandeville and served as the Public Service Commissioner for 12 years before deciding to not run for re-election. He briefly ran for governor as a Republican in 2003. He was first appointed to the board in 2018.

Blossman has donated $30,000 to Edwards since 2015. He did not make any contributions to Landry.

 

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