|United States Senator
January 3, 2015
Serving with John Neely Kennedy
|Preceded by||Mary Landrieu|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 6th district
January 3, 2009 – January 3, 2015
|Preceded by||Don Cazayoux|
|Succeeded by||Garret Graves|
|Member of the Louisiana Senate
from the 16th district
December 20, 2006 – January 3, 2009
|Preceded by||Jay Dardenne|
|Succeeded by||Dan Claitor|
|Born||William Morgan Cassidy
September 28, 1957
Highland Park, Illinois, U.S.
|Education||Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge (BS, MD)|
William Morgan Cassidy (born September 28, 1957) is an American physician and politician currently serving as the senior United States Senator from the state of Louisiana. He is a member of the Republican Party and served as the U.S. Representative for Louisiana's 6th Congressional District from 2009 to 2015. Cassidy became Louisiana's senior senator when David Vitter retired in 2017.
William Morgan Cassidy was born in Highland Park, Illinois, one of four sons born to Elizabeth and James F. Cassidy, and is of Irish and Welsh descent. He received a B.S. Degree in 1979 from Louisiana State University and an M.D. from LSU School of Medicine in 1983. Cassidy specialized in the treatment of diseases of the liver at the Earl K. Long Medical Center (LSUMC). His wife, Laura (née Layden), is also a physician. The couple has three children. They are members of The Chapel on the Campus, a nondenominational Christian Church that meets on LSU's campus in Baton Rouge.
In 1998, Cassidy helped found the Greater Baton Rouge Community Clinic to provide uninsured residents of the greater Baton Rouge area with access to free health care. The Clinic provides low-income families with free dental, medical, mental health and vision care through a "virtual" approach that partners needy patients with doctors who provide care free of charge.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Cassidy led a group of health care volunteers to convert an abandoned K-Mart building into an emergency health care facility, providing basic health care to victims of the hurricane.
Cassidy was first elected to the Louisiana State Senate in 2006 as a Republican. He had previously been a Democrat: Cassidy supported Michael Dukakis for president in 1988 and donated to the 1992 presidential campaign of Senator Paul Tsongas (D-MA), and to Louisiana Democrats Kathleen Blanco in the 2003 gubernatorial election and Mary Landrieu in her 2002 Senate campaign. In 2013, Cassidy called his donation to Landrieu a "youthful indiscretion," saying that she "got elected and fell into partisan politics... Louisiana hasn't left Mary, Mary has left us." Since 2001, he has mostly contributed to Republican candidates, including Senator David Vitter. According to Cassidy, he switched parties after the extinction of conservative Democrats and because of his frustration with the bureaucracy and inefficiency of the public hospital system.
On December 9, 2006, Cassidy won a special election for the District 16 seat in the Louisiana Senate. In his first bid for public office, Cassidy defeated veteran State Representative William Daniel, a fellow Republican, and Libertarian candidate S.B. Zaitoon. The election was held to replace Jay Dardenne, who vacated the seat he had held since 1992 upon his election as Louisiana Secretary of State. Cassidy was sworn in on December 20, 2006. On October 20, 2007, Cassidy was reelected, this time to a full four-year term in the Louisiana State Senate. Cassidy received 76% of the vote against Republican Troy "Rocco" Moreau (15%) and Libertarian Richard Fontanesi (9%).
On November 4, 2008, Cassidy was elected to serve Louisiana's 6th district in the U.S. House of Representatives, defeating incumbent Democratic Congressman Don Cazayoux with 48% of the vote. He likely owed his victory to the independent candidacy of state representative Michael L. Jackson. Jackson, who is African-American, finished third with 36,100 votes, more than the 25,000-vote margin separating Cassidy and Cazayoux.
In the 2010 midterm elections, Cassidy easily won a second term, defeating Democrat Merritt E. McDonald of Baton Rouge with 66% of the vote. In the 2012 election, Cassidy was reelected again, defeating Rufus Holt Craig, Jr., a Libertarian, and Richard Torregano, an Independent. Cassidy received 79% of the vote.
||This section needs to be updated. (February 2017)|
In May 2009, Cassidy partnered with California Representative Jackie Speier to introduce legislation that would amend the House of Representatives rules to require that members of Congress list their earmark requests on their Congressional websites. Previous earmark reform efforts had focused on disclosure of earmarks that were funded by Congress. In June 2010, he introduced the Gulf Coast Jobs Preservation Act to terminate the moratorium on deep water drilling and require the Secretary of the Interior to ensure the safety of deep water drilling operations. He worked to ensure that money from the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund, which was established in the wake of the BP oil spill, is spent on coastal restoration efforts.
In May 2013, Cassidy introduced the Energy Consumers Relief Act of 2013 (H.R. 1582) to require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to submit reports to both the United States Congress and the United States Department of Energy regarding proposed regulation that would have significant compliance costs (an impact of over $1 billion). The Department of Energy and Congress would then have the option of stopping or altering the EPA proposal.
In 2013, due to the American Medical Association's decision to officially recognize obesity as a disease, Senators and Representatives, including Cassidy, helped introduce legislation to lower health care costs and prevent chronic diseases by addressing America's growing obesity crisis. Cassidy said the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act could help empower physicians to use all methods and means to fight the condition.
In June 2013, Cassidy supported a House-passed bill that federally banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Also in 2013, Cassidy circulated a draft letter opposing an immigration reform bill, asking for signatures. Representative Mark Takano, a high school literature teacher for 23 years, marked it up in red pen like a school assignment and gave it an F, with comments like, "exaggeration -- avoid hyperbole," and "contradicts earlier statement."
In 2014 Cassidy co-sponsored an amendment to the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act in 2014 to limit annual premium increases for flood insurance, reinstate the flood insurance program's grandfathering provision, and eliminate a provision that required an increase to actuarial levels when a home is sold.
Cassidy was a vocal opponent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly called Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act), arguing that it would fail to lower costs and give too much decision-making authority to the federal government. In September 2014, the House passed the Employee Health Care Protection Act of 2013 (H.R. 3522; 113th Congress), sponsored by Cassidy, enabling Americans to keep health insurance policies that do not meet all of the Affordable Care Act's requirements. In March 2017, ProPublica reported that Cassidy had sent a letter to one of his constituents saying that Obamacare "allows a presidentially handpicked ‘Health Choices Commissioner’ to determine what coverage and treatments are available to you", an assertion that ProPublica found to be false.
Cassidy supported the Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America That Works Act of 2014 (H.R. 4899; 113th Congress), a bill to revise existing laws regarding the development of oil and gas resources on the Outer Continental Shelf. The bill is intended to increase domestic energy production and lower gas prices. He argued that the bill "would allow us to take advantage of our natural resources and expands our energy manufacturing and construction industries."
Cassidy ran for the U.S. Senate in the 2014 election, in which he was endorsed by Republican Senator David Vitter. He defeated three-term incumbent Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu in the run-off election held on Saturday, December 6, 2014, receiving 56% of the vote to Landrieu's 44%. It was the first Republican victory for the seat since William P. Kellogg in 1883.
United States Senate, Louisiana (2014)
Runoff Election, December 6, 2014
|Bill Cassidy||Republican||712,330 (55.94%)||Elected|
|Mary Landrieu||Democrat||561,099 (44.06%)||Defeated|
General Election, November 4, 2014
|Mary Landrieu||Democrat||619,402 (42.08%)||Runoff|
|Bill Cassidy||Republican||603,048 (40.97%)||Runoff|
|Rob Maness||Republican||202,556 (13.67%)||Defeated|
|Thomas Clements||Republican||14,173 (0.96%)||Defeated|
|Brannon McMorris||Independent||13,034 (0.89%)||Defeated|
|Wayne Ables||Democrat||11,323 (0.77%)||Defeated|
|William Waymire||Democrat||4,673 (0.32%)||Defeated|
|Vallian Senegal||Democrat||3,835 (0.26%)||Defeated|
United States House of Representatives, 6th District of Louisiana (2012)
General Election, November 6, 2012
|"Bill" Cassidy||Republican||243,553 (79.41%)||Elected|
|Rufus Holt Craig, Jr.||Libertarian||32,185 (10.49%)||Defeated|
|Richard Torregano||Independent||30,975 (10.10%)||Defeated|
United States House of Representatives, 6th District of Louisiana (2010)
General Election, November 2, 2010
|"Bill" Cassidy||Republican||138,607 (66%)||Elected|
|Merritt E. McDonald, Sr.||Democratic||72,577 (34%)||Defeated|
United States House of Representatives, 6th District of Louisiana (2008)
General Election, November 4, 2008
|"Bill" Cassidy||Republican||150,332 (48%)||Elected|
|"Don" Cazayoux||Democratic||125,886 (40%)||Defeated|
|Michael Jackson||No Party||36,198 (12%)||Defeated|
Louisiana State Senate, District 16 (2007)
Threshold > 50%
First Ballot, October 20, 2007
|"Bill" Cassidy||Republican||33,463 (76%)||Elected|
|Troy "Rocco" Moreau||Republican||6,781 (15%)||Defeated|
|Richard Fontanesi||Libertarian||3,995 (9%)||Defeated|
Louisiana State Senate, District 16 (2006)
Threshold > 50%
First Ballot, December 9, 2006
|"Bill" Cassidy||Republican||8,394 (58%)||Elected|
|William Daniel||Republican||5,472 (38%)||Defeated|
|S.B.A. Zaitoon||Libertarian||592 (4%)||Defeated|
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 6th congressional district
|Party political offices|
John Neely Kennedy
|Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Louisiana
|United States Senate|
|U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Louisiana
Served alongside: David Vitter, John N. Kennedy
|United States order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|United States Senators by seniority