BRADENTON, Fla. – Long-time Louisiana Treasurer John Kennedy plans to run for the U.S. Senate this year.
Kennedy, a Republican elected to his fifth term less than three months ago, said on his blog Tuesday that he will run for the seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La.
Vitter announced that he would not seek re-election after losing November's gubernatorial election to Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat.
Kennedy said he is seeking the U.S. Senate seat because he is "scared" the country is losing the kind of conservative values that his parents taught him, such as "God, country, family, discipline, hard work and education."
"I want more for my country and my state," he said. "I want a country that respects taxpayer dollars. I'm sick of the waste, and I'm sick of the debt."
Kennedy serves as chairman of the State Bond Commission, which approves local and state debt.
He also has been critical of former Gov. Bobby Jindal's budget policies.
"It's not easy to muster the courage and political will to make the tough choices needed to get our budget under control, but I'll continue to challenge our leadership in state government and the federal government to confront those choices head on and stop the wasteful spending that burdens our taxpayers," he said while announcing he would seek re-election as treasurer last year.
On his blog Tuesday, Kennedy wrote that he has "fought against corruption and cronyism, and stood up to politicians more powerful than I am in both parties."
"I try not to be rude, but I speak my mind," he continued. "Some politicians call me a troublemaker, a misfit, a rebel, a square peg in a round hole, because I'm not part of the club.
"My job is to protect taxpayers, not seek the approval of my political peers," he said, adding that he hopes voters give him a chance to do the same in the U.S. Senate.
In 2007, Kennedy switched from being a Democrat to a member of the GOP.
Before becoming treasurer for the first time in 2000, Kennedy was secretary of the Department of Revenue, and special counsel and Cabinet secretary during former Gov. Charles Elson "Buddy" Roemer's administration. He also was a partner at the law firm of Chaffe McCall LLP.
After receiving degrees in political science, philosophy and economics from Vanderbilt University, Kennedy received a law degree from the University of Virginia and a bachelor of civil law degree from Oxford University in England.
At the Louisiana State University Law School, he currently serves as an adjunct professor.
Qualifying for U.S. Senate offices opens in July, and other candidates have announced or expressed interest in Louisiana's post as well.
If Kennedy's bid for higher office is successful, he would take office in January 2017.