Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 2004, 5th term.

Born: February 21, 1956, New Orleans

Home: Lafayette

Education: U. of SW LA, B.S. 1978, LA St. U., M.D. 1982

Professional Career: Practicing surgeon, 1982-2004.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Episcopalian

Family: married (Bridget) , 2 children

Charles Boustany in 2004 became the first Republican elected from southwest Louisiana since 1884. He is a heart surgeon who holds a prized seat on the Ways and Means Committee and has been active on health care, mostly upholding the GOP line but sometimes willing to explore common ground with pragmatic Democrats.

Of Lebanese ancestry, Boustany (Boo-STAN-nee) grew up in Lafayette, where his father was parish coroner. He was one of 10 children and told Roll Call newspaper in 2012: “If you didn’t show up on time for dinner, guess what? You didn’t get anything to eat.” He graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana and from Louisiana State University’s medical school. He worked as a cardio-thoracic surgeon and was active in civic and political affairs.

When Democrat Chris John ran for the Senate in 2004, Boustany was one of five candidates running to succeed him. The other Republican was David Thibodaux of Lafayette, who had run unsuccessfully for the seat three times. But he raised little money, some party leaders viewed him as too conservative, and Boustany quickly became the Republican favorite. The Democratic front-runners were state Sen. Don Cravins, who was seeking to become the first African-American to hold this seat, and state Sen. Willie Mount.

Boustany raised plenty of money early and campaigned on his “prescription for prosperity”—expansion of health savings accounts, high-speed Internet access for small businesses, and opposition to the Central America Free Trade Agreement. Boustany led the November primary with 39% of the vote, to 25% for Mount, 24.6% for Cravins, and 10% for Thibodaux. In the December runoff, Cravins refused to endorse Mount, still angry over the state Democratic Party’s “unity ballot” sent to black voters, which included Mount’s name and not his. Cravins’ neutrality hurt Mount in the Lafayette area. She pointed to her legislative experience, while Boustany emphasized his “values” agenda. Boustany won 55%-45%.

In the House, Boustany’s voting record has been relatively moderate for a Southern Republican, although he has become more of a loyalist since his party reclaimed the House majority in 2011. He initially opposed the $700 billion Wall Street rescue in 2008 but later switched his vote to “yes.” He has a close relationship with House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, which proved helpful to him in early 2009, when he secured a seat on Ways and Means.

The House in February 2012 passed his bill aimed at keeping welfare recipients from spending government-assistance checks at liquor stores, casinos, or strip clubs. He also won committee approval in May of that year of his bill changing a regulation that forced workers to forfeit unused flexible spending account funds at the end of the year. As the only physician on the committee in the 111th Congress (2009-10), Boustany took on a prominent role during the health care debate. With his soft-spoken yet authoritative manner, he became a popular television news guest. He was tapped to give the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s September 2009 address to Congress on health care and used the opportunity to talk up GOP ideas such as allowing people to cross state lines to buy insurance. He had initially expressed hope that any overhaul could be bipartisan and persuaded Boehner and other leaders to let him work with Ways and Means colleague Xavier Becerra, D-Calif. He later became an adviser to other Republican physicians seeking House seats in 2010, appearing at some of their campaign events and further elevating his national profile.

After the 2010 BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Boustany and Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, pressed for allowing new drilling in shallower Gulf waters. He also worked with Democrats in 2009 on reducing tax penalties on small businesses that employ tax shelters. Boustany has shifted positions on trade issues depending on how he perceives its impact on his state. He opposed the 2005 Central America Free Trade Agreement but backed later pacts with Colombia, Peru, Panama, and South Korea. His local priorities included more federal funding to restore Louisiana’s eroding coastline and to complete Interstate 49 from Lafayette through Houma to New Orleans. After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, he enacted initiatives to provide special rules for disaster relief employment for individuals displaced by the storms and to assist the disabled. He pledged that southwest Louisiana would not be “a stepchild” to New Orleans in hurricane recovery.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee tried to recruit Chris John to run for his old seat in 2006 but he declined. With John out of the running, Boustany had an easy race against Democrat Mike Stagg and won 71%-29%. In 2008, he won 62%-34% against state Sen. Don Cravins Jr., the son of Boustany’s 2004 opponent, and in 2010, he was unopposed.

Two years later, however, he was dragged into Louisiana’s messy redistricting effort. The state lost one congressional seat, and the tension of the situation was underscored in April 2011, when fellow Louisiana GOP Rep. John Fleming accused Boustany of backing a plan that could enhance his district while handing Fleming’s seat to a Democrat. But freshman Republican Jeff Landry’s 3rd District ultimately was eliminated, throwing him into Boustany’s and setting up an establishment-versus-tea party fight.

Landry attacked Boustany as a moderate in thrall to the Washington establishment, while the better-funded Boustany portrayed his rival as ineffectual and too prone to missing votes. In the November 6 conditional primary, neither candidate could attain a majority, with Boustany getting 45% of the vote to Landry’s 30%. But in the subsequent December runoff, Boustany coasted to a win with 61%.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-2031

(202) 225-5724

LHOB- Longworth House Office Building Room 1431
Washington, DC 20515-1803

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-2031

(202) 225-5724

LHOB- Longworth House Office Building Room 1431
Washington, DC 20515-1803

DISTRICT OFFICE

(337) 235-6322

(337) 235-6072

800 Lafayette Street Suite 1400
Lafayette, LA 70501-6800

DISTRICT OFFICE

(337) 235-6322

(337) 235-6072

800 Lafayette Street Suite 1400
Lafayette, LA 70501-6800

DISTRICT OFFICE

(337) 433-1747

(337) 433-0974

Capital One Tower Suite 1775
Lake Charles, LA 70629-0114

DISTRICT OFFICE

(337) 433-1747

(337) 433-0974

Capital One Tower Suite 1775
Lake Charles, LA 70629-0114

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

PO Box 80126
Lafayette, LA 70598-0126

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(337) 261-0041

PO Box 80126
Lafayette, LA 70598-0126

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

PO Box 80218
Lafayette, LA 70598-0218

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Keely McGibboney
Staff Assistant; Legislative Correspondent

Acquisitions

Kaitlin Sighinolfi
Legislative Director

Animal Rights

Parker Williams
Staff Assistant

Appropriations

Kaitlin Sighinolfi
Legislative Director

Banking

Kaitlin Sighinolfi
Legislative Director

Budget

Kaitlin Sighinolfi
Legislative Director

Communication

Kaitlin Sighinolfi
Legislative Director

Economics

Kaitlin Sighinolfi
Legislative Director

Education

Keely McGibboney
Staff Assistant; Legislative Correspondent

Energy

Kaitlin Sighinolfi
Legislative Director

Finance

Kaitlin Sighinolfi
Legislative Director

Govt Ops

Keely McGibboney
Staff Assistant; Legislative Correspondent

Health

Melissa Gierach
Policy Advisor

Housing

Keely McGibboney
Staff Assistant; Legislative Correspondent

Immigration

Keely McGibboney
Staff Assistant; Legislative Correspondent

Internet

Kaitlin Sighinolfi
Legislative Director

Judiciary

Parker Williams
Staff Assistant

Labor

Melissa Gierach
Policy Advisor

Science

Parker Williams
Staff Assistant

Social Security

Melissa Gierach
Policy Advisor

Tax

Melissa Gierach
Policy Advisor

Technology

Kaitlin Sighinolfi
Legislative Director

Parker Williams
Staff Assistant

Telecommunications

Kaitlin Sighinolfi
Legislative Director

Trade

Kaitlin Sighinolfi
Legislative Director

Transportation

Keely McGibboney
Staff Assistant; Legislative Correspondent

Veterans

Keely McGibboney
Staff Assistant; Legislative Correspondent

Welfare

Melissa Gierach
Policy Advisor

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Charles Boustany
Votes: 58,820
Percent: 60.9%
Jeff Landry
Votes: 37,767
Percent: 39.1%
2012 PRIMARY
Charles Boustany
Votes: 139,123
Percent: 44.68%
Jeff Landry
Votes: 93,527
Percent: 30.04%
Ron Richard
Votes: 67,070
Percent: 21.54%
2010 GENERAL
Charles Boustany
Unopposed
2010 PRIMARY
Charles Boustany
Unopposed
2008 GENERAL
Charles Boustany
Votes: 177,173
Percent: 61.88%
Donald Cravins
Votes: 98,280
Percent: 34.33%
2008 PRIMARY
Charles Boustany
Unopposed
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (unopposed), 2008 (62%), 2006 (71%), 2004 (55%)

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