Citizen legislator Sen. Mary Landrieu doesn’t really live in Louisiana
posted at 10:01 pm on August 28, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham
Yet another rich citizen legislator has run into the buzzsaw of residency requirements— the quaint notion that a person who represents a state should live in that state and have some passing acquaintance with it to the point of even visiting more than occasionally. It’s not solely a Democratic issue, of course, but rather one that reaches across party lines in the entrenched class.
Dick Lugar of Indiana and Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas have both gotten in trouble for it recently whereas Scott Brown, running in New Hampshire, has gotten surprisingly little national blowback despite having recently been the senator from Massachusetts. To be fair, Brown has owned a home in the Granite State for 20 years, which is far more than one can say for Landrieu:
NEW ORLEANS — In Washington, Sen. Mary Landrieu lives in a stately, $2.5 million brick manse she and her husband built on Capitol Hill.
Here in Louisiana, however, the Democrat does not have a home of her own. She is registered to vote at a large bungalow in New Orleans that her parents have lived in for many decades, according to a Washington Post review of Landrieu’s federal financial disclosures and local property and voting records.
On a statement of candidacy Landrieu filed with the Federal Election Commission in January, she listed her Capitol Hill home as her address. But when qualifying for the ballot in Louisiana last week, she listed the family’s raised-basement home here on South Prieur Street.
The New Orleans house, which Landrieu claims as her primary residence, is a new flash point in one of the most closely contested Senate races in the country. Republicans are considering taking legal action to question Landrieu’s residency in the state, arguing that since winning her seat in 1996 she has become a creature of Washington.
She claims to “live” in her parents’ home, which is co-owned by her parents and and her eight siblings. As an awesome Southern side note, her parents’ names are Moon and Verna. Her most likely opponent Rep. Bill Cassidy is criticizing her, but really, the testimony from her neighbors and supporters is most devastating:
“I don’t think she lives there,” said Fontaine Wells, 65, pointing at the Landrieu home. “She might come visit, but come on now — she lives in D.C. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her.”
Still, Wells added, “I don’t hold that against her… She knows our issues, she knows the problems we have.”
Michael Fitzgerald, 61, has lived around the corner from the Landrieus for three decades. He said he sees Moon and Verna Landrieu regularly, as well as Mitch Landrieu, Mary’s younger brother and the city’s current mayor, who lives in a home he owns nearby.
“They’ve been very good neighbors,” Fitzgerald said. “On Election Day, [Mary] is seen at our polling place accompanying her parents.” He added, “I have not seen her lately. . . . She’s been in the Senate for — I’ve lost count — 16 years? 18 years?”
Why don’t these obscenely rich “citizen legislators” buy a Plausibly Deniability Condo in their home states at the very least? I’m as glad as anyone that their extreme
frugality desire to hoard their resources inside the Beltway betrays their true characters and opens them to criticism on the home front, but it doesn’t seem all that hard to simply own a piece of property in one’s home state if one would like to represent one’s home state. In addition to being politically advantageous, it’d help them actually visit their home states on a regular basis so as to serve the citizens thereof in a more thorough and understanding way. But hey, that’s overrated, I suppose.
On the upside, Landrieu could certainly argue she better understands the hardships of the Obama economy because she’s living in her parents’ basement.