Walter “Walt” J. Leger III is Speaker Pro Tempore of the Louisiana House of Representatives and the representative for New Orleans’ District 91, which includes Central City, Uptown, the Lower Garden District, the Irish Channel, parts of Broadmoor, Gert Town, and Hollygrove.
Walt is best known and respected for putting politics aside, bringing people together, and rolling up his sleeves to do what’s right for the people of Louisiana. He makes the tough decisions and smart investments needed to get the job done, and his legislative record shows it.
Walt’s focus is on making Louisiana a safer, smarter, and more sustainable place to live, and his priorities include:
- Structural Budget Reform
- Early Childhood Education
- Criminal Justice Reform and Public Safety
- Coastal Preservation and Restoration
- Economic Development and Infrastructure
Walt was raised in St. Bernard Parish with his brother and sister, Rhett and Liz. His parents, Walter and Cathy, instilled in him the spirit of public service from a young age, and he knew from the moment he acted as Vice President Walter Mondale in a mock debate in first grade that he was destined for life as a public servant. He took this spirit with him as he graduated with honors from Jesuit High School in New Orleans and then Louisiana State University.
Walt came back home to New Orleans and enrolled in Tulane Law School where he served as the Business Editor of the Tulane Maritime Law Journal and the Editor-in-Chief of the Tulane Environmental Law Newsletter. After law school, Leger served as an Assistant District Attorney in New Orleans, specializing in the felony prosecution of violent offenders and narcotics traffickers. It was during this time that Walt’s views on criminal justice reform began to crystalize and he once again felt the calling for public service.
Walt was first elected to the Legislature in the fall of 2007, and re-elected without opposition in 2011 and 2015. He was unanimously chosen by his colleagues to serve as the Speaker Pro Tempore of the Louisiana House of Representatives in 2012 and again in 2016, the youngest member to ever hold this position. He was appointed to serve on the powerful Appropriations Committee as a junior legislator and still serves today as the Committee’s senior ranking member, along with sitting on a variety of other committees and commissions.
Walt’s straightforward tactics and evidence-based policymaking have afforded him many groundbreaking legislative successes. Some of these include the creation of the Revenue Stabilization Trust Fund, the Louisiana Early Childhood Education Fund, and the Criminal Justice Reinvestment Program. Walt has succeeded in building coalitions once thought impossible in order to bring common-sense solutions to long-standing problems. Not only does he bring people to the table, he’ll work with anyone who sits down.
Walt is committed to making New Orleans and Louisiana a better place to live, especially as he and his wife, Danielle, continue to grow their young family with their daughter, Cate, and another baby on the way.