Shawn D. Wilson is an American politician and transportation official who served as the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development from 2016 to 2023. Wilson unsuccessfully ran for governor of Louisiana in 2023 and came in second place to Republican Jeff Landry in a jungle primary receiving 25.9% of the vote.

Shawn Wilson
Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development
In office
January 11, 2016 – March 4, 2023
GovernorJohn Bel Edwards
Preceded bySherri LeBas
Succeeded byEric Kalivoda
Personal details
BornNew Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationUniversity of Louisiana, Lafayette (BA)
Southern University (MPA, PhD)
WebsiteCampaign website

Early life and career edit

Wilson is from New Orleans.[1] He intended to pursue nursing but changed his path after the death of his father.[1] In 1993, Wilson completed a bachelor's degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.[2][1] He was president of the Student Government Association and was the student member on the University of Louisiana System board.[3] Wilson earned both a master's degree and Ph.D. in Public Administration from Southern University.[2][1] His 2015 dissertation was titled A comparative study of transportation decision making by state and locally elected officials in Louisiana. James S. Larson was Wilson's doctoral advisor.[4]

Wilson was executive director of the Louisiana Serve Commission and served as the deputy legislative director for Governor Kathleen Blanco.[3] In 2005, Wilson joined the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development as a confidential assistant to Secretary Johnny Bradberry.[1] In 2007, Wilson was a candidate for Lafayette Parish Council.[5] He lost in a runoff.[5] Wilson served as chief of staff to state transportation secretary William Anker and Sherri LeBas.[1] Wilson was appointed secretary by Governor John Bel Edwards, beginning his term on January 11, 2016.[1][6] In 2021, Wilson was elected president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.[2] He is the first African-American to serve in the role.[2]

2023 Louisiana gubernatorial election edit

In December 2022, Wilson established an exploratory committee for the 2023 Louisiana gubernatorial election.[7] On February 15, 2023, Wilson announced that he would be resigning as secretary effective March 4, 2023, which was taken as confirmation that he would run for governor.[8][9]

On March 6, 2023, Wilson officially launched his campaign for Governor of Louisiana.[10] As the only major Democratic candidate in the race, Wilson has garnered the endorsements of incumbent governor John Bel Edwards,[11] the Louisiana Democratic Party, and former 2022 Senate candidate Gary Chambers.[12]

Electoral history edit

Lafayette Parish Council edit

Blanket primary
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Brandon Shelvin 986 25.85%
Democratic Shawn Wilson 718 18.83%
Democratic Lloyd Rochon 586 15.36%
Democratic Dale J. Brasseaux 515 13.50%
Democratic Amos Batiste Jr. 513 13.45%
Democratic Shelton J. Cobb 496 13.00%
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Brandon Shelvin 1,656 57.34%
Democratic Shawn Wilson 1,232 42.66%

Governor of Louisiana edit

2023 Louisiana gubernatorial election[13]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jeff Landry 547,827 51.6
Democratic Shawn Wilson 275,525 25.9
Republican Stephen Waguespack 62,287 5.9
Republican John Schroder 56,654 5.3
Independent Hunter Lundy 52,165 4.9
Democratic Danny Cole 27,662 2.6
Republican Sharon Hewitt 18,468 1.7
Independent Benjamin Barnes 5,190 0.5
Republican Dat Barthel 4,426 0.4
Republican Richard Nelson (withdrawn) 3,605 0.3
Independent Jeffery Istre 3,400 0.3
Republican Xavier Ellis 1,734 0.2
Independent Keitron Gagnon 1,260 0.1
Republican Xan John 1,164 0.1
Independent Frank Scurlock 1,131 0.1
Total votes 1,062,498 100.0
Republican gain from Democratic

Personal life edit

Wilson and his wife, Rocki, live in Lafayette, Louisiana.[3] They have two children. He is a Progressive Baptist[3] and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated.

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Sentell, Will (January 5, 2016). "New DOTD chief Shawn Wilson boasts experience, ready to take on job stacked with about $12 billion road, bridge project backlog". The Advocate. Retrieved January 29, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d McLoud, Don (November 5, 2021). "Shawn Wilson elected AASHTO's first African-American president". Equipment World. Retrieved January 29, 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d "Dr. Shawn Wilson". College of Engineering. October 20, 2021. Retrieved January 29, 2023.
  4. ^ "Southern University graduates almost 500 students on Friday". The Advocate. December 12, 2015. Retrieved January 29, 2023.
  5. ^ a b O'Donoghue, Julie (January 30, 2023). "What potential Louisiana governor candidates are saying". Louisiana Illuminator. Retrieved January 31, 2023.
  6. ^ Sentell, Will (December 30, 2015). "Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards makes key cabinet appointments, including DOTD chief". The Advocate. Retrieved January 29, 2023.
  7. ^ Sentell, Will (December 7, 2022). "DOTD chief sets up exploratory committee as he considers bid for governor". Retrieved January 29, 2023.
  8. ^ Sentell, Will (February 15, 2023). "Shawn Wilson quitting transportation post ahead of likely bid for Louisiana governor". The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate.
  9. ^ Hilburn, Greg (February 15, 2023). "Democrat Shawn Wilson sets stage to launch campaign for Louisiana governor". The Daily Advertiser.
  10. ^ "Former Louisiana DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson announces his bid for governor". Fox 8 Live. March 6, 2023. Retrieved March 6, 2023.
  11. ^ Finn, James (March 7, 2023). "John Bel Edwards endorses Shawn Wilson in 2023 Louisiana governor's race". The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate. Retrieved May 8, 2023.
  12. ^ Bridges, Tyler (March 7, 2023). "Troy Carter endorses Shawn Wilson's campaign for governor. Here's why it matters". The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate. Retrieved May 8, 2023.
  13. ^ "Unofficial Results for Election Date: 10/14/2023 Governor".

External links edit

Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Governor of Louisiana
Most recent