John Neely Kennedy was born on November 21, 1951 in Centreville, Mississippi. He was raised in Zachary, Louisiana in East Baton Rouge Parish. He graduated from Zachary High School in 1969. He entered Vanderbilt University and graduated with a degree in political science. In 1977 he graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Virginia.In 1979 he earned a Bachelor of Civil Law degree from Oxford University in England. Kennedy lives in Madisonville in St. Tammany Parish with his wife, Becky, and son, Preston. He is a founding member of, and attends, North Cross United Methodist Church in Madisonville.
Kennedy was a member of the staff of Governor Buddy Roemer before unsuccessfully running as the Democratic candidate for state attorney general in 1991. In 1999, he was elected Louisiana State Treasurer, he was re-elected in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015. Kennedy was an unsuccessful candidate for US Senate in 2004 and 2008. In 2007 he became a Republican. In 2016 Kennedy ran for the US Senate. He went on to defeat the Democratic candidate Foster Campbell.
He has served on several committees: Committee on Appropriations; Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; Committee on the Budget; Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. He also serve on the Senate Republican Conference Caucus.
Kennedy is opposed to abortion, he is anti gun control, he opposed the FIRST STEP Act, the bill however passed anyway. John Kennedy introduced a bill on March 7, 2018 that would prohibit companies from blocking or throttling web content. He is for strong sanctions against foreign countries that evade international sanctions.