Board of Advisors
David LaCerte joined the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs in June of 2010 and has served the department in many capacities, including in the posts of Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Undersecretary, Chief of Staff, Executive Counsel, and Legislative Liaison.
Mr. LaCerte is a Veteran of the United States Marine Corps where he served as an infantryman in the First Marine Division with First Battalion, First Marines (1/1). Under the command of General James Mattis, LaCerte led the first Marines into Afghanistan and Pakistan only weeks after 9-11, helping to drive the Taliban from Kandahar and establish several forward operating bases in hostile territory. As a member of Task Force 58, LaCerte helped redefine post 9-11 raid capabilities in what is regarded as the longest amphibious assault and the longest heliborne assault in the history of warfare. He has led over 100 combat patrols and missions in Afghanistan and Pakistan and also served as a member of interrogation teams for high value Al Queda targets.
Under the leadership of Mr. LaCerte, LDVA transitioned through a historic period of financial reforms. The Department’s Long Term Care Hospitals experienced a boom in both expansion of services and in the number of patients served while simultaneously becoming the first state in the nation to totally eliminate dependency upon state general funds within the veterans homes program. The LDVA Contact Assistance program expanded operations to every parish in the state of Louisiana while doubling the state’s Service Connected Disability awards to nearly one billion dollars. The state veterans’ cemetery program also expanded with new veteran’s cemeteries constructed in Leesville, Slidell, and Rayville (proposed).
Mr. LaCerte also spearheaded LDVA’s efforts to pass groundbreaking federal and state legislation, to assist veterans, service members, and their families in the areas of fiscal policy, education and job training, employment, healthcare, business ownership, substance abuse and mental health treatment, criminal justice system interaction, and hardship assistance programs.
He chairs and serves on many Louisiana boards and commissions. As Chairman of the Louisiana Military Advisory Council, he represents the state of Louisiana in dealings with the Department of Defense, the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, and any related defense industry contractor or company. This industry represents a huge portion of Louisiana’s economic development with Fort Polk and the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC), Barksdale Air Force Base, and Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Belle Chase representing the largest, third largest, and sixth largest employers in the state of Louisiana, respectively. He also serves as Chairman and administrator of the Louisiana Military Family Assistance Board, which assists Louisiana Guardsmen and reservists during periods of financial difficulty.
Mr. LaCerte holds a Bachelor of Science in Business from Nicholls State University and a Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Civil Law from LSU’s Paul M. Hebert Law Center and is licensed to practice law in Louisiana and the United States District Court of Veterans Appeals in Washington D.C.. Before attending law school, he worked as a deputy sheriff in Terrebonne Parish.
Mr. LaCerte currently resides in Iberville Parish with his daughter Ava and wife Mandy, an educator and high school principal.