Cleo Fields was born November 22, 1962 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is a 1980 graduate of McKinley High School and a 1984 graduate of Southern University in the field of Mass Communications. During his senior year at Southern University, he was elected Student Government Association President, and was also elected by the Louisiana Council of Student Body Presidents to serve on the Louisiana Board of Regents. In 1987, Fields obtained his law degree from Southern University School of Law after having clerked for both East Baton Rouge Parish City Prosecutor’s office and the Parish Attorney’s Office.
Upon completion of law school, the same year, Fields was elected to the Louisiana State Senate at the age of 24. He became the youngest person ever elected to the State Senate in Louisiana’s history and at that time, the youngest in the nation. As State Senator, he authored and passed legislation that established Drug Free Zones near school campuses, an Inner City Economic Development Program, and numerous other bills he helped co-author for the betterment of the 14th senatorial district.
In 1992, Fields was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as Congressman of Louisiana’s 4th Congressional district. Here again, at age 30, Fields held the position of being the youngest member to serve in the 103rd congress. As congressman, he introduced the Delta Initiatives Act, the Stolen Guns Act, and Check Cashing Act of 1993. He secured funds for various projects and held numerous town hall meetings securing several Presidential Cabinet members to address he constituents concerns personally. He also created a Congressional Classroom for elementary through secondary school-age students, noted for being the first of its kind in the country, to develop leadership and self-esteem while understanding the governmental process.
In 1995, he made a bid for the Governor of Louisiana at which time he made a historical mark by being the first African American to successfully win a run-off spot, and became the democratic nominee. He went on to complete two terms as Congressman. In the fall of 1996, he decided not to seek reelection due to redistricting. Fields then began a general consulting group known as Cleo Fields and Associates where he serves as President and C.E.O.
On December 13, 1997, Cleo Fields was elected to the 14th Senatorial District of Louisiana, returning him to his political origin as State Senator. He was elected by a landslide in the primary, with 75% of the vote over five other candidates. He then served in the Senate simultaneously with his younger brother, until his brother won a judgeship. This marked the first time in Louisiana’s history for two brothers to serve at the same time. Once he regained his senatorial seat, Fields also reestablished the Congressional Classroom as the Louisiana Leadership Institute. It is a non-profit youth organization that provides services and programs to urban youth.
Fields not only enjoys creating the law, but also practicing it. In 1998, he established his own firm, the Fields Law Firm, LLC, which presently consists of three attorneys practicing a diversity of law. In that same year, Fields also helped establish the Louisiana Leadership Institute, where he is founder. At the onset of this new millennium, Fields began his own statewide interactive radio talk show called none other than, “Cleo Live.” It airs weekly and centers around various issues affecting our state and nation.
Fields served as Chair of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus from 200-2001 and recently served as co-chair of Rainbow/Push Board of Trustees. He presently serves as their General Counsel.