KATHLEEN BLANCO

KATHLEEN BLANCO

KATHLEEN BLANCO

Former LA Governor

Governor Blanco was elected to four different offices during her twenty-four trailblazing years in public service. Her name was on the ballot nine times in tough races and runoffs, and she has never been defeated.

She was the first woman from Lafayette elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1983, and again in 1987. She then became the first woman in Louisiana elected to the Public Service Commission, where she was named chairman, and was re-elected to the PSC for a second term with no opposition.

She was elected Lieutenant Governor twice, and during her eight years there built the state’s tourism business into a $9 billion industry by supporting major statewide tourism initiatives and revitalizing small towns across the state.

In 2003, Governor Blanco won the race for governor, beating more than nineteen men, including several prominent political figures (like Bobby Jindal). Blanco was governor during the rough months after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated coastal Louisiana. She never quit fighting Washington D.C. to get adequate money for the recovery effort, despite considerable resistance.

Even when they told her “No” at times, Governor Blanco got President George W. Bush and the U. S. Congress to change their minds. With the help of Senator Mary Landrieu she secured over $29 billion for Louisiana – for levee improvements, housing grants that helped nearly 130,000 families get back into their homes, and to rebuild public infrastructure.

Despite the intense recovery work, Governor Blanco accomplished all of her initial goals by the end of her term – her proudest in education. She prioritized education investments from Pre-K classrooms to universities and funded teacher pay and higher education at the Southern Regional average for the first time in a quarter century and reformed the New Orleans school system. She was nationally recognized for her economic development accomplishments which brought new companies with worker benefits and good paying jobs to Louisiana. She left office having built a solid foundation for hurricane recovery, had properly balanced budgets and left an incredible $2 billion surplus.