The University of Louisiana at Monroe Diversity Committee today hosted former Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Louisiana’s first female governor, as the featured speaker for Women’s History Month at ULM.  She spoke at the ULM Conference Center, located on the seventh floor of the ULM Library.

“Governor Blanco is a perfect choice to help us celebrate Women's History Month at our university,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Wayne Brumfield, also a UL alumnus.

“She was elected to four different offices during her 24 trailblazing years in public service. Her name was on the ballot nine times in tough races and runoffs, and she has never been defeated. We are very pleased to host her this month.”

In 2003, Louisianians elected Blanco governor over 19 men, many of them prominent political figures.

Blanco served as governor in the weeks and months following the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and she convinced the federal government to secure over $29 billion for the state to make levee improvements, provide housing grants and rebuild public infrastructure.

Blanco’s other “firsts” include being the first woman from Lafayette elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1983 and again in 1987.  She was also the first woman in Louisiana elected to the Public Service Commission, where she was named chairman, and was re-elected for a second term with no opposition.

Twice elected as lieutenant governor, she built the state’s tourism business into a nine billion dollar industry. Through the Main Street Program she worked to revitalize small towns across the state.

Blanco prioritized education during her tenure as governor, which included funding teacher pay and higher education at the Southern Regional average for the first time in 25 years.

She was nationally recognized for her economic development accomplishments, and left a balanced budget and a $2 billion surplus by the end of her term as governor.

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