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GCFM Board Members:

Board Director, Governor: Kathleen Blanco

Kathleen Blanco
Board Director
Governor

Kathleen Blanco

Kathleen Blanco is the former governor of the State of Louisiana. Governor Blanco was elected lieutenant governor in 1995, and was overwhelmingly reelected to her second term in 1999, winning 80 percent of the vote. As the state's second-highest official, she supervised the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. Under her leadership, tourism in Louisiana increased by 41 percent. This growth led to a $2.5 billion increase in the tourism industry's economic contribution to the state and the creation of 21,000 new tourism-related jobs.

On January 12, 2004, Blanco became the first woman governor of Louisiana. Committed to education excellence, she chaired the Southern Regional Education Board and made Louisiana a leader in improved education standards throughout the South. She was responsible for passage of the largest increased investment in education in the state’s history.

 

Blanco also led one of the most aggressive economic development efforts in state history, making significant investments in the advanced technology infrastructure needed to diversify Louisiana’s economy as well as in the highway, port, and infrastructure improvements needed to increase Louisiana’s ability to compete for new jobs.In all, she attracted nearly $24 billion in new investments representing nearly 35,000 new jobs in just three years. In addition, she was responsible for the expansion of access to health insurance for Louisiana’s children, and created a nationally-recognized model of excellence in juvenile justice by overhauling Louisiana’s state corrections system. In 2005, Governor Blanco led Louisiana through Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, the largest natural disaster in American history. Under her leadership and guidance, well over $2 billion in recovery dollars is at work aiding local communities. Included in that figure are investments in school and home rebuilding, improving emergency response capabilities, and addressing health care needs. Blanco also established the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and led the fight to secure America’s wetland, Louisiana’s natural barrier against future storms. During her gubernatorial tenure, Blanco served on the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices board as well as on two NGA committees: Natural Resources; and Education, Early Childhood, and Workforce.