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Panelist Bio

Austin J. Badon, Jr.
State Rep. (D), Chairman of the House Education Committee

Louisiana State Representative Austin Badon Jr. is a native son of New Orleans, LA. Before he began to serve the people of the great State of Louisiana as a member of the House of Representatives in 2004, he earned his high school degree from the internationally known St. Augustine High School; he then went on to earn an under-graduate degree in Political Science and Sociology from the University of New Orleans. Later, he went back to school to earn a Master’s degree in Human Resources Management from Troy State University. Representative Badon began to delve into the word of politics while attending college. During his under-graduate work, Austin worked as an intern for the New Orleans City Council. Upon completion of the class, he missed working there so much that he volunteered until he found his first REAL job. After job stints in Atlanta and Houston, he came home to the City and State that he loves. After his election in 2004, he has authored and co-authored major reform efforts in New Orleans as well as in the State. His most notable measures have included the consolidation of the seven Orleans assessor office’s into one, the change in qualifications of those serving on levee boards, the implementation of the Recovery School district in Orleans Parish schools, a ban on smoking in Louisiana’s restaurants, testing of inmates for HIV and Hepatitis, the proposed ban on text messaging and cell phone use while driving, the implementation of a scholarship program in New Orleans public schools and many other quality of life instruments. He prides himself on never missing a day of work in any Special or Regular session. As one of the most highly respected members of either legislative chamber, he has served as a Floor leader for both Governor Kathleen Blanco and Governor Bobby Jindal. In 2008, Representative Badon has earned the appointed of Chairman of the House Education Committee.

His motto is “Don’t wait for your ship to come in, swim out to it.” Representative Badon has been recognized for his accomplishments by the Loyola University Black Law Student association, by the Alliance for Good Government as the 2007 Legislator of the Year and by numerous civic and social organizations. Representative Badon was re-elected in 2007 with an overwhelming mandate from his constituents because of his professionalism, accessibility, tenacity and caring manner. Just like so many other people in the New Orleans area, Representative Badon had to overcome tremendous obstacles while rebuilding his flood damaged home. But he believes that God has placed him in this position to help others. He is married to Therese Badon and they have one dependent, a toy poodle who thinks he is a Rottweiller named Romeo. He is a gourmet chef, expert angler and kayaker and he loves the outdoors.

Current Topic

10/16 - Election 2016

What concerns are on citizens’ minds as they go to the polls this fall?

The presidential election may be getting all of the attention, but Louisiana residents will be making several important decisions at the ballot box in November. The U.S. Senate seat left up for grabs by retiring Sen. David Vitter has drawn a field of 24 candidates. Louisianians in the south- and northwest parts of the state will also be voting on congressmen. So, what national concerns are on citizens’ minds as they go to the polls this fall? What statewide issues should be on the mind of Louisiana’s next Congressional leaders? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers on “Election 2016” Wednesday, October 26 at 7p.m. (Taping Tuesday, October 25)

Our Panelists:

• Elizabeth Crisp / The Advocate
• Greg Hilburn / Gannett Newspapers
• Martin Johnson, Ph.D. / LSU Manship School of Mass Communication
• Albert Samuels, Ph.D. / Mandela School of Public Policy, Southern University

• Guest Host: Patricia Smith / Assistant to Dean of Political Science Dept., Southern University

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Special Presentation

05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!

11/16- Beyond the Flood

What lessons did residents and state officials learn from this historic event and what challenges remain?

Recent Topics

09/16 - Pass or Fail? Louisiana’s Education System

How well is the state’s public school system really performing?

08/16 - Louisiana Post-Katrina: A Decade of Difference (encore)

What difference has a decade made?

07/16 - Regular and Extraordinary: Legislative Review

Who are the winners and losers in Louisiana’s budget battle?

06/16 - Symbol or Statement? History in Public Spaces (encore)

Is the display of Civil War statues in public justified or do they belong only in museums?

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