Louisiana State Senator Diana Bajoie (D-New Orleans) is definitely one for the history books. In 1976, when she began her public service in the Louisiana House of Representatives, she was the only woman serving in that body. In 1991, she was the first African-American woman ever elected to the Louisiana Senate. In 2004, when she took the oath as Senate President Pro Tempore, she was the first woman ever elected to the leadership post in the Louisiana Senate.
Bajoie is not just a public servant in title - she is a public servant in spirit, heart and deeds. Her colleagues describe her as one who fights for communities, families and Louisiana with tireless compassion.
The senator nurtured her early interest in community service by attending Southern University and A & M College in Baton Rouge, earning a bachelor's degree in political science.
As a state legislator, Bajoie has led the way to create school-based health clinics, form the Minority Health Care Commission and increase health care coverage for citizens with mental health disorders.
Bajoie has also insisted that the legislature and state properly recognize the contributions of African Americans to New Orleans, Louisiana and the nation. Her efforts resulted in the creation of the Louisiana State Museum on Civil Rights and the expansion and renaming of the New Orleans Convention Center in honor of the city's first African-American mayor, Ernest N. Morial.
Currently, she is helping to develop plans to rebuild and renew Louisiana after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita - two of the worst natural disasters to ever befall the United States.
The senator is a founder and former chair of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus and the Louisiana Legislative Women's Caucus. She also serves as president of the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women, a national legislative women's organization which encourages and supports women in public and community service.
Bajoie, who is pursuing a master's degree in health administration and works as a political and marketing consultant, has words of wisdom for today's youth. "Be civic-minded and keep the community's needs at the center of everything you do."
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