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Panelist Bio


John Warner Smith
Secretary of Labor Louisiana Department of Labor

John Warner Smith has been appointed Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Labor.

His background features an array of high-profile positions of public trust, with noteworthy accomplishments in both the public and private sector.

In his most recent position, Smith served as vice president of Bank One where he was responsible for developing and managing banking relationships with public and non-profit clients such as universities, state agencies and local governments in four metropolitan markets.

He also served as Assistant City Manager of Development and Transportation Services for the City of Tallahassee, Fla. In this position he administered the development arm of the city, comprising the departments of growth management, planning, public works, economic development, aviation and transit.

Smith's previous positions include Chief Administrative Officer with Lafayette Parish Government/Lafayette Consolidated Government and Economic Development Manager for the City of Lafayette. He also served as Undersecretary of the Louisiana Department of Labor.

Smith received a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from McNeese State University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

His affiliations include: Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, Board of Trustees; Leadership Louisiana, Council for a Better Louisiana; and Leadership Lafayette, Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce.

Current Topic


02/16 - Effects of Expansion: Medicaid in Louisiana

How will the lives of those who now have access to health care change?

Special Presentation


12/15 - Election 2015: An Analysis

What strategies did each of the major candidates use during the Governor's race?

Special Presentation


Breaking Away:  A Louisiana Public Square Special Presentation

Would the breakaway City of St. George quash Baton Rouge’s school desegregation progress?

Coming Soon!


03/16 - Justice on Hold: Louisiana’s Public Defender Shortage

How serious of a problem is the shortage of public defenders in Louisiana?

Recent Topics


01/16 - Police POV: Body Cameras in Louisiana

What happens when police and the people they arrest have different versions of their encounters?


11/15 - Living Below the Line

What is living in poverty like?


10/15 - Funding the Future: Early Childhood Opportunities

How can improving early childhood programs improve the state’s educational outcomes, workforce, and economics?


09/15 - Agenda Louisiana

What issues will candidates face and where do they stand?

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