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Panelist Bio


Melvin L. “Kip” Holden
Mayor-President of East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana

Melvin L. “Kip” Holden was sworn in as Mayor-President of East Baton Rouge Parish on January 1, 2005.

Among Mayor Holden’s priorities are the revitalization of Downtown Baton Rouge, creation of an arts and entertainment district and marketing Baton Rouge to the film and video industry. He has the City moving on riverfront development, redesigning a Town Square to provide more venues for arts and cultural activities. He launched a new Economic Development Initiative that includes a partnership with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, two Minority Business Opportunity Centers, a micro-loan program and a Bankers' Roundtable to assist small business development.

Recognized nationally for his leadership during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Mayor Holden managed a city-parish that became a place of refuge for over 200,000 evacuees from South Louisiana in less than one week.

In the aftermath of that storm, he passed the first bond program in over 40 years to relieve traffic congestion, breaking ground on the first projects in less than half the time as previous road projects.

Throughout his career, Mayor Holden has worked to improve education and continues to deliver volunteer programs and technology partnerships for East Baton Rouge Parish Public Schools, including the largest software donation in East Baton Rouge Parish history, a $307 million grant that provided 3-D imaging software for classes in math, science and the arts.

He earned a B.A. in Journalism from LSU, a Masters degree, Juris Doctorate and Honorary Degree of Doctor of Public Policy from Southern University.

Among his many awards and honors, Mayor Holden has been inducted in the LSU Alumni Hall of Distinction, the LSU Manship School of Mass Communications Hall of Fame, the Southern University Law Center Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Political Hall of Fame.

He is married to Lois Stevenson Holden and is the father of five children.

Current Topic


08/14 - Down the Road: Our Transportation Future

What should the state’s transportation priorities be?

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!


09/14 - Varsity, Inc.: The Business of College Sports

How big a business is college sports in Louisiana?

Recent Topics


07/14 - Defining “Dangerous”

How does Louisiana determine if someone is a danger to themselves or others?


06/14 - Pot or Not? The Decriminalization Debate (Encore Presentation)

Would a reduction in penalties encourage more usage and lead the state down a path to legalization?


05/14 - Job Market 2014

What does Louisiana’s employment market look like for job hunters in 2014?


04/14 - State Contracts 101

Will proposed legislation help rein in costs or create arbitrary caps that hinder agencies in delivering services?

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