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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

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?

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!

07/16 - Regular & Extraordinary: Legislative Review

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

Recent Topics

05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

04/16 - Opiates & the Bayou State

How is Louisiana tackling this serious addiction epidemic?

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

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

02/16 - Effects of Expansion: Medicaid in Louisiana

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

»»» View all Topics!
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