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Panelist Bio


Sen. Karen Carter Peterson
(D)- New Orleans

Senator Karen Carter Peterson represents New Orleans and parts of Jefferson Parish in the Louisiana State Senate. She is currently Chair of the Louisiana Women’s Caucus and Senate Select Committee on Women and Children. She also serves on the Senate Judiciary B, Insurance and Local and Municipal Committees. In 2012, she assumed the Chair position of the Louisiana Democratic Party, the first woman in Louisiana history to do so.

Over the 11 year of service, Sen. Peterson has been also recognized by many organizations and publications for her work, including being awarded the Legislator of the Year Award by the Alliance for Good Government in 2000 and 2004. Sen. Peterson has also been honored with the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and the Institute of Politics at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government's New Frontier Award and the Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowship in Public Service. In recent years, she is been recognized as one of New Orleans City Business Women of the Year. In 2011, the NewDEAL recognized Senator Peterson as an emerging pro-growth progressive leader. She was also presented with the Louisiana Association of Justice Public Service Award in 2011. She also serves as a commissioner on the Louisiana Bicentennial Commission.

During her time in the Louisiana House of Representatives, Sen. Peterson established herself as a powerful, worthy asset to the legislature, serving on the House Appropriations Committee, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, the House Governmental Affairs Committee, and most recently, she served as House Speaker Pro Tempore. During her service in the House, she was also the first woman to chair the House Insurance Committee.

Sen. Peterson is a 1991 graduate of Howard University School of Business, where she received a degree in International Business and Marketing, and of Tulane University Law School, where she was afforded the opportunity to attend both Boston College Law School and the University of Virginia's Law School as a visiting student.

Sen. Peterson has many present and past professional and civic activities on her resume. She has been a board member and volunteer for a wide variety of organizations. Beginning at the age of 18 through the year 2008, she served as a delegate to Democratic National Conventions. She and her husband Dana are members of Blessed Trinity Catholic Church and live in downtown New Orleans.

Current Topic


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

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

One national survey ranks Louisiana as 49th for academic achievement of public school students. Another national report ranks the state dead last. So, how well is the state’s public school system really performing? Where is there room for improvement? What will the new federal “Every Student Succeeds Act” mean for education in Louisiana? And how have the historic summer floods changed things? Louisiana Public Square explores these issues and more on “Pass or Fail? Louisiana’s Education System” Wednesday, September 28 at 7 p.m. on LPB HD and in New Orleans on WLAE.

The panelists are
• Superintendent Michael Faulk, Central Community School System
• James D. Garvey, Jr. , BESE Board President
• Scott Richard, Executive Director, Louisiana School Boards Association
• Rep. Patricia Haynes Smith, D- Baton Rouge; House Education Committee

LPB CEO Beth Courtney and LSU Manship School of Mass Communication professor Robert Mann host the show. The program features interviews with Louisiana Education State Superintendent John White; Debbie Meaux, President of the Louisiana Association of Educators; Brigitte Nieland with the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and Caddo Parish School Superintendent Dr. Theodis Lamar Goree.

“Pass or Fail? Louisiana’s Education System” can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.

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Special Presentation


05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!


10/16 - Election 2016

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

Recent Topics


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?


05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

»»» View all Topics!
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