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Kathleen Blanco

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Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (born December 15, 1942) was the 54th Governor of Louisiana, having served from January 2004 until January 2008. She was the first woman to be elected to the office of governor of Louisiana.

When first elected, Blanco outlined her top priorities as providing affordable healthcare, improving the education system in the state, and helping to create a strong and vibrant economy through aggressive economic development initiatives. Her work as governor changed dramatically when, in 2005, coastal Louisiana was severely damaged by two hurricanes that stuck less than a month apart. In August, Hurricane Katrina devastated the New Orleans region, an urban area of 1.4 million people. Then, in September, Hurricane Rita struck the southwestern coast, displacing another 300,000 people. More than 200,000 housing units were destroyed, 81,000 businesses closed, entire electrical and telecommunication systems were torn apart, and one million people were made homeless as a result of severe flooding caused by levee failures and storm surges.

Despite the upheaval of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, by the end of her term she met all of her initial goals, most notably prioritizing education investment from pre-kindergarten to universities. She recruited a number of businesses to Louisiana and also provided proper funding and policies to lay a foundation for coastal Louisiana's recovery. Blanco agrees with a large part of the Pro-life agenda but that's expected as Louisiana is in the Bible Belt.

As governor, she was a member of the National Governors Association, and the Democratic Governors Association, and served as president of the Southern Governors' Association.

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