This item originally appeared in the Jan. 22, 2004, issue of The Tech Talk.
By JULIE MILLER
Democrat Kathleen Blanco, the state's former lieutenant governor, was sworn in Jan. 12 in Baton Rouge as Louisiana's first female governor.
During her victory speech after winning the run-off election Nov. 15 against Republican candidate Bobby Jindal, Blanco vowed to change the state, saying, "We are going to do this by working together. We are going to usher in a new Louisiana."
Many students voiced their enthusiasm about Blanco's upcoming term at the College Democrats' meeting, held three days after the inauguration. Members discussed their excitement about the changes they foresaw.
"I jumped up and down when I saw she won," Andrea Devall, vice president of the College Democrats and a senior political science major, said.
"We campaigned for her by going around the Ruston area, hanging signs and talking with people. A lot of people weren't going to vote because they didn't know the platforms."
Devall said Blanco is expected to put more funding into higher education, which will in turn play a role with economics.
"Investments in education will pay off because [they] will improve the economy," Devall said.
"Blanco is also trying to bring a huge corporation to the state to create more jobs. This will mean more money as far as state taxes are concerned. Her programs make sense."
Holly Talley, president of the College Republicans and a sophomore business administration major, campaigned for Jindal but was excited about the race because of what the gender and heritage of the candidates meant for Louisiana.
"It says a lot for our state when an Indian male and a woman run for governor," Talley said. "I think it shows that we are ready to move forward. I think Blanco can bring a lot of things to the table. She may not be the best, but we'll see what the future holds."
The election received attention across the world, including coverage in the United Kingdom's media because of the candidates' backgrounds.
"I think it opened the door for minorities," Ronnie Merideth, a senior marketing major, said.
Dr. Jason Pigg, adviser for the College Democrats and a professor and assistant professor of social sciences, said, "I think it's a good sign for future generations. We have so few women in the national government that this will open doors for them."
Devall foresees a major change in national attention towards the state because of Blanco's new leadership.
"There's a saying we have in political science that says, 'Thank God for Mississippi,' because Louisiana is second to last after it," Devall said. "Now, there might be more states below us, because I think we're going to move up."