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Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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Louisiana Public Square
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Panelist Bio


Foster Campbell
Public Service Commissioner

Foster Campbell is an elected official, businessman and farmer from Bossier Parish. He was elected to the North Louisiana seat on the Public Service Commission (PSC) in November 2002, representing 24 parishes and nearly one million people. He was re-elected in October 2008 with 78 percent of the vote.

Before his election to the PSC, Campbell was a state senator representing District 36 in Northwest Louisiana for 27 years. For much of that time he advocated a modernization of how Louisiana taxes oil and gas. The state constitution limits oil and gas taxes to a severance tax that dates to 1921 and only addresses oil and gas produced in Louisiana. That means the vast sums of oil and gas imported into Louisiana for processing are totally untaxed.

Campbell’s “processing” tax on oil and gas would take in all the oil and gas processed in the state, whether it was produced here or offshore or in foreign countries. Campbell’s tax, which was a centerpiece of his own campaign for Governor in 2007, would generate billions of dollars for coastal restoration and other state needs. The oil industry, as you might expect, hates the entire idea, just like they hate the lawsuits. Campbell feels that there is no more powerful lobby in Louisiana than the oil industry, which is why such concepts as a processing tax and a lawsuit tying oil companies to coastal erosion are revolutionary.

At the PSC Campbell has pushed to make utility companies and the commission more responsive to the public. He led efforts to prohibit wining and dining of commissioners and Commission staff by utilities. He hosts public and Commission meetings in his district each year. He has championed lower rates, energy efficiency and the use of renewable power. He passed measures to help victims of family violence by waiving their utility deposits, stop disconnection of utilities during extreme weather, and lower telephone rates charged to families of inmates.

Campbell holds a degree in business and economics from Northwestern State University at Natchitoches. He owns and operates two insurance agencies in Bossier City. He lives and raises cattle at Elm Grove in south Bossier Parish.

Current Topic


     08/18 - The Power of Reading

How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?
The ability to read sets the foundation of who we are and what we can be. Through reading we expand our world, learn new things and increase our base of knowledge. In fact, a parent’s reading level is the greatest factor in a child’s academic success. Children who can’t read proficiently by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

In Louisiana, 20 percent of adults are illiterate – five points higher than the national rate. How is Louisiana combatting its illiteracy problem across generational lines? How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?

Louisiana Public Square: The Power of Reading looks for answers and explores the value of lifelong reading through the lens of the PBS series The Great American Read Wednesday, August 22 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recorded Tuesday, August 14 in the Magnolia Performing Arts Pavilion at Baton Rouge Community College.)

Our panelists are:
- Linda-Marie Barrett, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA)
- Rebecca Hamilton, MLIS; Louisiana State Librarian
- Danny Heitman; Journalist and Louisiana author
- Miranda Restovic, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH).
- Gary Robertson; Adult Literacy Advocates

The program features interviews with John Cavalier, owner of Cavalier House Books; Gary Robertson, Executive Director of Adult Literacy Advocates; representatives from the LEH PRIME TIME intergenerational reading program, and Superintendent John White with the Louisiana Department of Education.

LPB CEO Beth Courtney and Robyn Merrick, Southern University VP of External Affairs, host the show.

Louisiana Public Square 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.

This episode of Louisiana Public Square is underwritten by Community Coffee’s Cash for Schools Program, the Louisiana Forestry Association, LSU Press and the Southern Independent Booksellers’ Authors Round the South.

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Special Presentation


     05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!


     09/18 - Revisiting Reform

Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended?

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How is Louisiana addressing its suicide problem?

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