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Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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Panelist Bio


Rodney Alexander
Congressman (R), District 5

A family man from Quitman, La., U.S. Rep. Alexander was first elected to Congress in 2002. Born in North Louisiana on December 5, 1946, Rodney attended Jonesboro-Hodge High School and Louisiana Tech University. He also served in the United States Air Force Reserves.

Cong. Alexander and his wife, Nancy, celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary on October 19, 2007. They have three children – Ginger, Rod and Lisa – and six grandchildren – Zack, Jordon, Jorgia, Jaina, Jackson and John Brooks.

At age 25, he began his career in public service when he was elected to the Jackson Parish Police Jury. He then went on to serve as a Louisiana State Representative for 15 years, where he was the chairman of the House Health and Welfare Committee.

Extending from Iberville Parish in South Central Louisiana all the way north to the Arkansas border, the 5th District of Louisiana includes portions of 22 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes.

As a firm supporter of 2nd Amendment rights and pro-life issues, Cong. Alexander serves as a conservative voice in Washington. He is committed to helping his colleagues on both sides of the aisle find a bipartisan consensus on critical issues ranging from health care to tax reform.

During his second term, Cong. Alexander was appointed to the House Appropriations Committee, an assignment that allows him to influence issues of great concern to the people of the 5th District and the State of Louisiana. As a member of this committee, he has worked to deliver federal dollars to meet critical transportation needs as well as directly address the local agricultural industry.

At the start of the 110th Congress, Cong. Alexander retained his seat on this important committee and assigned to serve on the Agriculture Subcommittee and the Financial Services Subcommittee. He was also appointed to serve on the House Committee on the Budget.

Cong. Alexander is a member of several Congressional Caucuses including the Immigration Reform Caucus, Congressional Pro-life Caucus, Congressional Diabetes Caucus, House Dietary Supplement Caucus, and Congressional Arts Caucus, the House Nursing Caucus, and the Congressional Life Insurance Caucus.

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?

Recent Topics


     07/18 - Preventing Suicide

How is Louisiana addressing its suicide problem?

     06/18 - Louisiana: Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?  (ENCORE)

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     05/18 - News About the News

How can viewers distinguish between fact and fake news and is social media blurring the difference?

     04/18 - Balancing Eldercare

How much does Louisiana spend on nursing homes versus home and community-based care?
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