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Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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Louisiana Public Square
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Panelist Bio


Sen. John L. "Jack" Donahue, Jr. P.E.
R-Mandeville; Senate Finance Committee

Senator Jack Donahue has been a resident of the Northshore for 44 years and is currently serving his 3rd term in the Louisiana State Senate. He serves on the following Senate Committees:
• Senate Finance
• Senate Judiciary A
• Senate and Governmental Affairs
• Local & Municipal Affairs, Vice Chair

Since being elected in 2008 Senator Donahue has received numerous honors and awards for his work in the Senate:
• Leadership St. Tammany Alumni of the Year
• John J. Hainkel Leadership Award by the Republican Delegation
• Man of the Year by the St. Tammany Republican Parish Executive Committee, (RPEC)
• Legislator of the Year by the Alliance for Good Government
• Guardian of Small Business in the Senate by the National Federation of Independent Business
• Person of the Year by the Associated Builders & Contractors Bayou Chapter
• Outstanding Family Advocate by the Louisiana Family Forum
• Business Champion by the Southwest Chamber of Commerce
• 2011 Republican of the Year by the Northshore Republican Clubs

Prior to serving in the Louisiana Senate, Senator Donahue served as Chairman of the Board for various organizations to include:
• Louisiana Association of Business & Industry (LABI)
• The Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission
• Business Council of St. Tammany Parish
• Associated Building & Contractors (New Orleans)
• Associate Building & Contractors (State of Louisiana)

In addition to these leadership positions he has also volunteered his time and expertise to several other non-profits and good government groups such as:
• Habitat of Humanity St. Tammany West
• PRIDE of St. Tammany
• Center for Development and Learning
• Public Affairs Research Council
• "Building on our Blessings" at Mary Queen of Peace.

Senator Donahue earned his B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1967 from Louisiana State University and
was honored with a LSU Leadership Award. In 1979 Jack opened his own construction company in
Mandeville with two employees and a $500 acoustical ceiling job. Today, Senator Donahue is
Chairman of DonahueFavret Contractors, Inc., a large commercial contractor in the state.

Senator Donahue has also received numerous honors during his professional career:
• LSU’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Hall of Distinction
• Community Leadership Award by the St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce
• Business of the Year by the St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce
• Business Person of the Year by the St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce
• Distinguished Leadership Award by the CCFA
• Member of the Year by the Associated Builders and Contractors
• Spirit of Emanuel Award by the First Emanuel Baptist Church

Senator Donahue has been husband to Maura Walsh Donahue for 28 years and is father to a blended
family of six children and eighteen grandchildren. He and Maura are Catholic and are members of
Mary Queen of Peace Church.

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)

Is Louisiana a Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?

     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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