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Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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Panelist Bio


Sen. Ben W. Nevers, Sr. (D)
Chair of the Senate Education Committee

Ben W. Nevers was first elected to the State Senate in 2004, after serving a term in the House of Representatives. He is currently serving his second term, representing Senate District 12. Senator Nevers began his public service on the Bogalusa School Board, serving from 1987-1994.

He is a graduate of Bogalusa High School and the Louisiana Technical College, Sullivan Campus. Senator Nevers also served his country in the Army from 1965 – 1971.

Senator Nevers focuses most of his efforts in five major policy areas: Education, Agriculture, Economic Development, Health Care, and Infrastructure. He serves as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education and is also a member of the Senate Agriculture, Health & Welfare, and Retirement committees. He serves on a number of other related committees and commission including the Senate Select Committee on Vocational and Technical Education, the Blue Ribbon Commission for Educational Excellence, the Louisiana High School Redesign Commission, the Joint Legislative Committee on Capital Outlay, and the Legislative Audit Advisory Council.


Senator Nevers has received numerous awards for his public service including the New Orleans Regional Chamber of Commerce and Metro Vision 2002 Business Champion Award and the 2003 Economic Development Champion Award, the Louisiana Federation of Teachers 2004 Senator of the Year, the Louisiana School Boards Association Legislator of the Year Award for 2010, and has been the recipient of multiple Louisiana Association of Educators Appreciation Awards.


Senator Nevers is married to Ann Williams Nevers. They have three children and six grandchildren. He is the President and CEO of NECO, L.L.C. (Nevers Electrical Contracting), established in 1980.

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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