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Sunday, August 19, 2018
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Louisiana Public Square
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Panelist Bio


Rep. Valarie Hodges
(R)- Denham Springs

Representative Valarie Hodges has a proven track record of leadership, professional experience and civic involvement. She is a passionate leader and before being elected this past October was the past President of the Livingston Parish Republican Women's Club, which she helped restart five years ago. Representative Hodges has been a relentless volunteer in many Republican campaigns to elect conservative leaders to public office.

Rep. Hodges attended Central High School and Jr. High where she met and married her childhood sweetheart, Leland Hodges. They were married 39 yrs. ago and together have 3 children and 4 grandchildren. She and her husband, Leland own and operate two successful small businesses and are committed to improving the business climate in Louisiana.

Rep. Hodges has been very involved with CASA and with WOW (Women Outreaching Women) and spearheaded many community events. She and her husband were missionaries for 18 years and lived in extremely harsh conditions. She knows what it's like to roll up her sleeves and work side by side with people on a tight budget and very limited resources.

While campaigning, a constituent who works with the Sheriff's Office shared about the problem with internet predators and children and how wide spread it is. One of the bills she has introduced is HB236 involving educating our children about internet safety. It has passed in the House Education committee, House floor and Senate Education committee. It is pending passage today, Wed. 5/23 on the Senate floor.

Representative Hodges is a strong voice and leader who is working "For the People and With the People."

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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