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Wednesday, April 25, 2018
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Louisiana Public Square
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Panelist Bio


Sen. Neil Riser
R-Columbia

In 2005, Neil Riser decided to become a citizen candidate for Louisiana Senate in what many considered a “long-shot” bid. He worked hard for 25 months and ultimately won the 2007 election.

He has since worked closely with constituents of all political parties to fairly represent everyone in District 32. He has an open door policy and fights to protect children and the poor and elderly–those who may have a difficult time protecting themselves. He has fought hard to keep taxes low and to reform and improve education, key promises he made in his first election.

Senator Riser represents the people of District 32 as a member of the Louisiana Senate. The district stretches from Monroe to Alexandria to the Greater Baton Rouge area, encompassing much of central and northeastern Louisiana and a small part of the Florida parishes.

Senator Riser is an independent voice and has been unafraid to challenge the status quo and stand up to the political establishment. He has stood firm for his principles while reaching across the aisle to work with people from both major parties.

Senator Riser has served on the State Bond Commission and served four years as chairman of the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee. He is currently the chairman of the Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee.

This session, he is the sponsor of SB406 which would allow certain teachers and parents who are active duty or retired police officers, veterans, active duty military personnel, or reservists who are concealed weapons permitees to enter into agreements with principals to secure their schools.

In 2012, Sen. Riser was the sponsor of SB303 to strengthen Louisiana gun rights through the “Strict Scrutiny” state constitutional amendment. Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action is quoted as saying “No other state has passed a right to keep and bear arms constitutional amendment as strong as Louisiana’s.”

Hartwell Neil Riser, Jr. was born in 1962 in Columbia, Louisiana to Hartwell Riser, Sr. (1934–1985), and the former Lillian Gore, now Mrs. Lillian R. Gentry of Monroe, wife of Herschel Gentry, Jr.

Neil began logging at age 14 and worked in the timber industry until age 23, taking breaks to attend school. He graduated from Caldwell High School in 1980. Louisiana’s former Governor, John McKeithen, and former Secretary of State, Fox McKeithen, were also from Columbia and
were family friends.

Neil earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management in 1984 from Northeast Louisiana University (now the University of Louisiana at Monroe).

He is president and owner of Riser Funeral Home. The Riser family has operated the business since 1934. He also serves as a board member of Caldwell Bank and Trust. He is a past president of Pelican State Life Insurance Company.

Neil is married to the former Vicki Smith, the daughter of Glenn and Carolyn Smith of the Fort Necessity community in Franklin Parish. She taught at River Oaks School in Monroe. Neil and Vicki have two daughters, Emilie and Allison.


Current Topic


     04/18 - Balancing Eldercare

How much does Louisiana spend on nursing homes versus home and community-based care?
Nationally, there is a shift towards providing care for the elderly at home and through community-based services rather than at institutions. But analysts say that Louisiana has a bias towards nursing home enrollment both in policies and funding. A series of bills being proposed this legislative session would address what some consider an imbalance in how the state supports care for its aged population.

So, how much does Louisiana spend on nursing homes versus home and community-based care? Is the demand for institutional care rising or on the decline? And what options are available to provide the funding and the care that the state’s older residents desire? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers to these questions and more on “Balancing Eldercare” Wednesday, April 25 at 7 pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recording Tuesday, April 24.)

Our panelists are
· Jeanne Abadie, The Advocacy Center
· Mark Berger, Louisiana Nursing Home Association
· Hugh Eley, Former Deputy Sec. of Louisiana Dept. of Health
· Senator Jay Luneau, D-Alexandria

LPB CEO, Beth Courtney and Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana president, Robert Travis Scott, moderate the discussion.
Learn More!
(7) Comments

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