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Sunday, August 20, 2017
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Panelist Bio


Robert Mann
Guest Moderator, Louisiana Public Square

A journalist and political historian, Robert Mann holds the Manship Chair at the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University. He is the author of critically acclaimed political histories of the U.S. civil rights movement, the Vietnam War and American wartime dissent. A recent book, Daisy Petals and Mushroom Clouds: LBJ, Barry Goldwater and the Ad that Changed American Politics, was named by the Washington Post as one of the best political books of 2011. He is also a columnist for the New Orleans Times-Picayune/NOLA.com.

Mann’s essays and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Politico, Smithsonian, and Salon. He is also the creator of the Louisiana political blog, "Something Like the Truth." Mann teaches courses in political communication. He is also editor of the Media & Public Affairs book series, published jointly by the Manship School and LSU Press.

Before joining the LSU faculty in 2006, Mann spent more than 20 years in the political arena, working for three United States senators and a Louisiana governor. He was communications director to Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, before serving 19 years as a U.S. Senate aide. He was state director to U.S. Senator John Breaux of Louisiana, and served as Breaux’s press secretary. He also served as press secretary to U.S. Senator Russell Long of Louisiana. He was also press secretary for the 1990 re-election campaign of U.S. Senator J. Bennett Johnston of Louisiana, the 1992 and 1998 Breaux re-election campaigns and the 2003 Blanco campaign.

In the early 1980s, Mann covered Louisiana politics as a reporter for the Shreveport Journal and the Monroe News-Star.

Current Topic


     08/17 - Studying TOPS

Is TOPS a worthwhile incentive or a middle-class tax break?
Louisiana’s TOPS program provides free in-state college tuition for qualifying students. Up until recently, TOPS has covered the full amount so as tuition rose, so did the award. The state’s cost of funding the program has nearly tripled over the last ten years.

Students entering their senior year of high school this fall will face new regulations. TOPS awards will no longer automatically rise as tuition increases. That means TOPS recipients and their families will pay for the difference unless the Legislature specifically votes to raise TOPS again.

A legislative task force will study how to sustain the program this fall. So, is TOPS a worthwhile incentive or a middle-class tax break? Should TOPS be based on financial need? Should GPA standards be raised for recipients? Should TOPS graduates be required to stay in the state or pay back the award? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers to these questions and more on “Studying TOPS” Wednesday, August 23 at 7 p.m. on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recording Tuesday, August 22)
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Special Presentation


     05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!


     09/17 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges face our returning veterans?

Recent Topics


     07/17 - Industrial Tax Matters

What has been the impact of the changes made to the tax exemption plan?

     06/17 - Black & the Blue (ENCORE)

What can be done to improve trust among the police and the public they serve?

     05/17 - Reforming Criminal Justice

Should alternatives to prison be used for criminals charged with non-violent offenses?

     04/17 - Coastal Restoration: The Next Wave

What new funding resources are available to the state?
»»» View all Topics!
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