Grassroots Politics and Louisiana’s Military is the subject for the 2014 presentation. The Base Realignment and Closure Commission (or BRAC) closed more than 350 installations in five BRAC rounds: 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995 and the most recent round of BRAC completed and entered into law in November 2005. Enter groups such as Fort Polk Progress and Barksdale Forward. The emergence of these community advocacy groups changed the political landscape of Louisiana and the future of our military installations.
Our discussion will cover the beginning of these advocacy groups and their goals for the communities and bases they represent.
We will review the results of the work of the advocacy efforts for the communities and their place in the legislative process.
Lastly, we will examine the future for the groups - does the future of the installations require these groups, do the communities that house the installations need these groups.
The 2014 William L. McLeod Scholar is Alex Reinauer, a senior political science major from Lake Charles, Louisiana. Alex is a four-year competitor on the McNeese Speech and Debate Team, and he is currently serving his second term as team president. He also holds the position of Speaker of the Student Senate for the McNeese Student Government Association and is a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society.
The 2014 McLeod Endowed Professorship at McNeese is Dr. Thomas Laehn, assistant professor of Political Science. Laehn received his bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy at Drake University in Des Moines and his master’s degree and doctorate in political science at Louisiana State University. He teaches courses in political theory, American constitutional law and American political institutions.
Michael D. Reese, Chairman of Fort Polk Progress
Murray Viser, President of Barksdale Forward
Beth Courtney, President and CEO Louisiana Public Broadcasting
Speaker Charles E. “Chuck” Kleckley is the 67th Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives and the first speaker from Calcasieu Parish.
Colonel Lee Walters, Chief of Staff of the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk