Starns, Dawn | Louisiana Public Broadcasting
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Dawn Starns

State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business

Dawn Starns has served as State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) since 2014. There she leads the lobbying, grassroots outreach and political activity efforts on behalf of their 4000 small business owner members across Louisiana who represent every industry sector of the economy. Dawn is THE VOICE for small business at the Louisiana State Capitol and strives to ensure the impact of public policy on small business is understood by lawmakers. Additionally, Dawn leads the NFIB Louisiana PAC activities to ensure pro-small business candidates are elected each cycle. Starns is a tireless advocate for all the small business owners who do not have the time or knowledge of the political process to go to the capitol and tell their story. She has elevated NFIB’s presence in Louisiana to ensure small business has a seat at the table.

Prior to joining NFIB, Dawn served as Executive Director of the Capital Region Legislative Delegation (CRLD) since its inception in 2008. The delegation was established to serve as a central voice at the State Capitol for the region. While each parish and district has its own priorities, Dawn lead the efforts of the CRLD to work as a coalition to elevate and advance the priorities that impact the region such as transportation infrastructure, education, healthcare and economic development. While managing the delegation, Dawn had additional clients she worked with during that time including candidates running for judicial office, companies contracting with the executive branch and managing the activities of the Legislator’s Charity Fund.

Starns also worked as the Strategic Initiatives Manager for Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers where she wore many hats serving as a resource to the Cane’s Leadership Team. She managed relationships local and national trade associations that were relevant to Cane’s including the National Restaurant Association and the National Chicken Council. Prior to Cane’s, Dawn led the creation of a state angel investor network, the Louisiana Angel Network, which was focused on promoting a pro-start up environment in Louisiana. She managed the association and passed legislation to provide a tax credit for early stage investments.

In 2001, Starns was appointed to Governor Mike Foster’s administration to serve as Special Assistant to Commissioner of Administration Mark C. Drennen. From 2001 to the end of the administration in 2004, Ms. Starns was responsible for leading the legislative efforts of the DOA and working in conjunction with the Governor’s Legislative Team. She was also responsible for various components of the implementation of the Capitol Park Master Plan including the relocation of over 4000 state employees into the Capitol Park Campus. Prior to her Foster appointment, State Treasurer John N. Kennedy tapped Starns to serve as his Marketing Representative after having served as his Deputy Campaign Manager in the 1999 election where they garnered 56 percent of the vote to unseat the incumbent.

Ms. Starns received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Louisiana State University in 1999. While at LSU, she was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority as well as interned as a Legislative Aide in the Jefferson Parish Legislative Delegation Office at the State Capitol where she got her start in Louisiana politics.

Ms. Starns illustrates her dedication to the Baton Rouge community by supporting organizations like the Big Buddy Program where she was a “Star Dancer” for their annual Dancing for Big Buddy event in 2018 and the Companion Animal Alliance where she was a member of the Fur Ball Court in 2014 with her rescue dog, Lincoln. Starns, 44, is a native of Baton Rouge and attends St. Aloysius Parish Church.