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NEW ORLEANS – In a tight race that hinged on putting a Democrat back at the helm after eight years of Republican leadership, Lt. Gov. Kathleen Blanco was recently elected the state’s new governor. Blanco, who has served on the board at La Capitol Federal Credit Union in Baton Rouge for three years, defeated Bobby Jindal, a Republican, in a Nov. 15 runoff. With 99% of precincts counted, Blanco had 52% of the vote to Jindal’s 48%. We’re delighted, just thrilled,” said Susan Leake, president/CEO of La Capitol FCU. “To have someone in office who knows credit union functions, it’s such a great thing.” Leake said a few weeks ago, Gov. Blanco gave her “all indications that she will continue to serve on the (credit union’s) board.” La Capitol will have their planning retreat the first week in December and while Blanco is scheduled to attend, Leake said “everyone will understand if she’s not able to make it” due to her soon-to-be hectic schedule. Even with her strenuous schedule as lieutenant governor, Blanco made a huge effort to attend board meetings and retreats either in person or through audio and teleconferences, Leake added. Officials from the Louisiana Credit Union League are hoping to meet with Blanco in the upcoming weeks after “she’s settled in,” said Connie Major, Louisiana Credit Union League vice president government affairs and public relations. “We’re very proud of her win,” Major said. “We’re proud to have a governor who has an understanding of credit unions. Everyone is excited about wanting to move forward with the new governor.” Blanco’s office is in the process of putting together her transition team, which is expected to be in place the week of Nov. 24, said Ed Pratt, Blanco’s press secretary. She will be meeting with a number of organizations including credit unions in the near future as she gets on task with the state’s most pressing issues, he added. A 20-year veteran of public service, Blanco served as a legislator for the Louisiana State House of Representatives (District 45, Lafayette) from 1984 to 1988, as a Public Service Commissioner from 1989 to 1995 and was elected lieutenant governor in 1995 and again in 1999. Her three-point economic development plan for Louisiana as governor includes phasing out the corporate franchise tax on debt and sales taxes on manufacturing machinery and equipment. Much of her plan is tagged to Louisiana being the only Southern state that saw more people leaving in the 1990s for better opportunities. “Any taxes that send companies to other states must be abolished,” she said in her plan to keep existing industry from leaving Louisiana. Blanco has also proposed to coordinate even stronger delivery channels to develop the state’s most rural communities. Many of these programs already exist throughout a variety of state departments, Blanco acknowledge. “What is missing is cooperation and collaboration among agencies that work together executing a comprehensive strategy developed with help from local communities,” she said. Blanco also plans to boost the state’s economy through the establishment of the Louisiana Council on Science & Technology (LCST), represented by government, academics, financial institutions, industries, businesses, non-profit groups and employees. The I-49 Completion Task Force will oversee the logistics behind linking North and South travel from Kansas City to New Orleans and intersecting with all East and West interstates. Blanco said the completion of I-49 will also open the Midwest and Canada to interstate traffic through Louisiana to the Port of New Orleans. Internationally, she is hoping to make trade from Latin America more accessible, which is expected to triple in revenue for the state by 2020. [email protected]

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