‘A trailblazer’: Louisiana reacts to former Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s death

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BATON ROUGE, La. (LOCAL 33) (FOX 44) — Figureheads across Louisiana are sharing their memories of former Gov. Kathleen Blanco.

Blanco, a Democrat who held the state’s highest elected role from 2004 to 2008, died Sunday afternoon following a long battle with ocular melanoma. She was 76 years old.

Here is how government leaders are reacting to Blanco’s death:

GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS:

“Serving as this state’s first female governor, Kathleen was a trailblazer and broke many barriers, leading the way for others to follow.  She stands among the giants who have helped shaped Louisiana’s history. Kathleen loved this state and our people and was a shining example of what can be accomplished by hard work and determination.         

She led Louisiana through one of our darkest hours, when hurricanes and the failure of the federal levee system devastated much of our state. I hope history will remember Governor Blanco as a tireless advocate for Louisiana, who fought fiercely for our state to rebuild following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. 

Louisianans owe a debt of gratitude to Governor Blanco, who always put the people of our state first, fighting to improve the quality of life for our families and children, championing better educational opportunities for all students at every level and building a stronger Louisiana.”

LIEUTENANT GOV. BILLY NUNGESSER:

“Today, our community, our state, and our nation mourns the loss of one of its greatest champions for the great state of Louisiana. She held the role of Legislator, Public Service Commissioner, Lieutenant Governor, Governor, but the title she cherished most was that of Wife, Mother, Grandmother and friend.

Through working closely with her as we rebuilt Plaquemines Parish to witnessing firsthand her love for Louisiana and its people, Louisiana is and will always be, a better place because of Governor Blanco’s leadership and determination.”

FORMER GOV. BOBBY JINDAL:

“Kathleen loved Louisiana and served the state for decades. She faced every struggle, including her last, with good cheer and a strong will. She will be missed.”

U.S. SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

U.S. SEN. BILL CASSIDY:

U.S. REP. CEDRIC RICHMOND:

“As Louisiana’s first woman to serve as governor coupled with her time spent in the Louisiana State House, Governor Blanco was a trailblazer whose work and dedication to the state of Louisiana remains unquestionable. Her legacy of leadership during the plight of Hurricane Katrina will be marked by her championship of all Louisianans.

It has been an honor to work with Governor Blanco during my career, and I am grateful for her service. I send my sincere condolences, prayers, and strength to the Blanco family during this difficult time. May her soul rest in peace.”

U.S. REP. STEVE SCALISE:

“I am saddened to hear of Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s passing. She served our state with honor and integrity during an incredibly challenging period as Louisiana recovered from both hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Kathleen dedicated her entire life to public service and will be remembered as someone who cared deeply for Louisiana, her people, and our culture.”

LOUISIANA SECRETARY OF STATE KYLE ARDOIN:

LOUISIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFF LANDRY:

BATON ROUGE MAYOR SHARON WESTON BROOME:

“Governor Kathleen Blanco was a true pioneer whose loss is felt across the state. She was a friend and ally during our time together in state government. Governor Blanco led with courage, fought for our future and put people over politics.”

NEW ORLEANS MAYOR LATOYA CANTRELL:

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Gov. Kathleen Blanco, a woman whose leadership was an inspiration and a strength for the people of New Orleans and for all of Louisiana. Knowing this day was imminent does not make the loss any easier to bear. As the first female governor of Louisiana, she accomplished more in one term than most men did in two. We are grateful for her service and thankful for her leadership. Our love and our prayers go out to her family and to her loved ones. The City of New Orleans will always hold her in our hearts and in our memories.”

LOUISIANA DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIR KAREN CARTER PETERSON:

“Gov. Blanco was a trailblazer — she destroyed glass ceilings, fiercely defended the most vulnerable, and was a true Louisianan at heart who loved her home. The policies she fought for and the way she treated those around her reflected her values, morals and love for Louisiana in every way. Whether it was rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina or fighting to invest in our children’s education, she showed unwavering resolve in the face of our state’s biggest struggles.”

LSU PRESIDENT F. KING ALEXANDER:

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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