Former Gov. Kathleen Blanco died last Sunday after a long battle with ocular cancer.

Blanco was the state’s first female governor, the first female chair of the state Public Service Commission, and the first woman elected to represent her hometown of Lafayette.

Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo said he was deeply saddened to hear of her death.

“She was truly a public servant,” Mayo said. “Blanco was a trailblazing pioneer for women elected officials in our state.  She was the first woman to be elected to the Public Service Commission, as Lieutenant Governor, and Governor for the State of Louisiana. 

During her time in public office, she came to Monroe multiple times to promote tourism and share her vision for the state.  We will never forget her time here visiting with evacuees following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  She was a deeply committed and compassionate leader who will be sorely missed.”

Mayo’s remarks echoed those of state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, chair of the state Democratic Party.

“Gov. Blanco was a trailblazer -  she destroyed glass ceilings, fiercely defended the most vulnerable, and was a true Louisianian at heart who loved her home,” Peterson said.

“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.

“Her strength and compassion inspired me, and I know countless Louisianians and women around the country feel the same. We lost a true champion for our state today, but her legacy and work lives on for generations.”

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Baton Rouge, also delivered his condolences to Blanco’s husband, “Coach,” and the Blanco children.

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