Jay Dardenne to Serve as Keynote Speaker at Louisiana Redistricting Summit on Jan. 19

BATON ROUGE – Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne will keynote for the Louisiana Redistricting Summit at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication. The summit will feature dialogue from top Louisiana leaders on redistricting in Louisiana, an issue which shapes future elections and influences who represents Louisiana’s citizens locally, in Louisiana’s state legislature, and in Congress. The summit will feature nationally-renowned redistricting thought leaders, university students from around the state, and a bipartisan group of Louisiana legislators.

Public affairs expert Marie DesOrmeaux Centanni of Lafayette will serve as emcee for the event, which is slated for Jan. 19. The summit will take place in the Holliday Forum within the Journalism building.

The Louisiana Redistricting summit is sponsored by the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication in collaboration with Fair Districts Louisiana.

“Voters across the country are keenly aware of the impact redistricting can have on every level of government,” said Centanni. “I’m looking forward to being part of the summit as this important conversation continues here in Louisiana, and I’m already very encouraged by the bipartisan slate of leaders participating.”

Redistricting expert Michael Li from the Brennan Center for Justice, based in New York, will also participate in a panel deliberating recent and pending Supreme Court decisions on redistricting. Midday student-led discussions over lunch will feature campus leaders from LSU, Southeastern, Grambling, Northwestern State and Tulane. Robert Travis Scott, president of the Public Affairs Research Council, will present key research and analysis on the effects of Louisiana redistricting in 2011.

“We cannot wait until the next census to begin the serious discussion about Louisiana’s redistricting process and how it affects citizens across this state,” Scott said. “It’s very encouraging to see the strong interest among legislators and others in pursuing this dialog at the summit and beyond.” 

In Louisiana, legislative districts are drawn by the state legislature. Following the 2010 United States Census, Louisiana was apportioned six congressional seats. Currently, Louisiana has 105 districts represented in the House of Representatives and 39 districts represented in Louisiana’s State Senate, but these congressional, House and Senate districts could change if new legislative boundaries are drawn.

“We have an opportunity as a state to explore and define the parameters that will largely set the tone for Louisiana politics and governance for the next decade,” said Matt Bailey, founder of Fair Districts Louisiana and one of the conference organizers. “Fortunately, there are visionary leaders in the state legislature to help guide this discussion who have already shown a willingness to work in a bipartisan fashion on this very complex issue. I am encouraged by the enthusiasm we’ve seen and excited to see what the summit brings.”

“How the state of Louisiana determines voting districts is central to how citizens think about democratic representation and participation,” said Jenee Slocum, Reilly Center director. “Facilitating a discussion of the key issues underlying redistricting reflects a main tenet of our mission, which is to advance good government initiatives.”

See the full agenda for the Louisiana Redistricting Summit here.

The Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs aims to generate thoughtful programs, dialogue and research about mass communication and its many faceted relationships with social, economic and political issues. Evident in everything the center does is its commitment to strengthen and advance the Manship School’s national leadership in media and politics.

Fair Districts Louisiana is a grassroots, bipartisan alliance of organizations and citizens who support redistricting reform. Fair Districts Louisiana is motivated by the belief that ensuring fair and competitive elections is a desire shared by all citizens who value a vibrant democracy, and is not the domain of a particular ideology or party.



Contact Stephanie Malin  
Manship School of Mass Communication


Ernie Ballard
LSU Media Relations