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McCleod Lecture Series on Louisiana Politics

McCleod Lecture Series on Louisiana Politics

"Grassroots Politics and Louisiana's Military" is the subject for the 11th annual McLeod Lecture Series on Louisiana Politics to be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 24, in the Shearman Fine Arts Performing Arts Theatre at McNeese State University. The McLeod Lecture Series continues to bring timely, as well as the historical, aspects of Louisiana politics to Southwest Louisiana as well as throughout the state.
           
This free event - featuring Louisiana House Speaker Charles E. "Chuck" Kleckley of Lake Charles, Michael D. Reese, CEO of American Moving and Storage Inc., which specializes in U.S. Department of Defense logistics, Murray Viser, president of Barksdale Forward, a community advocacy group for Shreveport and Bossier City that supports Barksdale Air Force Base and Global Strike Command, and Col. Lee Walters, chief of staff of the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk - is part of McNeese's 2014 Banners Cultural Season.
              
The Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) closed more than 350 installations in five BRAC rounds - 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995 - and the most recent round of BRAC was completed and entered into law in November 2005, according to Patricia Prudhomme, director of Banners. "Enter groups such as Fort Polk Progress and Barksdale Forward. The emergence of these community advocacy groups changed the political landscape of Louisiana and the future of our military installations," Prudhomme said.
           
"The panel's discussion will cover the beginning of these advocacy groups and their goals for the communities and bases they represent," she added. "They will review the results of the work of the advocacy efforts for the communities and their place in the legislative process. The panel will also examine the future for these groups."

Kleckley is the 67th Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives and the first speaker from Calcasieu Parish in over 80 years. He is the second Republican to hold this position since Reconstruction. He became a member of the House in 2005 after serving as a Calcasieu Parish Police Juror for five years. During the last legislative term, Kleckley served as chairman of the House Insurance Committee and was a member of the House Executive and Audit Advisory committees. A member of the Louisiana Republican Legislative Delegation, Acadiana Delegation and the Louisiana Rural Caucus, he also serves on the board of the Louisiana Workers Compensation Corp. and the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. During his tenure, Kleckley has worked to improve Louisiana's insurance and business climate and has also focused his attention on the plight of Louisiana's coast and related conservation issues.

In addition to his company, Reese is also a partner in numerous other businesses including commercial air charter, real estate development and commercial and residential rental properties. In 2006 he was one of the founders of Fort Polk Progress and became chairman. Reese is a member of several civic organizations as well the Association of Defense Communities, Association of the U.S. Army and the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, and he is a charter member of the Louisiana Military Affairs Council.
           
Viser's community advocacy group, Barksdale Forward, works to promote Barksdale Air Force Base by educating the public about the base's social, cultural and economic benefits. It also works within the framework of the Department of Defense as an educational entity describing the benefits to be obtained by continuing and building on the historical relationship between Barksdale and the Shreveport-Bossier communities.    
           
Col. Walters has served in numerous command and staff positions in motorized, light, airborne, air assault and ranger units including command of C Company, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, A Company (Command), 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment (British Army) and most recently the 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry Squadron. He deployed his Parachute Company and Cavalry Squadron on two separate tours during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and 2005 respectively.

The annual McLeod Lecture Series honors the late Bill McLeod, a prominent retired district judge and former state legislator. McLeod, who died in 2003, practiced law in Lake Charles for 33 years until he was elected to a six-year term as district judge in 1990. He reentered the private practice of law upon his retirement from the bench in 1997. A distinguished public servant, McLeod also served 23 years in the Louisiana Legislature. All research materials, records and artifacts pertaining to the series become a part of the McNeese Library Archives.
           
The 2014 William L. McLeod Scholar is Alex Reinauer, a senior political science major from Lake Charles. Reinauer is Speaker of the Student Government Association's Student Senate, president of the McNeese Speech and Debate team and a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society. 
           
The 2014 McLeod Endowed Professorship recipient is Dr. Thomas Laehn, assistant professor of political science. Laehn received his bachelor's degree in political science and philosophy at Drake University in Des Moines and his master's degree and doctorate in political science at Louisiana State University. He teaches courses in political theory, American constitutional law and American political institutions.
           
For more information, call the Banners office at 475-5123 or visit the website at www.banners.org. Persons needing accommodations as provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act should contact the ADA Coordinator at (337) 475-5428 voice; (337) 475-5960 fax; (337) 562-4227 TDD/TTY, hearing impaired; or by email at cdo@mcneese.edu.