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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

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Representative Mandie Landry on life as legislator

Louisiana House Representative Mandie Landry spoke with students about financial and personal challenges of working as a legislator. (Alex Perlman)

Louisiana House Representative Mandie Landry visited Professor Karrie Gaspard-Hogewood’s Intro to Social Policy and Practice class on Oct. 17 for an open discussion about the career of a state representative and a life in politics.   

“Despite providing a representative voice from only one side of the political divide, my hope is that students, regardless of their personal political beliefs, were able to get a small peek into Louisiana state politics from an insider’s perspective,” Gaspard-Hogewood said. 

Landry was reelected on Oct. 14 to represent New Orleans District 91 in the Louisiana House of Representatives. As a Louisiana native, Landry said she is personally connected to her constituents and the district that she represents. When not in session in Baton Rouge, Landry practices law representing both criminal and civil clients in Washington D.C. and New Orleans. 

During the class, Gaspard-Hogewood asked her students to raise their hands if they were interested in running for office one day. Landry advised the interested students, “You have to be a person first” by developing real-world experiences and personal values to base a campaign and career off of. 

Landry reflected on her choice to pursue a career in politics. She made clear her goal of representing and fighting for women in the Louisiana state government — a body clearly lacking diversity given demographic factors affect one’s ability to devote the entirety of their time to this job.

Landry said one challenge of pursuing a career as a representative is financial barriers. She has to balance her career as a lawyer with her responsibilities as a public servant, which is not financially feasible for everyone. 

“The thing that people don’t understand is that we all have barriers to entry,” Landry said. “But that’s very real in our state government, that it’s set up in a way that only some can really do it.” 

In a class centered around the policy-making process, Gaspard-Hodgewood said the ability to speak to someone involved in that industry rather than just studying from afar through research can be extremely beneficial. She said that this experience was able to “provide advice to students who mentioned they, too, would like to run for office one day.” 

Landry “spoke to the importance of representation, barriers to entry for those seeking political office, and the challenges that occur when seeking support for proposing and passing legislation,” Gaspard-Hodgewood said. 

Tulane offers the opportunity for many out-of-state students to study the politics of a city that they did not grow up in. Gaspard-Hodgewood said guest speakers allow students to speak with policy experts that are familiar with the current state of social problems and the inner workings of the programs and policies being discussed and implemented today. 

“I believe that providing opportunities for students to hear from and speak with those actively engaged in the political process is a valuable resource,” Gaspard-Hodgewood said. “The opportunity to hear from Rep. Landry was a positive start to providing those students who want to get involved in politics with greater resources for doing so.”

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