Remarks from Mary Landrieu

Former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu was presented with the Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award this past weekend by the Louisiana Center for Women in Government and Business.

The ceremony took place at the New Orleans Marriott, where Landrieu was introduced as “the most successful woman” in the history of Louisiana government.

Here are a few excerpts from her acceptance speech, which was covered by LaPolitics’ Sarah Gamard:

— On motherhood: “I remember so clearly running for governor when [my son] Connor was two, running for the Senate when he was five, and then adopting Mary Shannon into our family the first year I was in the Senate. So I was learning how to be a senator and a mother at the same time, which I would not recommend to anyone.”

— On mentors: “Sandra Thompson was my mentor… I was elected at 23 to the Legislature, and there were three women in the Legislature when I was elected… and Sandra Thompson was running for state office. And Sandra was really the first, I guess in our generation, kind of (a) young, vivacious and quite attractive woman running. Kind of a modern woman. Remember that television show, ‘My Girl?’ That’s what she reminded me of. And in those days — it’s hard for the young women to remember — but we, white and African-American women, our prospects were very limited. Very limited in the 60s and 50s. I mean, you could think about being a teacher or a nurse or a nun. That was basically about it. And I don’t think I could have gotten in any of those. So Sandra runs… I just want to say this about Sandra, because she didn’t win that race. She didn’t win the secretary of state’s race. But I can remember her in an automobile waving her hands, and she was just such a classy candidate. And I thought to myself, between Lindy Boggs, who was a great role model, Ann Richards in Texas and Sandra here, it gave me strength to say, ‘Well, I may be young, but I think I can do this.’ And they were kind of showing how to do it… There were just so few women.”

— On politics: “I try to spend my time not concerned with the pettiness of politics, which has gotten so petty and so nasty and so destructive with our current president. But I try to keep my eyes on the prize, which is helping to make government work for people… Whether it’s having the best schools, the best hospitals, the best streets, the best drainage, the best flood control, the best criminal justice system… I don’t know what (politics has) turned into. I don’t recognize — I don’t recognize it. It’s not the same thing. It’s not the same at all what it used to be. Because we would fuss and we would fight and we would get in arguments with Democrats and Republicans. But, really, at the end of the day it was, ‘How do we build a better highway system? How do we build a better criminal justice system?’”

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