LOWDOWN: The Real Story Behind PAR

You might think about golf when you hear or see it, but down here in Louisiana, especially in political circles, PAR has a whole different meaning.

We're talking about the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, the good government group that was created to counter late Gov. Earl Long’s, um, governance. PAR has quite a colorful history, as you'll learn in this week's episode of The LaPolitics Lowdown. Its leaders managed to befriend governors and enrage them over the years — sometimes on the same day.

PAR really hit its stride under the late legislative lion Ed Steimel, who led the organization with his own quintessentially questionable methods (watch the video) for a quarter-century before helping found and head up the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.

Maybe you didn’t know that PAR faced one of it biggest challenges in 1971, when it was tasked with redrawing every legislative district. The group got it done on time, creating the apportionment system that we still use today.

That’s not the only time PAR helped mold Louisiana history; the organization teamed up with former Gov. Edwin Edwards during the 1973 Constitutional Convention, and again a few years later to help write the state’s milestone right-to-work laws.

PAR helped end the days of unlimited contributions and multi-million dollar fundraisers when it pushed for the first state campaign finance laws in the 1980s, followed by its era of mixed reviews on former Gov. Mike Foster’spolicies in the 1990s.

Yeah, there’s a lot of backstory. So much, in fact, that the late LaPolitics founder John Maginnis, wrote an entire book on the subject. Find out why in this new episode!

(Plus, make sure to stop by PAR’s annual conference and luncheon this Friday, April 6, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Baton Rouge. You’ll be glad you did.)

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