Sen. Karen Carter Peterson Closes Eight Successful Years as Louisiana Democratic Party Chair with Farewell Message

State News

Baton Rouge, LA – In 2012, the Louisiana Democratic Party took a tremendous leap forward by electing Sen. Karen Carter Peterson as the first woman to chair the Louisiana Democratic Party.

Now, after serving in the role for eight years, Sen. Peterson is announcing she will pass the torch to the next wave of leaders and focus her efforts on increasing voter access in her role as Democratic National Committee Vice Chair for Civic Engagement and Voter Protection.

Sen. Karen Carter Peterson released the following statement: 

“Our party has always been about people – lifting people up, elevating their voices, and empowering them to make change in our world. When a group of committed and passionate progressive advocates recruited me to run for party chair in 2012, I promised to use all I had to energize the fight for progressive values in our state – from the bottom up. My career has always been focused on using my voice to return power to those who need it the most – the working families in our state struggling with an unfair economic system, African American and Latinx citizens facing unrelenting challenges and biases, and our LGBTQ+ communities.

“Since 2012, we’ve reinvigorated our grassroots and powered the elections of a two-term Democratic governor and Democratic mayors in cities throughout the state. These Democratic leaders are demonstrating bold, progressive leadership for our communities during these unprecedented times, and importantly, fighting back against President Trump and his insistence on fostering division among Americans by promoting racist, white-nationalist policies. 

“As Louisiana Democratic Party Chair, I’ve stood side by side as we’ve fought together for and won victories on LGBTQ equality, women’s right to choose, and many more.  I have always represented our values, whether serving in both chambers of the legislature or fighting alongside our allies in our campaigns for change – both locally and nationally. Our work has restored my belief that the Democratic Party’s essential work is to ensure fairness for all and be a voice for the voiceless.

“The vision and energy we’ve cultivated together at the Louisiana Democratic Party must now take the next step to help elect more Democratic leaders throughout our state. While I will no longer lead our party, I will never stop fighting for it and the values it represents. I’ll continue to serve and fight as the Democratic National Committee Vice Chair of Civic Engagement and Voter Participation, work which is increasingly important today given a resurgence in voter suppression and intimidation, and sustained efforts to disenfranchise many communities of color. 

“I have communicated my decision to many other leaders of our party and am confident that it is the right time to pass the torch as the next wave of leaders step forward to build an even stronger Democratic Party.  Our party must remain resolved to end systematic racism, create real economic opportunity for everyone, and promote freedom and equality for all in Louisiana and across our nation. 

“Finally, and most importantly, I want to thank Louisiana Democrats for allowing me the pleasure to serve as your Chair over the past eight years. Your trust and support have made our work together impactful and fortifying.”

Gov. John Bel Edwards Statement: 

“I want to thank Chair Peterson for her more than 8 years of dedicated service to the Louisiana Democratic Party. Over the course of her tenure, we worked together to pass historic criminal justice reforms, expanded Medicaid for working Louisianans, and she was a great partner during my two campaigns for Governor. I know Sen. Peterson’s work is not done, and I look forward to continuing to work with her in the legislature and in her role as Vice Chair of the DNC.”

Mayor LaToya Cantrell Statement:
“Sen. Karen Carter Peterson has been a strong leader for the state party, a tireless fighter at the state level for Democratic values, and an invaluable friend to the people of New Orleans. On behalf of the City of New Orleans, and Democrats across the state, I thank her for her years of hard work and dedicated leadership.”

Mayor Mitch Landrieu Statement:

“We owe a great debt of gratitude to Sen. Karen Carter Peterson for her leadership of the Louisiana Democratic Party. Her hard work and leadership were instrumental to the election of Governor John Bel Edwards. She will be missed on the state level, but will continue to share her skills as Vice Chair of the National Democratic Party. Thank you, Sen. Peterson.”

Mayor Adrian Perkins Statement:

“Sen. Karen Carter-Peterson has served as Chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party since 2012 while serving her constituents in the State Senate. During that time, she has helped strengthen the Louisiana Democratic Party. We are all sad to hear that she will not be seeking another term as state party chair, but we are all grateful for her service to the party and the State of Louisiana.”

New Orleans City Councilmember Helena Moreno Statement:

“In helping to elect and then re-elect Governor John Bel Edwards, Karen has proven that Democrats can indeed win anywhere. Her tenacity and courage have made her an unwavering champion of our party through times good and bad. I am thankful for her unyielding work to advance progressive causes on behalf of building a more equitable, more prosperous state of Louisiana.”

State Representative Randal Gaines, Louisiana Democratic Party’s Vice Chair of Elected Officials Statement:

“As Vice Chair for Elected Officials for the Louisiana Democratic Party,  I am personally aware of the tremendous job Sen. Karen Carter Peterson did during her tenure as Chairwoman of rebuilding and revitalizing the State Party. Her awesome leadership helped to pave the way for many of our highly regarded and celebrated achievements.  The National Party has gained a tremendous leader.”

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