2017 Legislative Champions

On Thursday, December 7th, United Way of Southeast Louisiana honored the 2017 Legislative Champions who have been instrumental in fighting for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in each community across our state.

A Champion for us understands the important role United Way of Southeast Louisiana plays in our community and how our programs and services impact the citizens of Louisiana. We look for a Champion who is prepared to demonstrate a strong willingness to support ALL children, but especially high risk populations by advocating for increased funding to expand access to high quality early childcare programming. We look for a Champion who stands ready to lock arms with us as we fight each year to expand the School Readiness Tax Credits and Earned Income Tax Credits. We need a Champion who understands the importance of STEM education and the economic return of encouraging more women to graduate from postsecondary institutions with a STEM degree. A Champion works tirelessly to protect all citizens who are impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. We look for a legislator who understands the importance of expanding access to affordable healthcare and introduces policies to confront the opiod crisis. We want a Champion who would embraces our SMART on Crime policies to shrink the number of non-violent offenders in prison and support the LA Prisoner Reentry Initiative. A Champion is someone who would put protections in place to serve Louisiana's foster children and their caregivers and bring together a statewide forum on pay equity

Our 2017 UWSELA Legislative Champions:

Governor John Bell Edwards and First Lady Donna Edwards
Speaker Pro Tempore - The Honorable Walt Leger
Representative Helena Moreno
Senator JP Morrell
Representative Melinda White
Representative John Schroder
Senator Sharon Hewitt
Representative Patrick Connick
Senator Danny Martiny
Senator Gregory Tarver

Hidden Hero Award:


Odessa Adams-Payne
Vice-President, Financial Capability
United Way of Southeast Louisiana

Odessa is being recognized for her extraordinary support of the earned income tax credit and fighting predatory lending practices that keep so many of our hard-working families trapped in poverty. Odessa manages our IDA Program which provides the opportunity to purchase a new home, buy a car, continue education, or start a new business through a matched savings account. Finally, Odessa has been instrumental in launching the J. Wayne Leonard Prosperity Center, our one-stop financial stability center offering an array of programming to our clients including financial education and coaching, credit repair and counseling, benefits screening, and income tax assistance.

Click here to view the photo gallery.