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PAR board of directors names Dr. Steven T. Procopio as new President

The Board of Directors of the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana (PAR) has announced that distinguished policy expert and former government agency manager Dr. Steven T. Procopio will be the next President of the 71-year-old non-partisan public education and policy organization.

Dr. Procopio has led PAR’s research activities as Policy Director since 2014. He will replace Robert Travis Scott, who has served as PAR President since January 2011 and is retiring from the position in November.

“Steven has the proven chops to carry PAR forward as the leading independent voice for good government in Louisiana,” said PAR Chairman Kristin Wall. “He’s an outstanding policy expert with a resume incredibly well suited for the job.”

Based in Baton Rouge, PAR is an independent nonprofit research organization with a statewide scope of policy interests, supporters and board members. Through its extensive research and public information programs, PAR contributes constructive ideas and solutions to mainstream political thinking. PAR also has an extensive program of citizen education.

“The PAR President is a spokesperson for reason and reform in our state,” said Scott Hensgens, immediate past Chairman of PAR. “Steven is highly respected in the public policy community and government circles for his objectivity and sound reasoning.”

Dr. Procopio has an outstanding professional background in public policy research, data analysis, surveys, governmental affairs and organizational management, with a special emphasis on Louisiana. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science from Louisiana State University and a Ph.D. in political science from Indiana University.

Early in his career he held positions with the Planning Commission for Baton Rouge, including as manager of the Advanced Planning and Research Division. He was the founding Director of the LSU Public Policy Research Lab, where he oversaw operations and fundraising and grew the organization into a large and influential role in the state political landscape.

In state government, Dr. Procopio has worked under Democratic and Republican administrations. He was Director of Research and Accountability for Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu. He held successively higher positions in the Division of Administration under Gov. Bobby Jindal, including Director of Research and Accountability and Assistant Commissioner of Management and Finance.

In 2012 he was named the Division’s Chief of Staff, where he managed communications, legislative, fiscal and policy staff. In that role, he served on state boards, commissions and retirement boards. He testified often in the Legislature.

As Policy Director at PAR, Dr. Procopio has excelled as a state budget and data analyst. He oversees operational and fundraising responsibilities for PAR’s programs on coastal management oversight, early childhood education, state retirement systems and other policy issues. He is a regular public speaker and grant writer for PAR.

Dr. Procopio is married to Dr. Claire Hopson Procopio, a professor and Honors Director at Southeastern Louisiana University. Their daughters are Sarah, a Truman Scholar at LSU Law School, and Stephanie, a math and coastal studies undergraduate at LSU. In his spare time Dr. Procopio might be found solving an escape room, working puzzles or cheering for the LSU Tigers.

When Scott, a former journalist and PAR’s President over the past decade, announced his long-planned retirement, the PAR Board launched a process to form a profile for the next President and conduct a thorough search.

“With deep appreciation and admiration for Robert and his many accomplishments, the Board thanks him and wishes him well in this next chapter of his life,” Chairman Wall said.

The PAR board voted on Sept. 30 to name Procopio as the ninth head of PAR since the organization’s creation in 1950. When the position was announced earlier this year, it received strong interest and many resumes. A PAR Search Committee worked for several months to arrive at a recommendation. Executive adviser Bret Pinson with Pinson & Associates of Baton Rouge served as the consultant and facilitator for the Search Committee.  

Wall and Hensgens co-chaired the PAR Search Committee. The other committee members were PAR Vice Chair Dennis Blunt, Secretary Kenny Robison, Treasurer Jody Montelaro, and PAR board members Jay Campbell, Glenn Kinsey, Ann Knapp, Nathalie Simon, Deb Sternberg and Ann Trappey.

While members of PAR’s staff over the years have had outstanding research credentials, this will be the first time a PAR President has held a Ph.D. since the early 1950s. Dating back to its origin, PAR has been led by eight esteemed past presidents, including Dr. Robert French, Ed Steimel, Art Thiel, Earl Ryan, Mark Drennen, Jackie Ducote, Jim Brandt and Robert Travis Scott.