As the first businessman to be elected governor in recent political history, Governor
Murphy J. "Mike" Foster, Jr. now runs the business of state government. On the eve of
his inauguration, the plain-spoken Foster declared, "I'm not going to be a governor who
is going to be out a whole lot cutting ribbons, making speeches." Instead, relying on the
initiative that made him a successful sugar cane farmer and contractor, he plans to roll
up his sleeves and put Louisiana to work.
Mike Foster was born in Shreveport, Louisiana and grew up in the small South Louisiana community of Franklin. He graduated from Franklin Senior High School and earned a degree in Chemical Engineering from LSU. While at LSU, Foster had his first brush with politics, running for Student Council President on the single issue of improving the cafeteria food. He lost--probably because the College of Engineering went on a field trip that day--and didn't seek office again for nearly forty years.
After serving in the United States Air Force during the Korean War, Foster came back to Franklin to work as a sugar cane farmer. "I wasn't one of those gentlemen farmers," Foster said. "I fixed my own tractor." He founded the construction firm of Bayou Sale because he wanted to keep his farm crew together in the off season. Although initially little more than a labor pool for other contractors, Bayou Sale today employs more than two hundred workers. Foster has also served as president of Sterling Sugars, Inc., restructuring the company so that its annual loss of one million dollars was replaced with a million-dollar annual profit. He is a pillar of the community in South Louisiana where he has been a board member for several local banks, a Junior Warden of St. Mary's Episcopal Church, the President of the St. Mary Parish Farm Bureau, and a member of the American Legion.
Frustrated with the unresponsiveness of state government, in 1987 Mike Foster ran for and was elected to the State Senate for St. Mary/Assumption Parish District. As a senator he has been a voice for business and for less government interference in people's lives, believing that "what's good for business is good for everybody." He served on the Transportation and Judiciary A committees and in 1991 was appointed chairman of the Commerce committee. His business acumen and no-nonsense approach to government quickly earned him the respect and admiration of his peers in the Legislature.
Mike Foster is a former Eagle Scout, a certified Emergency Medical Technician, and a commercially licensed land- and sea plane pilot. He and his wife Alice reside at Oaklawn Manor on beautiful Bayou Teche; they spend their free time hunting, fishing, and playing tennis.
Like his grandfather, Murphy J. Foster, who served as Louisiana's Governor from 1892-1900, Mike Foster is a reform-minded Governor known for his honesty and veracity. And as his grandfather faced the challenges of bringing Louisiana into the twentieth century, so Mike Foster prepares to lead Louisiana into the twenty-first.
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