President Biden Appoints Leslie Durham as Delta Regional Authority Alternate Federal Co-Chairwoman

November 09, 2021

Durham to become first female, first Louisianan Presidential Appointment to DRA

WASHINGTON, DC – President Joseph R. Biden appointed Leslie Dandridge Durham as Delta Regional Authority (DRA) Alternate Federal Co-Chairwoman. Durham is the first Louisianan and the first woman appointed to DRA by a President of the United States. As the Alternate Federal Co-Chairwoman, Durham will serve in the absence of a Federal Co-Chairperson to lead the Authority’s operations and vote on strategic investments that promote economic development in the 252 counties and parishes throughout the eight-state region.

“I have had the privilege to serve on the Delta Regional Authority board with every Federal Co-Chairman and Alternate Federal Co-Chairman since DRA’s creation over 20 years ago, all during some of the most difficult times for the Delta region and my own state, Louisiana,” said DRA Alternate Federal Co-Chairwoman Leslie Durham. “I’m humbled that President Biden would consider this little girl from Tensas Parish to represent him in such an important role, and I am thankful for everyone who supported and encouraged me along the way, especially Governor John Bel Edwards. We have a lot to do in the DRA footprint, and I’m ready to get to work.”

Born and raised in Tensas Parish, Louisiana, Durham attended the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and since January 2016 has served as Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards’s DRA Designee. She previously worked for Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco as Director of Renewal Communities and Delta Regional Authority Designee, during which she was named the 2007 Louisiana Planning and Development District’s Person of the Year.  Durham is a double graduate of DRA’s Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy, both in its inaugural year of 2006 and again in 2017, in which she also completed the Authentic Leadership Executive Education Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.  On July 31, 2021, the Louisiana Municipal Association awarded Durham with the LMA President’s Award for her years of commitment to Louisiana Local Governments.

“I am so excited for Leslie; she has worked very hard for the rural communities in Louisiana and will be dearly missed,” Governor John Bel Edwards stated. “I know she will be a great asset to President Biden’s team, the DRA, and the people of the 252 counties and parishes.”

In addition to her role as Louisiana Designee to the Delta Regional Authority, Governor Edwards appointed Durham to serve on the following:

  • Broadband for Everyone in Louisiana (BEL) Commission, Chairperson
  • Rural Water Infrastructure Committee (RWIC), Chairperson
  • Rural Revitalization Commission (RRC)
  • 4.9 GHz Spectrum Task Force
  • Jobs for American Graduates Louisiana Board of Directors (JAG-La)
  • Delta Agriculture Research and Sustainability District

About the Delta Regional Authority

The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to promote and encourage the economic development of the lower Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions. DRA invests in projects supporting transportation infrastructure, basic public infrastructure, workforce training, and business development. DRA’s mission is to help create jobs, build communities, and improve the lives of those who reside in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state region.

DRA Media Contact:
Shawna Blair
202-515-1354
sblair@dra.gov