Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden was overwhelmingly re-elected to his third and final term as Mayor-President of the City of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish in a primary victory in 2012. Under his leadership, East Baton Rouge Parish has achieved unprecedented top ten national rankings: the #1 Major Market of the Year in America; #1 Metro Area for Economic Growth Potential in the U.S; #1 Best Place to Live and Work as a Moviemaker Among Small Cities in America; #7 Best City for Young Families; #8 Best Place to Live in America, and many more.
Throughout his tenure as Mayor-President, Mayor Holden has maintained public safety as his top priority, with all first responders under the Mayor’s administration receiving the highest national accreditation in their respective areas: the Baton Rouge Fire Department; Baton Rouge Police Department; Emergency Medical Services, and the Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
In 2012, Mayor Holden worked with the District Attorney to launch the Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination project – called BRAVE -- a local initiative to reduce violent crime. Working with the District Attorney, School Superintendent and Sheriff, he opened the Family and Youth Service Center, the parish’s first truancy center to improve school attendance and reduce juvenile crime.
The Mayor’s Green Light Program has committed nearly $700 million to street improvements, improving traffic congestion on local streets. His nationally recognized Healthy BR Initiative promotes better nutrition and active lifestyles, and has tackled the critical problems of childhood obesity and access to healthy food, making a difference in the quality of lives of children throughout the parish.
Riverfront development has been a primary focus, with the city building a new award-winning Town Square that is a focal point for festivals and community events, leading redevelopment efforts that has resulted in seven new downtown hotels being built since he took office. Also along the river, Mayor Holden recruited a new IBM Software Development Center and partnered with the state and Louisiana State University to build The Water Campus, a project that will make Baton Rouge a global leader in coastal science and research.
Mayor Holden is a graduate of both LSU and Southern University, earning a B.A. in Journalism from LSU, a Masters degree in Journalism from Southern, a Juris Doctorate from the Southern University School of Law and an Honorary Doctorate of Public Policy from Southern University. He was also invited to study at the Oxford University Round Table in England.
As Baton Rouge prepares to celebrate its bicentennial, Mayor Holden is recognized for his extensive knowledge of East Baton Rouge Parish government, his tireless promotion of his city on the national and international stage, and his visionary leadership.