Parents as Teachers National Center recently presented its Jack Tweedie Human Services and Early Learning Champion Award for 2023 to Representative Stephanie Hilferty of the Louisiana General Assembly. The award was presented by PATNC Board of Directors member and past award recipient, Patricia Kempthorne, during the opening session of the Parents as Teachers International Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Mrs. Hilferty is the Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives for District 94 in Orleans and Jefferson parishes where she is also a commercial real estate sales and leasing agent. In the Louisiana House, she sits on several committees, including the House Select Committee on Women and Children, and the House Select Leadership Committee. She also co-chairs the Early Childhood Care and Education Committee and is truly bipartisan in her commitment to policies that support women and children, often crossing the aisle to get things done.
Her first bill as a representative was to prevent shaken baby syndrome and she has been a long-time sponsor and champion of bills to ban corporal punishment and spanking in public schools, which fell one vote shy of passing in 2022. In witness to her commitment to public service, Representative Hilferty was only the 4th person in 200 years to give birth while the legislature was in session. Representative Hilferty graduated from Loyola University New Orleans summa cum laude with a double major in English and psychology. She is married to Michael Lillis and they live in New Orleans’ Lake Vista neighborhood with their three children.
The coveted award is named for Jack Tweedie, the long-time director of the Children and Families Program at the National Conference of State Legislatures and a renowned expert and leader on state policies affecting children and families. He also served as chair of the Policy and Advocacy Committee of the Parents as Teachers Board until he lost his battle with cancer in early 2014. After his passing, Parents as Teachers created the Jack Tweedie Human Services and Early Learning Champion Award in his honor. Each year a champion in the public policy arena is selected to receive the award which was first presented in 2016 to Alaska House Minority Leader, State Rep. Chris Tuck. It has subsequently been awarded to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Arizona State Senator Kate Brophy-McGee, Missouri State Representative Kip Kendrick, and Colorado Senator Rhonda Fields.