Murphy James “Mike” Foster, a former two-term governor of Louisiana, died Sunday, according to a statement from Gov. John Bel Edwards.
He was 90.
Foster, who served as governor from 1996 to 2004, entered hospice care last week, CNN affiliate WDSU reported.
Edwards ordered flags throughout the state to be flown at half-staff in honor of Foster.
“A veteran, a businessman and a sportsman, Gov. Mike Foster was a true Louisianan who served his country, his state and his community with honor throughout his life,” Edwards said in the statement. “As governor, one of his most lasting legacies is in education, especially his support for the creation of the TOPS program, which, more than 20 years later, still helps thousands of Louisiana students attend colleges and universities and achieve their goals.”
Edwards also said that Foster “worked hard to protect and restore Louisiana’s coastline and moved to dedicate federal funding to this purpose, so that future Louisianans could enjoy the Sportsman’s Paradise he so loved.”
Born in Shreveport, Foster graduated from Louisiana State University in 1952 with a degree in chemical engineering before joining the Air Force and serving in the Korean War, according to his biography on the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website.
Following the war, Foster worked as a sugar cane farmer in Franklin, Louisiana. He also formed the Bayou Sale Contractors and joined the board of local banks.
Foster ran for a seat in the Louisiana state Senate in 1986 after “becoming frustrated with the non-responsiveness of state government,” according to the biography.
He served two active terms in the state Senate before deciding “he could get more accomplished as governor,” the biography says.
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