President Obama to make first visit to Baton Rouge next week _lowres

FILE - In this Oct. 23, 2015, file photo, President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks at the Democratic National Committee 22nd Annual Women's Leadership Forum National Issues Conference in Washington. A divided public thinks it’s worth shutting the government or halting its ability to borrow to pay bills unless Obama consents to spending cuts, an Associated Press-GfK poll has found. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

President Barack Obama will make his first trip to Baton Rouge as president, the White House announced late Thursday.

The president is set to visit the state capital on Thursday, Jan. 14.

The visit will mark Obama’s 10th trip to Louisiana during his time in office.

Times and locations for the trip were not announced.

The stop, after his seventh and final State of the Union address on Tuesday, is part of his tradition of engaging with Americans directly, officials said.

Obama also plans to travel Wednesday to Omaha, Nebraska, another city he has yet to visit during his two-term presidency.

Last year, the president made similar trips to Boise, Idaho, and Lawrence, Kansas, after his nationwide address.

The gathering in Baton Rouge will take place just three days after Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards, a fellow Democrat, takes the oath of office.

Edwards has vowed to make Medicaid expansion one of his top priorities and plans to set the wheels in motion to do just that by his second day in office.

Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, a fierce critic of Obama, and the GOP-dominated Louisiana Legislature have opposed the expansion, which is an option for states under the Obama-backed Affordable Care Act.

The White House announcement says Louisiana “is poised to expand Medicaid” and, as a result, 193,000 uninsured state residents will gain coverage.

Jindal and other critics contend Medicaid is a broken system, and budget problems will follow once the state is required to absorb most of the costs.

The announcement also says the president will highlight what it calls state gains in the past seven years, including a drop in the unemployment rate from 8.3 percent to 6.3 percent and new aid for Louisiana’s early childhood education, including $9.5 million in pre-school development grants.

Edwards’ upset win over three GOP gubernatorial contenders sparked nationwide attention, especially since Democrats have been reeling for years in efforts to capture statewide offices in Louisiana.

Edwards was able to overcome what had been a toxic party label to easily defeat U.S. Sen. David Vitter, a Republican, in the November runoff.

However, the incoming governor took pains throughout the campaign to distance himself from the national Democratic Party.

Edwards repeatedly stressed his anti-abortion record, his support for gun rights and his military background to highlight differences with most rank-and-file Democrats nationally.

Follow Will Sentell on Twitter, @WillSentell . For more coverage of Louisiana government and politics, follow our Politics blog at http://blogs.the advocate.com/politicsblog/