Meeting with the President
I met with President Bush at the White House yesterday to discuss our state’s continuing recovery from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. During the meeting, I thanked the President for the support that Louisiana has received thus far and asked for his help in speeding recovery aid to our state that is tied up in bureaucratic red tape. Our state faces critical needs, such as improving and upgrading our levees, restoring our coast, and making sure that the Road Home program is fully funded, and I asked the President for additional resources to fill those needs.
I also took the opportunity to urge the President to locate the Air Force Cyber Command at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport. The President knows of the importance of Barksdale to not only our state, but to our nation’s defense. While a final decision is weeks, or even months away, the Cyber Command will be a strong economic engine for North Louisiana, as well as the rest of the state. In addition to talking to the President, I have already spoken with the Secretary of the Air Force, met with local advocates from Bossier, and toured Bossier Parish Community College where important degree programs will be offered. I will continue to do everything possible to ensure the federal government places the Cyber Command permanently at Barksdale.
Reforming our State
The Transition Advisory Councils continue to meet around the state to make recommendations regarding the detailed policy chapters that I introduced during the campaign. In addition, residents throughout the state contact my office daily to offer their innovative ideas for our state.
Last week, we held hearings all over the state on issues ranging from education, government reform, and emergency preparedness to economic development issues such as small business and business retention.
At the advisory council meetings, we hear one thing time and again – now is the time to make dramatic changes in our state and to address the problems that have plagued Louisiana for too long. For example, during the education hearing last week we heard about the need for high school students to receive the skills and training necessary to provide a skilled workforce for businesses and to ensure the students will have good paying jobs right here in Louisiana. Without these trained employees, businesses will not locate in our state.
During the business retention and recruitment hearing held in Monroe, council members spoke about the importance of leveling the playing field with other states by reducing burdensome regulations and taxes on businesses and improving our national image by enacting strong ethics laws.
Working with Governors from across the country
This week, I joined Governors from across the nation in California and shared with them the critical work we are doing in Louisiana to reform our ethics laws and revitalize our economy to grow businesses and create jobs. As I said on election night, Louisiana is on the rise and everyone in the nation should keep their eyes on our state.
At the meeting, I was honored to be elected to serve on a four-member Executive Committee – joining Governors from Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Hawaii – to help develop and share innovative best practices that are working around the nation. I look forward to serving in this leadership role and working with Governors from around the nation to remind them that Louisiana is on the move.
I want to congratulate Coach Les Miles and the entire LSU football team for earning the right to play in the BCS championship game in New Orleans. I told the President when I met with him yesterday that he would be hosting the LSU Tigers at the White House again in the coming weeks after we win another National Championship.
Congratulations and Geaux Tigers!