Helena Moreno Official Announcement Address
I'm Helena Moreno. In tonight's news, there's a strong, determined new entry in the race for Congress.
Tonight I embark on a new journey. I welcome you to this classic monument built in 1954. It represents the glory of our past and the hope for our future. Sixty years ago this fall, President Harry Truman traveled more than 22-thousand miles to depots like this in towns and cities across America, and he changed the face of contemporary politics with the success of his whistle stop campaign. Tonight is my first stop to share with you my ideas and ideology to build a stronger Louisiana.
More relevant than any other issue is integrity. We have to believe that our leaders are working for us, not for themselves. We must elect leaders who argue our cause before Congress, not their case in federal courtrooms. We must demand honesty without ever letting cynicism spoil our hopes for a better tomorrow.
Reporting through Hurricane Katrina and in its aftermath changed me. I saw up-close and personal the despair of our people. I was angered by the rehearsed rhetoric of career politicians, and appalled by inept leadership.
I realized the promise for our city, but I was frightened by the peril we faced as recycled politicians played political chess with us as pawns.
So, I chose a new assignment. This time not to just report the facts, but to change them. I know that public service is my new calling and with all my heart I believe that public service means serving the public. I am ready to end an epidemic of corruption. I am determined to restore hope to those who know helplessness. I am going to turn up the volume so that we are heard not only through city halls, but also in the halls of Congress.
Honestly, we can build levees to Category 5 strength. I will be a loud advocate for stronger levees and continued funding toward our recovery. The 5-point-8 billion dollars that Senator Landrieu recently secured to strengthen our levees will go a long way toward our defense against nature's wrath. But we must also fight for the restoration of our coastal marshes because every acre of marsh reduces storm surge by a foot. In 50 years, we have lost 950 square miles of marsh. We must turn back the tide on erosion and build a fortress of protection against violent storms. I will be a watchdog to ensure that the billions of dollars Louisiana will receive from new offshore drilling will be efficiently piped into our levee protection system. I also support the common-sense engineering of pump to the river to help defend our neighborhoods against flooding, and will urge the Corps to begin construction.
Honestly, we can strengthen our national defense. As Congresswoman, I will support our national defense by calling for more funding for infrastructure at Louisiana bases and additional equipment for our troops in the field. As for the war, it is not so much a question of whether this conflict is right or wrong as much as it is the fact that the battle is right now. Therefore, we must support the men and women who wear the American uniform and bear the courage to defend our freedom. I do believe the surge has worked, and while I am frustrated by our reason for entering into battle, I am focused on our success against terrorism and tyrants.
Honestly, we can help our businesses. There are almost 350-thousand small businesses in Louisiana. These businesses deserve federal tax credits, incentives and grants to survive. All across America, people still wonder is there is standing water in our neighborhoods. Is it safe to come here? Small businesses like our historic antique shops, restaurants, and other family enterprises have suffered beyond the storm and deserve to be nurtured through their continued redevelopment.
Honestly, we can re-energize our port. The Port of New Orleans is the 4th busiest in the nation. And the Port of South Louisiana - from Baton Rouge to New Orleans - is the 9th The expansion of the Panama Canal in 2014 is expected to double the amount of goods passed through American coastal ports. We must add capacity to our port to prepare for the demands of worldwide cargo. The Port of New Orleans still has 150 million dollars in Katrina-related repairs to complete. We need a fourth terminal for cruise ships, and dramatic modernization and improvements to wharfs. I will work with our state delegation to seek the funding to restore our port and help it rise from the banks of a mighty waterway. busiest in the WORLD.
Honestly, we can revive our healthcare system. Before Hurricane Katrina, our two-tiered health system was strained. Twenty percent of our people were uninsured and 25 percent were below the poverty level. Today is worse. We need additional community based healthcare facilities to lessen the burden on our regional hospitals. Our hospitals need compensation from the federal government for uncompensated care. We need federal incentives toward rebuilding our healthcare workforce. I will support the Louisiana Health Care Redesign Collaborative to help guide our medical future. And I will be catalyst toward the recovery of an ailing healthcare system.
Honestly, we can end inept agencies. To that end, we need to look into the redesign of FEMA. The agency exposed its major flaws during an actual disaster and its aftermath. Recently, we were shocked to learn that 85 million dollars of materials earmarked for hurricane victims in 2005 still remained in FEMA warehouses two years later. Something is very wrong at FEMA, and an outraged journalist like me is dedicated to find the truth and a solution.
Honestly, we can do these things. And best of all, we can do these things honestly.
I close with a pledge to you. I will be a hard-working and honest member of Congress. I will dedicate my time to the public's good, not my personal gain. I have already suspended a promising broadcast career because I believe that I will make a difference for us all. I do not believe that the color of my skin will dictate this race, because I believe people of all colors want the same things for our neighborhoods, city and state. We want security both at home and abroad. We want affordable healthcare. We want lower gasoline prices, and a plan for reducing our dependence on foreign oil. We want government to run efficiently and professionally. And we want the endless cycle of corruption to finally end.
I am in this for all the right reasons. I am the new generation waiting to carry the torch of hope and promise. I am the probing journalist who will not accept rhetoric as reason. And I am the strong-willed woman ready to stand strong for my home no matter the odds. I am Helena Moreno, and I am running for Congress to put progress over promises.