An Update from Bobby
September 2, 2006
Remembering one year ago
As we reflect back one year after the landfall of Hurricane Katrina, my prayers continue to go out to all of the families that lost loved ones, and the families that are still rebuilding and recovering from the destruction of last year. We also cannot forget about the upcoming anniversary of Hurricane Rita and the devastation it wreaked on Southwest Louisiana.
Louisiana still faces many questions, but the most important is whether we will use this as an opportunity to build the Louisiana of our dreams, or if we will simply recreate a system that was not succeeding.
My colleagues and I in Congress have allocated billions of dollars to our state to help rebuild our homes, schools, hospitals, and businesses, and we must ensure that this money is used with our futures in mind.
Louisiana does not have to be ranked last in the nation for health care anymore. We can move off of the worst lists for educating our children. We not only can rebuild, but can overhaul our education system, our health care infrastructure, our business environment, and our lives. We must take this opportunity to make decisions that will make our state even stronger. A brighter economic future will mean a better quality of life for people in Louisiana, and ensure the future prosperity of Louisiana.
We have the opportunity to build the Louisiana of our dreams. The money allocated to our state has given us the chance to give our children and ourselves a better future, and it is crucial that we not waste this opportunity. I am committed to this effort as we continue to rebuild and recover.
In addition, I have continued to host my colleagues in Congress as they visit our state to witness firsthand the devastation that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. I have said since the landfall of the hurricanes last year that it is essential for every Member of Congress to see the devastation firsthand, as that is truly the only way to grasp the magnitude of our situation.
Last week, Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN) visited our state. His visit is important because he is the Chairman of the Republican Study Committee in Congress, an influential group of more than 110 House Members. I will continue to push all of my colleagues in Congress to visit our area to better understand the challenges we still face.
You can read Congressman Pence's thoughts about his Louisiana visit here: http://www.mikepence.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=49147
Gaining support for my bill to give our state a fair share
On Tuesday, while the President was speaking in New Orleans at a Hurricane Katrina remembrance ceremony, he announced his support for a bill to give Louisiana a fair share of offshore energy royalties. This is great news for Louisiana because his support moves us one step closer in our almost 50 year wait in getting our fair share of offshore royalties.
I have been working with the Administration to make this happen, and I am very pleased that the President came out in support publicly for this issue.
As you know, I have been working in Congress to convince the nation of the importance of giving Louisiana our fair share of royalties generated off of our coastline. The House of Representatives already passed a bill I introduced to provide Louisiana with its fair share while also addressing the need for our country to reduce its reliance on foreign sources of energy.
My bill will provide Louisiana with $9 billion over the first 10 years and nearly $2 billion a year once fully implemented and will ensure that funds are available to restore our coastline, develop our infrastructure, and improve our flood and hurricane protection.
The U.S. Senate passed a similar but less comprehensive energy bill earlier this month. A conference committee is expected to convene after Labor Day to work out the final details of this legislation. I have encouraged both the House and Senate leadership to come to conference willing to compromise to ensure that Louisiana begins to receive a fair portion of offshore energy royalties. We cannot sacrifice the good, while trying to achieve the perfect. Too much is at stake for this to happen.
Creating more jobs for Louisiana
I was pleased to see that a local company that employs thousands of Louisiana residents was awarded a major contract this week to build the next generation of spacecraft for NASA. The contact was awarded to Lockheed Martin which will build part of the manned lunar spaceship at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.
It is critical that Louisiana companies continue to succeed in getting contracts like this one that will help provide a boost to the local economy and the job outlook for the area. We need more skilled workforce jobs in Louisiana to lure companies and employees to the state at this crucial time. I will continue to fight to make sure Louisiana companies compete for these federal opportunities.
The hurricanes of last year eliminated more than 150,000 jobs from our area, and we have to do more to secure skilled labor jobs for Louisiana as we rebuild a large part of our state. We must focus our efforts on bringing economic viability back to Louisiana. What our state needs most right now are opportunities to rebuild and rejuvenate small businesses in Louisiana. We need better prospects for our family-run industries that are the backbone of our state. We need tax credits for hardworking Louisiana employees and businesses that can provide economic opportunities in our hard hit communities. We need to focus on bringing people back to their homes in Louisiana, and creating more job opportunities that can help people rebuild their lives.
Although we have been challenged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we must take this opportunity to make decisions that will make our state even stronger. A brighter economic future will mean a better quality of life for people in Louisiana, and ensure the future prosperity of Louisiana.
In case you missed it
I wanted to share with you a column I wrote that was published in the National Review earlier this week about the need to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse in the hurricane recovery efforts. I wrote about the importance of making commonsense reforms to ensure that the relief dollars allocated go to the people on the ground that really need it most.
You can read the entire column here: http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=OTYyNTc3MzU5MWI0MTFmZjIzNzYyZmY2MjQ2MmU3ZmI=
Celebrating Labor Day
I wanted to remind you about a Labor Day picnic that my wife and I are hosting this Monday. We would like for you and your family to join us for a Re-Election Campaign Kick-off Picnic. I have included details below, and I hope to see you on Monday.
Join us for a Re-Election Campaign Kick-off Picnic on Labor Day!
Monday, September 4, 2006
4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Kenner City Park
3800 Loyola Drive
Kenner, Louisiana 70065
Pick up a yard sign and bumper sticker, and learn how you can help us win re-election! Family-friendly event will feature jambalaya, soft drinks, and a spacewalk for children.
This event is free and open to the public.
As always, please feel free to contact my offices if we can be of assistance to you.