LT. GOVERNOR LANDRIEU SPEAKS AT NATIONAL PRESS CLUB -- 07/22/2008
Office of Lieutenant GovernorFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
LT. GOVERNOR LANDRIEU SPEAKS AT NATIONAL PRESS CLUB
In an Open Letter to the Next President,
Baton Rouge, LA -- Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu addresses the National Press Club during a NEWSMAKERS media briefing in Washington, DC on Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at noon. In an open letter to the next President of the United States, Landrieu will address what America has at stake in Louisiana's recovery.
Speaking to a national audience, Landrieu states, "The question is why should everyday Americans, like a cab driver as far away as Detroit, care about Louisiana's recovery? These questions are particularly relevant as America prepares to elect a new President, because it will take Presidential leadership to ultimately rebuild a Louisiana that Americans will be proud of."
During remarks, Landrieu offers up five basic outcomes that the next President and Congress should embrace:
1) Category 5 Levee Protection,
2) Coastal wetlands restoration as outlined in Coast 2050,
3) A Federal Recovery Czar that reports directly to the President with the authority and the resources to get the job done,
4) Reform of the Stafford Act to make it more responsive to local needs in the wake of this and future catastrophic events, and
5) Full funding of the gap between the recovery funds provided to date and what it will take to rebuild to 21st century standards.
In terms of recovery, Landrieu discusses the need to move beyond pre-Katrina and post-Katrina figures and articulate a vision for Louisiana's recovery. While calling for a renewed federal commitment to our state, Landrieu also asserts the people of Louisiana are willing to take personal responsibility.
Landrieu calls for a Federal Recovery Czar that reports directly to the President, stating, "The next President must begin by realigning federal governance of all recovery functions, empowering a true Recovery Czar with the authority to act across agency lines to get things done. Housed in the West Wing with direct access to the president, the federal Recovery Czar will be the key to ending the bureaucracy that has stalled our progress at every step."
In making Louisiana's case, Landrieu states that with gas prices rising to more than $4 per gallon, Louisiana will play an even larger role in preventing the nation from becoming more dependent on foreign oil. The loss of Louisiana's coast - its energy, ports and seafood industry - would threaten the economic vitality of the nation.
In addition, hurricanes Katrina and Rita provide powerful learning moments for the country. Landrieu contends that, New Orleans can serve as a test lab to find new ways of solving old social problems.
"In fact, Louisiana can become America's laboratory for Democracy. This is a powerful idea," Landrieu says. Landrieu asserts that if we can rebuild Greater New Orleans as an innovative, 21st Century American city, then we will have a blueprint for community renewal that can be replicated across the country.
Describing Louisiana as the canary in the coal mine, Landrieu argues that the country ignores the lessons of Katrina and Rita at its peril: "Louisianans knew long before the I-35W bridge collapsed in Minneapolis or the levees were overtopped in Iowa that our country needs to invest in our its infrastructure."
Calling for unity, Landrieu says, "We stand in solidarity with people across the country who suffered hurricanes on the Gulf Coast, the floods in the heartland, the sheet of fires coursing through the west coast or the terrorist attack that struck our heart on the east coast. You see we are one America. We will rise or fall together."