Taking part in the Richland Parish Chamber of Commerce’s delegation to Northern Exposure at the state capitol are, from left, Patrick Savage, Chelsea Higginbotham, Scott Franklin and Hunter Fife and Luke Letlow (not shown).
Chamber members attend Northern Exposure
Several board members of the Richland Parish Chamber of Commerce traveled to Baton Rouge last week to attend Northern Exposure, which is essentially “North Louisiana Day” at the legislature.
The program is a longstanding tradition scheduled every year during the legislative session. We have attended Northern Exposure every year of the Chamber’s existence, because it is vital to let the legislature know that we matter. Every day is “New Orleans Day” at the Capitol, so its honestly a shame that we have to fight for one day out of the year. That’s the hand we are dealt, so our impact on that day has to be very large.
Every state official that spoke with us learned very quickly that Richland Parish has experienced a recent invigoration unlike anything we’ve seen in the history of the parish. We matter because we win, and we refuse to listen to the rhetoric that Northeast Louisiana is irrelevant to the state’s political system.
The top policy priority in this legislative session for the Richland Chamber is to secure funding for regional economic development groups that was eliminated near the beginning of the Edwards administration. Locals know what’s best for their region, and we know what needs to be done to market our many assets in Richland Parish. How can we show a return on investment without an investment. We fully anticipate that this funding will be disbursed to local economic developers, because there really is no other sane option.
Education was the most discussed topic among legislators, but I heard zero tangible plans on how to fix our system. I was quite disappointed that skills training and technical trade schools weren’t at the forefront of the discussion. If you aren’t talking about workforce development, then economic development is a pointless discussion.
This upcoming election will create massive turnover in the state legislature. We are losing a tremendous amount of experience, so we have to be there to make sure that relationships are established. If you don’t make yourself known in Baton Rouge, I promise, no one will ever ask about you.
Our board distinguished themselves amongst the crowd. I am extremely proud of our bright young people