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|Economic alliance stresses regional growth|
Economic alliance stresses regional growth
At its annual meeting in Delhi in December, the Northeast Louisiana Economic Alliance, members of the alliance, along with representatives from the business community and elected officials, were told by newly appointed Louisiana Secretary of Economic Development that this area of the state must stimulate workforce training and business retention.
"We must protect and grow the jobs we have," said Stephen Moret, "building a stronger Louisiana from within. Business-friendly legislation and programs that address regional needs on a regional basis are critical to economic development."
Saying the northeast alliance was the first group of its kind in the state that he has met with, Moret noted that despite geographical differences, "each area of the state has unique problems as well as problems in common with the rest of the state."
Legislators senator-elect Neil Riser, senator-elect Rep. Francis Thompson, senator-elect Rep. Mike Walsworth, and representatives-elect Bubba Cheney and Sam Little made up the political contingent at the meeting.
Alliance chairman Wyly Gilfoil said, "With important chairmanships, committee appointments and the dedication of the veteran and new legislators, the region's needs will be addressed."
U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander was unable to attend due to voting in Washington, D.C., but was represented by Jonathan Johnson. Johnson reported that the renewal community legislation sponsored by Alexander and initiated by the alliance was a priority for the congressman in 2008.
"This legislation will mean tens of millions of dollars to the region," Johnson said.
Keynote speaker Rep. Thompson pledged to continue to work to promote the northeast Louisiana region.
"Our experienced colleagues in Sen. Walsworth, Sen. Kostelka, Rep. Ellington and the strong elected freshman officials will be in a unique position to protect our part of the state," he said.
Thompson said he will continue to pursue hospitals for rural areas, and "enhanced educational opportunities that will provide meaningful progress in the quality of the workforce."
Alliance president and CEO Tanna Trichel introduced the regional initiatives for the year and review the accomplishments of 2007.
"Workforce is a very high priority with educational modules represented in a white paper compiled by the eight regional executive directors," she said. "Pre-training is the highest educational priority and the continuing marketing to automotive and durable goods as marketing targets."
Secretary Moret emphasized the high priority of the Franklin Farm site and assured those attending that Gov.-elect Bobby Jindal is dedicated to it and making northeast Louisiana a strong priority.
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