Senator Landrieu comments on education reform, natural gas, levees
By Greg Hilburn, Monroe News-Star
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu began a day-long tour in northeastern Louisiana this morning in West Monroe, where she talked about education reform, the potential of natural gas, levee certification and other issues to a group of community leaders at the Convention Center.
Landrieu, D-La., said she supports education reform and strategic use of vouchers, but said Gov. Bobby Jindal's package passed during the current Legislative Session "was much too broad."
As an example, she pointed to a story reported by The News-Star about a private school in Ruston that has state approval to accept 315 voucher students despite not having the facilities available to accommodate that many students.
"You see what happened at the school in Ruston," she said. "I kept telling (the Jindal administration) that it had to tighten up the language in the voucher bill.
"Vouchers should be part of the reform movement, not the entire reform movement. Public money shouldn't be leaving the system with no accountability."
She touted Louisiana's abundant natural gas reserves as a "game-changer" for both the state and the country.
"It puts the entire country in an extraordinarily competitive position," she said. "I'm so glad Louisiana is leading the technological revolution to mine gas reserves we never thought we'd be able to reach."
Landrieu said she's working to make sure Louisiana's levees, including those in the Tensas Basin Levee District, aren't de-certified, which could create massive and expensive flood insurance requirements for property owners.
The senator will travel to Rayville to speak to northeastern Louisiana mayors at the town's Civic Center at 11 a.m., then back to tour the Monroe Regional Airport with Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo this afternoon.
Finally, Landrieu will speak at 6 tonight at the Scott Awards of Excellence reception, which is presented by The News-Star, Monroe Chamber of Commerce and University of Louisiana at Monroe College of Business to honor local business growth. The event is at Bayou DeSiard Country Club.