Gov. John Bel Edwards said that rural Louisiana is in crisis and announced the establishment of a council to seek ways for revitalization.
Edwards, who delivered the keynote for the Louisiana Police Jury Convention in Shreveport on Feb. 14, says former chief of staff Ben Nevers will chair the new Governor’s Advisory Council on Rural Revitalization.
“I know that rural Louisiana often feels left behind. We have to make sure there are opportunities for success and prosperity everywhere. I chose this meeting to announce the council intentionally because I know it impacts so many of the places you represent,” Edwards said.
The council will identify the needs and issues facing Louisiana’s vital communities as well as solutions to removing any barriers that prohibit them from being more productive, healthy and attractive places to live and work.
“Rural communities across the country are in crisis,” Edwards said. “They bear a disproportionate burden of poverty, lack adequate access to health care, education and other basic necessities. This council will help us identify their unique challenges and help implement effective and innovative Louisiana solutions.”
Edwards said he will appoint 33 key state and local stakeholders to the council, which will be charged with developing a comprehensive strategic plan to be presented to the governor by Jan. 5, 2021.
Feb. 14 was the final day of the three-day 2020 Louisiana Police Jury Association annual convention that also saw election of association officers for the coming year.
Outgoing 2019 President of the Louisiana Police Jury Association Glenn Benton, of Haughton, thanked members for their continued service. Benton is a member of the Bossier Parish Police Jury.
“It’s been a great experience for me,” Benton said. “Thank you to my family for supporting me through this journey. And thank you to our entire team here in Bossier Parish. Without you, this would have been impossible.”