We need to wake up and realize Louisiana cannot afford to lose Mary Landrieu. By William J. Doré

Friday, Nov. 15, 2013

On Feb. 26, 2012, the New Orleans Times-Picayune printed “Is Lake Charles tycoon a threat to democracy?”

I was called “a threat to democracy” because of my support for Republicans and Democrats, such as former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who at the time was a Republican presidential candidate, Democratic New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Democratic Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach, to name a few. My motives vary in selecting and contributing to a political candidate. It is not the party he or she represents alone that influences me, because if that were the case, I would only vote for Republicans.

I do, however, have more difficulty when selecting between candidates without a track record. In the case of senior politicians with a track record, I have a much easier time deciding who to support.

 
Photo by Robin May  

In 2005 we lost both U.S. Sen. John Breaux and U.S. Rep. Billy Tauzin and we, as a state, lost all committee chairs. We were all at once without any influence on legislation that would either help or adversely affect our state. It has taken us over a decade to recover.

It took Breaux and U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu nearly a decade serving responsibly in the Senate before they were able to pass their signature reforms into law and exert significant influence on the shape of legislation being debated in front of the senate.

So where am I going with this?

Mary Landrieu has been in the Senate more than 17 years and has influenced major legislation in favor of Louisiana. I feel it would be a tragedy to lose our seniority once again and begin the difficult road to committee assignments.

The senator’s committee assignments are as follows:

• U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee
• Subcommittee on Homeland Security - chair
• Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee - chair
• U.S. Energy & Natural Resources Committee - next in line for the chair
• U.S. Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee

During her time in the Senate, Mary has made major contributions to the citizens of our state. To restore and support our working coast, she passed the landmark Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, which established revenue sharing for coastal states in the Gulf that produce energy off its shores to receive a fair share of the revenues they generate. Louisiana has already started receiving millions in decades of overdue revenue and is in line for hundreds of millions more starting in 2017. It also opened up 8.3 million new acres in the Gulf for drilling.

After the BP spill, Landrieu and Sen. Richard Shelby were the lead sponsors of the RESTORE Act; this legislation dedicates 80 percent of the Clean Water Act fines by BP and other responsible parties to the five states impacted by the oil spill, which Louisiana is in line to receive potentially several billion dollars.

After the storms of 2005 and 2008, she secured $14.5 billion necessary to invest in critical flood protection infrastructure for New Orleans. She secured $13 billion in Road Home funds and authored legislation that generated more than $500 million for Charity Hospital and a $1.8 billion lump sum payment to rebuild New Orleans area schools.

Mary successfully fought to keep thousands of shipbuilding jobs in Louisiana by securing funding to construct the next generation of fast response cutters for the Coast Guard in Louisiana and by working closely with local officials to keep Avondale Shipyards open. She helped create Fort Polk Progress, sparing the base from substantial troop losses, and secured $1 billion for land acquisition and improvements in housing and infrastructure.
As chair of the Homeland Security Appropriations Committee, she secured $7.7 million during the last five years for the Cyber Innovation Center’s education program in Bossier City that will train the next generation of cyber warriors.

Because of her leadership as chair of the Small Business Committee, there are now 2,600 Small Business Administration lenders — twice as many from when she assumed her chairmanship of the committee.

Mary also fights for those in Louisiana that Washington has forgotten: children, farmers, veterans, women and working families. She secured tens of millions of dollars for education and $80 million in broadband infrastructure for rural Louisiana. She worked to improve veterans’ health care and stood up for victims of domestic abuse, directing federal dollars to support battered women’s shelters.

She advocates for a robust oil and gas industry that fuels our economy and supports 300,000 jobs in Louisiana.

She is a tough, independent senator who has the guts to take hard votes.

Can our state afford another hiatus given these and more difficult times ahead?

Some would like to unseat Sen. Landrieu in frustration over President Obama’s administration. This I feel is shortsightedness.

Sen. Mary Landrieu is, without question, our best chance for continued legislation in favor of Louisiana regardless of who is in the White House.

William J. Doré is chief executive officer of Doré Energy and founder/retired chairman/CEO of Global Industries Ltd. (now Technip). The genesis of Global Industries was 1973 when Doré purchased Global Divers and Contractors Inc. and started his business in Lafayette. He was born and raised in New Iberia and earned a master’s degree in education from McNeese State University.

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