Charles Boustany speaks to Crowley Rotary Club

By Shantelle Breaux

ONLINE EDITOR

CROWLEY – The Crowley Rotary Club welcomed guest speaker Charles Boustany, U.S. Representative for District 7, who was just recently elected to his third term in Congress.

Boustany began his remarks with a heartfelt message to the many veterans in the audience.

“Thank you to all the veterans. I’m really, really thankful to you for your service,” he said.

Boustany thanked everyone for their support during the recent election. He cited many problems that have plagued the nation recently, including the recent hurricanes, the economic crisis, high gas prices, job losses, and healthcare issues.

“Over the last year, it’s become so clear that we need good leadership in Congress,” he said. “It will take a lot of thoughtful work.”

“I’m pledging to do my part.”

Going further in depth, Boustany cited what he believes are four major issues affecting the district – jobs and the economy, energy, healthcare and coastal protection.

Addressing jobs and the economy, he said he believes that a better job needs to be done at all levels of education, to prepare children to function in the world. He also said that better worker training programs need to be implemented.

“We need to take care of our own right here at home.”

Addressing energy concerns, Boustany pointed out that the U.S. sends about $700 billion dollars overseas to purchase oil from countries not always friendly to America.

A comprehensive energy policy, according to Boustany, needs to be created. He believes this will go a long way toward alleviating the U.S.’s national security problems and creating good, high paying American jobs. He also believes it will lead to the next energy economy with alternative fuels.

“I’m optimistic Louisiana will be a leader in this area.”

Addressing healthcare issues, he stated that the healthcare industry needs to focus more on prevention, early detection, and establishing good doctor-patient relationships built on trust

Lastly, he addressed a critical problem for Louisiana – coastal protection.

“Our economy depends on our coastline,” he stated. He also said that if too much of Louisiana’s wetlands are lost, parts of the economy that depend on the coast will by the wayside.

According to Boustany, the new administration in Washington will face challenges, and he is willing to work with them – but not if it is not in the best interests of the district.

He opened the floor to audience questions, which covered a broad spectrum and covered a possible additional stimulus package, possible tax raises, and the direction the country is going.

One question asked addressed the limits placed due to refinery capacity. Boustany agreed that the country is definitely limited by the number of refineries in operation today, and pointed out the last refinery in this country was built in 1976. He also stated that the refineries along the coast are vulnerable to being shut down periodically due to hurricanes. Better infrastructure is needed, he said.

Addressing a question poised about another possible stimulus package, he stated that a lot of talk is going around, but that he suspects there will not be a lame-duck session.

As for possible tax raises, Boustany stated that he personally, is opposed to this, saying it “strikes right at the heart of the growth of our economy.”

According to Boustany, the ways to stimulate the economy include providing tax cuts to small businesses who are creating jobs and cutting corporate taxes. He stated that this will go a long way beyond just providing a stimulus package.

He also addressed the direction that America needs to go.

“American society has gotten away from some core values that made us great,” he said, speaking about personal responsibility.

Also, he emphasized, “We don’t have financial literacy in this country,” indicating that these are areas that need to be worked on.

At the end the meeting, Rotary member Scott Private stated, “It’s hard to get good people to run for office. Everyone owes you a big thank you for running for office.”

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