Jindal addresses gathering
On Tuesday, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal addressed a large gathering at The Grand Opera House of the South in Crowley, telling them that “he believes the 21st century belongs to the United States.”
“To quote Winston Churchill, democracy is the worst form of government except for the alternatives,” he said.
Former Crowley Mayor Isabella delaHoussaye introduced Jindal.
“We are honored to have you as our guest,” she said. “The stage is yours.”
Jindal began by discussing the path his parents took when they moved to the United States.
“They didn’t know anybody when they moved to Baton Rouge,” he said. “They lived the American dream.”
The governor mentioned how, when he graduated from high school, it was”the middle of the oil bust.”
“For 25 years in a row we were the only state in the country that had more people leaving than were moving here,” he said. “Our sons and daughters had to leave their homes to pursue their dreams.”
Jindal mentioned four things that his administration did since he took office in 2008 to halt the flow of people leaving the state.
“Within a month of when we took office we held a special session on ethics,” he said. “I’ll bet everybody in here has a favorite Louisiana politician joke.
“Billy Tauzin once said that half of his district was under water the other half was under indictment,” said Jindal to the laughter of those in attendance.
“One of the best things we could do to attract business was to get rid of corruption.”
Jindal also discussed how his administration had another session to “get rid of taxes that other states didn’t have.”
Among these were taxes on debt, utilities and new equipment.
“We now have the fourth lowest state and local taxes combined of any state in the country,” said Jindal. “It’s pretty simple, if you want a business to move to your state don’t tax them.”
Jindal said his third priority upon taking office was to “change our work force’s training program.”
“Seventy percent of companies say that one of their main concerns is finding skilled workers,” he said.
“We created Louiana Fast Start which is rated one of the top work force training programs for the last four years in a row,” he said. “We have improved our community colleges so that our employers know that our workers are ready to start on their first day on the job.”
Jindal said that one of the most important things his administration has done was to “continue reforming K through 12 education.”
He directly addressed Jennifer Habetz’s fifth grade class from St. Michael Catholic School, who were in attendance.
“Whatever your dreams are, whatever you want to do it starts with getting a good education,” he said. “Many of these kids will want to go to a four-year college and that’s great. But to those who don’t want to attend college, we need to get them enrolled in community colleges.
“There are good paying jobs for students who leave school with a skill.”
Jindal said that another area where our state has improved significantly is health care.
“Thanks to our public/private partnerships we have saved Louisiana taxpayers over $100 million and improved the quality of health care for our people,” he said. “For example, in Baton Rouge you used to wait 10 days for a prescription now you wait 10 minutes.”
Jindal then said he wanted to discuss the results of his administration’s work.
“In the last six years, our state’s economy has grown 50 percent faster than the rest of the nation,” he said. “Right now in Louisiana we have more people living here than ever before, and the highest ever per capital income in our state’s history.
“We have over 8,000 new jobs and our unemployment rate is below the average of the southern states and the nation,” he said.
Jindal said that the most important result has been the growth of the state’s population.
“For the last six years we’ve had more people moving into Louisiana than we’ve had leaving our state,” he said. “What this means is our sons and daughters are coming home, but we can’t declare victory until every child can pursue their dreams right here in Louisiana.”
District 42 Representative Jack Montoucet was originally set to speak with Governor Jindal but was unable to due to Jindal’s time constraints.