SHREVEPORT, La (KTAL/KMSS) – Governor John Bel Edwards signed an executive order Friday aimed at helping Louisiana’s rural communities take on the challenges they face in everything from clean water to high-speed internet access.
The order formally establishes the Governor’s Advisory Council on Rural Revitalization.
According to the governor’s office, the Council will identify the needs and issues facing Louisiana’s vital rural 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, and we are no different here in Louisiana. They bear a disproportionate burden of poverty, lack adequate access to healthcare, education and other basic necessities. This council will help us identify their unique challenges and help implement effective and innovative Louisiana solutions,” Gov. Edwards said in a statement issued Friday after signing the order. “It’s in the best interests of our state to engage in a centralized and coordinated effort to further the revitalization of our rural areas and make certain the resources are available to help them grow in a sustainable way.”
The advisory council will be comprised of 34 key state and local stakeholders appointed by the Governor who also appointed his retired chief of staff, former Senator Ben Nevers as chairman.
The Council will develop and submit a comprehensive strategic plan to the Governor by January 5, 2021, and annual progress reports thereafter.
The duties of the council include:
– Advising the Governor on issues of concern to the citizens of rural Louisiana;
– Identifying the needs, issues, and solutions relative to rural revitalization, including economic development, education, healthcare, infrastructure, clean water, housing, workforce development, and broadband;
– Identifying state, federal, and private resources available to facilitate rural revitalization efforts; and
– Identifying best practices from other states and recommend legislation to accomplish the solutions proposed.