Thursday, September 13, 2007

Message from Senator Landrieu

Louisiana's senior U.S. Senator, Mary Landrieu, is one of only two Senate Democrats facing a close re-election race next year. She sent the following e-mail today.
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Dear Friend,

Throughout the month of August, I toured Louisiana to get a first-hand look at what's happening in communities across our state -- both the good things and the various problems we still face. In addition to seeing many of you along the way, what I saw and learned from my trip reinforced for me the major issues that I will continue to fight for in Washington.

Clearly, different regions of our state have different needs: Some areas are still in recovery, while some are experiencing strong growth; some need investments in infrastructure based on sound master planning, while some would benefit most from increased economic development and revitalization.

Two of the crucial areas where we need to focus our efforts are on federal investments in infrastructure and smart growth policies. Not only do investments in infrastructure help us prepare for disasters like the ones we saw here in Louisiana two years ago, they also help our economy grow by ensuring the safe and efficient transport of workers and goods throughout our state and beyond.

Promoting smart growth creates unique challenges for each community. My travels underscored the importance of smart planning throughout the growth process in order to control sprawl and congestion, attract tourism and convention business, and bring new jobs to our communities. From generating growth to managing it effectively, ensuring planned, sustainable growth throughout Louisiana is critical to our state's future.

But how do we address these issues of infrastructure and managed growth and implement an agenda that promotes opportunity? One of my primary goals in Washington always has been and always will be to fight for a government that works. The response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita showed us that many federal agencies have been ineffective and tied up in red tape. Clearly, we can't continue to ask taxpayers to pour billions of dollars into agencies and bureaucracies that don't work.

My colleagues on both sides of the aisle agree that serious reform is needed to get us an efficient, well managed government. As Chairman of the Disaster Recovery Subcommittee in the Senate I've taken the lead in investigating areas of abuse and developing responsible reforms, and I will continue to work with Democrats and Republicans alike to make sure our government works for us -- and not the other way around.

We also need to ensure that every Louisianan has the opportunity in life to succeed, and the most important foundation for creating that opportunity is a school system that prepares our children to be competitive in a global economy.

From our elementary and secondary schools that prepare our children to succeed in life to the colleges and universities that drive our economy forward, I am always on the lookout for ways to improve education in Louisiana. From charter school pilot programs to tuition credits and deductions that make it easier to afford college, I will continue to fight for increased educational opportunity and school reform.

But to secure the reforms that our state needs, we need to put aside old divisions and differences and work together. Instead of putting party first, we need to stay focused on our goal of putting Louisiana first.

In the end, Louisianans are far more united than divided on the major issues we are facing together. Government competency, investments in infrastructure, smart planning and growth management, and basic opportunity through education are neither partisan nor ideological -- they're just common sense.

As your United States Senator, I will continue to fight on behalf of all Louisianans to produce real reforms that directly address these critically important issues.

Thank you so much for your continued support.

Sincerely,
Mary Landrieu
U.S. Senator

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