Congressman discusses his efforts in D.C.
Congressman Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge, said Tuesday that he and the rest of Louisiana’s congressional delegation have pushed initiatives to help Louisiana and America as a whole.
Graves, who represents Louisiana’s 6th Congressional District, which includes the northern parts of Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes, addressed the South Central Industrial Association Tuesday in Houma.
Graves touched on some positives he sees in the new Trump administration, including moves through executive orders and legislation to reduce burdensome regulations on industry and to decrease illegal immigration.
But Graves also said he would not just rubber stamp everything President Trump wants. He talked about his opposition to some of the president’s initiatives that he said could hurt Louisiana.
“For example, when the budget came out that we were supposed to cut the GOMESA fund for offshore revenue sharing, we stood up to that. We fought that,” Graves said. “I’m very happy to announce that the appropriations bill moving through the House next month prevents those funds from being cut.”
Graves said keeping the offshore money means the state’s coastal restoration revenue will continue to flow into projects that will fight flooding and land loss and are estimated to be up to $120 million a year.
He also spoke on three items he is working on that he said will benefit south Louisiana: the oil industry, flood insurance and the red snapper season. Primary among these was his focus on the oil industry and the struggles its decline has put on local people and the state.
“You all know what has happened in the energy industry over the last seven years. Estimates indicate that over 35 percent of the jobs in Louisiana energy industry have been lost, and you all know that’s one of the biggest sectors of our economy,” Graves said. “As a result of some of the executive orders I already mentioned, we’re already seeing some improvements in the industry.”
As he took questions, Graves discussed the problems with dredging the Houma Navigation Canal and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which he said needs some reforms to make it run more efficiently. He also spoke about tax reform, which he said should be easier to achieve than health care reform.
Graves ended his address talking about the political divisions and polarization in American politics. He denounced the recent violence caused by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., and last year’s shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge before calling for Americans to focus on the qualities that unite rather than those that divide.
“There’s so many things we agree on, and we’ve got to recognize our bond as Americans. Our bond as Louisianans. Our bond in south Louisiana is so much more and so much stronger than any of this divisive behavior,” Graves said. “We’re all Americans. We’re all Louisianans. We all care about south Louisiana, and we all care about making sure our kids and our grandkids have a future here in Louisiana.”