Community Leaders Are Optimistic Community Leaders Are Optimistic
ew City of St. George
Norman Browning, organizer of the movement to incorporate the City of St. George and local business owner, said, “First, I would like to personally thank the many people who work tirelessly toward the City of St. George incorporation effort. This would not be remotely possible if it were not for your hard work. It’s been an honor to work with you all, and I look forward to working together in the future. I would also like to thank all of those citizens who took the time to sign the petition. Remember, every signature counts. So tell your friends, family, and neighbors that ‘I’m in!’ and ask them to please, ‘Take the time to sign!’”
“The effort to incorporate the City of St. George is entering the second half of collecting signatures. We are coming into the New Year with momentum and a positive outlook. We need to finish strong. I think 2014 will be a historical year for East Baton Rouge Parish and the new City of St. George!”
Voters Can Change Things
Congressman Bill Cassidy, M.D.,
a physician and member of Congress from Baton Rouge, said, “As we enter 2014, I’m concerned that Americans will continue to feel the heavy burden of Obamacare. The flawed roll out of healthcare.gov was only the beginning. Starting right now, Louisiana families will see their paychecks squeezed as Obamacare taxes and fees go into effect. Employers have already begun cutting jobs to avoid Obamacare whenever possible, hurting our economy and families. When the health insurance tax starts this year, families will see their monthly health care costs go up as much as $360. Seniors will begin to see higher premiums as the heavy cuts to Medicare Advantage are implemented.”
“As bad as Obamacare is, I am optimistic. Americans have an opportunity to say enough is enough, and demand that Washington repeal this law and replace it with market-based solutions that give the power to the patient, not the DC bureaucrat.”
Energy Will Fuel Growth
Cecil Cavanaugh, CPA, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of East Baton Rouge, said, “The EBR Chamber primarily represents small business. Having just completed our first year and being recognized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, we look forward to 2014 as being a growth year for our members and for the people of East Baton Rouge Parish.
“The Chamber EBR sees 2014 as a pivotal year, both economically and politically. We believe that EBR will continue to grow economically, due to our smaller, independent school districts in Zachary and Central and more abundant energy resources. Both of these attributes will continue to attract people and businesses to our parish.
“Our biggest concern is how the National Affordable Health Care Act will affect small business. Its inconsistencies and uncertainties will impede small business growth and expansion. We believe EBR has the basics requirements for growth and that our taxes provide enough revenue, but the parish must better prioritize spending. The time for looking to the state or Washington for financial help is over. We must stand on our own two feet. We expect a great year ahead. May God continue to guide and bless us. Have a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!”
2014: A Year of Decision
Paul Dietzel II, founder of Anedot and Republican candidate for Congress from the 6th District, said, “In 2014, Louisianans will have a choice. Will we continue to grow jobs and small businesses, or will we let Washington, D.C. hold us back?”
“Louisiana businesses are exponentially expanding, but we are reaching a tipping point. This year, new tax increases, mandates, and regulations created by Obamacare and the EPA threaten to stifle Louisiana’s economic progress. In this November’s election, we can send a message to the Washington liberals by electing fresh faces to Congress. I’m running for Louisiana’s 6th Congressional District because we need to send more foward-looking entrepreneurs to Congress who have actually balanced budgets, made tough financial decisions, and created jobs.”
“Louisiana’s voters want fresh perspectives that empower our state’s families and businesses, and in 2014, we must elect new leaders to fight for our state’s future.”
Central Election Is Key
Brennan Easley, president/CEO of Trade Construction, which is an industrial contractor and pipe fabrication company for the oil and gas and petrochemical industries said, “2013 was a good year for our business but we expect 2014 to be even better because of the growth in our industries due to low natural gas prices. Everyone has been hearing all the announcements of all the upcoming projects. We’ve had jobs from Houston to Baton Rouge and in the Northeast US and expect to do much more in the years ahead.”
“Health care is our biggest concern. Obamacare has a lot of unknowns. However, the things happening in the energy field are so strong that I expect the economy to grow despite Obamacare. There will be more jobs and more people building homes. Here in Central, the election this spring is very critical. We are on our way to a lot of positive things with the opening of the Central Thruway and the new Magnolia Bridge. We are looking forward to the widening of Sullivan Road and the widening of Hooper Road and its extension across the Amite River. Our schools are outstanding and one of our best assets. But good leadership is so important, and that’s why the election for Central’s Mayor and City Council will be critical April 4.”
Go East, Young Man!
Hank Henagan, retired business owner and Marketplace Minister of Bethany Church, said, “I am excited about 2014 and the Economic Development taking place in East Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas. My Grandfather always said, ‘As long as there is water in the Mississippi River, Baton Rouge South will always have a good economy,’ and he was right! The exciting news of plant expansions and major corporations building new buildings and relocating here is something to be excited about.”
“We at Bethany Church and our pastor, Jonathan Stockstill, are also excited about our new Bethany Livingston Campus opening up in Walker on February 9. The clarion call to young people 150 years ago was, ‘Go West, Young Man, Go West!’ But the call today is, “Go East, Young Man, Go East!’”
“Let’s remember for 2014 what Winston Churchill said many years ago, ‘We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.’ So to all of family and friends in East Baton Rouge and the metropolitan area, ‘Let’s Continue to Give in 2014 and Be Blessed for it!’ Love Y’all!”
Double Digit Growth
Michael S. Hudson, market manager for Clear Channel Media & Entertainment, said “I expect 2014 to be strong in all sectors of our marketplace because of the unprecedented economic development occurring in Baton Rouge and surrounding parishes. The very affordable natural gas prices we’re enjoying now and forecasted for the future are the catalyst to significant industrial expansion and construction. I expect our local unemployment rate to shrink further and our population to expand with skilled labor and professional newcomers embracing our amazing community.”
“The money multiplier impact from these new payrolls and citizens will benefit all business sectors from automobiles to medicine. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Baton Rouge will continue to improve its media and digital assets to meet the needs of our growing community. We had incredible double digit growth in 2013. Our Baton Rouge team believes we can continue the momentum from 2013 throughout 2014.”
Demand for Bandwidth
Gil Matherne, president/CEO of GM Cable, one of state’s largest contractors building fiber optic and cable systems, said, “We are based in Central but our work comes from across the state and nation. We saw a 20 percent increase in 2013 and expect stronger growth this year. There’s a growing need for bandwidth, and we are supplying it. Anywhere you find large concentrations of people, greater capacity is needed. We’re building more networks, putting more fiber in the ground. So much today is electronically driven. You can still use copper but you can do so much more with fiber. Not only indoors but outside too. One of the biggest growth areas is the plants. Whereas a man used to turn a value on or off, today it is done by computer. We build the system that makes it possible. Big companies have to make investments to be more competitive. This year we are becoming much more selective in who we work with. We have to front the cost of our work, and that takes a lot of money. So we are not doing business with slow paying companies.”
A Great Year for Print
Amy Plaisance, publisher of Baton Rouge Parents Magazine, said, “We’re looking forward to what’s on the horizon and meeting the resolutions we set for 2014. This year promises to be a great year for print media.
“The mission of the magazine has not changed. Twenty-four years ago, Baton Rouge Parents Magazine was created, predicated on the belief that our community was the best city in the state to raise a family. Parents know they can rely on a wide selection of safe neighborhoods, an award-winning parks system, superb health care, and numerous youth sports programs. The wealth of high quality education and childcare also speaks to the value that is placed on the word ‘family’ in our culture.
“As one of the oldest, continuously published monthly magazines in Baton Rouge offering a distinctively local perspective on issues affecting families, our free monthly also publishes resource information about local events intended to assist parents in raising happy, healthy children.
“This year marks the homestretch of the integration of our print, website, social and digital media, our ‘Parent Universe,’ to connect parents with up-to-date information, ideas, opinions, expert advice, local calendars of events, media reviews and information about the myriad of issues confronted by and discussed among today’s Baton Rouge families.
“Baton Rouge Parents Magazine is one the most decorated parenting publications in the country, having won numerous Parenting Media Association, Medill School of Journalism, University of Missouri School of Journalism awards for editorial, photographic, and production excellence. Best of all, you can pick up a copy just about everywhere that parents go — daycare centers, private schools, doctor’s offices, hospitals, bookstores, museums, theaters and all area McDonald’s.
“We have many more big initiatives on our plate. These are exciting times for our company, our readers, our customers, and our employees. But above all, our perennial New Year’s resolution is providing the best information that Baton Rouge Families Live By.”
A Banner Year for EBR
Sen. Dan Richey, political consultant and former state senator, “Thinking optimistically, 2014 should be a banner year for East Baton Rouge Parish! The City of St. George should be incorporated; several new schools should be on the drawing board for the new city; Mary Landrieu should have more time to spend with her family; the petro-chemical industry should be booming; the suit against CATS should lower our property taxes; Common Core should be debunked at the Capitol; there should be several conservatives looking at the Governor’s race for 2015; Kip Holden should be officially tagged as a ‘lame duck’ Mayor; Bobby Jindal should be spending more time in Louisiana; LSU Sports should climb to a Top Tier Program in the country; Louisiana should continue to be the top ‘Pro-Life’ state in America; and the Chamber of Commerce of East Baton Rouge should continue to provide a voice for small business.”
Port Allen Is Looking Up!
Hugh Riviere, Port Allen City Councilman, said, “Things are on the upswing in Port Allen. After our tumultuous 2013, we are moving forward in 2014 with a balanced budget. A highlight in our budget is a $375,000 capital outlay dedicated to the upgrade and maintenance of our city’s infrastructure. Other highlights of our recently adopted budget include the first of three annual $180,000 expenditures to replace an aging Police Department fleet, and a 2.35 percent pay increase for city employees. I see better days ahead for us in Port Allen!”
“We in Port Allen are fortunate to be a part of the solid tax base of West Baton Rouge Parish. Sales tax revenues are outpacing those of the previous year, and we look for that to continue. The economy in WBR is strong. I believe our nation’s economy is a powerful machine. Certainly, there need to be regulations and safeguards, but not to the point of hindering economic growth and the entrepreneurial spirit that makes America and its hardworking people who we are.”
A Great Year for Central
Jr. Shelton, local realtor and candidate for Mayor of the City of Central, said, “The City of Central is poised for historic times. As a young municipality, we have been faced with many challenges in structuring a city and a business environment that will bring about economic prosperity. 2013 had many ups and downs throughout the United States, but Central has maintained tax revenues and grown in property values. The three economic indicators nationally are the banking industry, the housing market, and the automobile industry.”
“When you look at Central in terms of these three indicators, we are doing very well. The large number of financial institutions located in Central and how well they are doing show we possess significant resources that the banking industry is vying to get into their coffers. The housing market continues to be strong in Central, because of the advantages families see in locating in Central, in large part because of our award-winning school system. The automotive industry is strong in Central too with more than $60 million a year in new car purchases by our citizens. All three of these positive factors position Central for 2014 to be a banner year economically.”
“Perhaps the biggest new factor in the Central economy is the Central Thruway. With this infrastructure, along with Joor Road running from LA 64 to Florida Boulevard and Hooper Road going from Greenwell Springs Road to the airport, Central has become arguably the most accessible city in the parish. Our city is now open to the buying public throughout the region. The potential for investment along the thruway by businesses will add to our property taxes in record amounts. Couple these economic pieces with the Municipal elections in April, and Central should have a historic and hopefully robust economy for 2014.”
Roll Back Obamacare
Sen. David Vitter (R-Louisiana)said, “Wendy and I are carefully considering whether I should run for Governor in 2015. Whatever our decision, though, I look forward to tackling big, important issues in the U.S. Senate during the year ahead.
“Our biggest challenge is to slow and reverse our country’s march to socialism under Barack Obama. Most people now understand that Obamacare’s problems aren’t just about its website or rollout; rather, Obamacare is fatally flawed.
“I’ll be deeply involved in conservative efforts to delay Obamacare and then roll it back, including ending the Washington exemption from Obamacare. We must also present our own targeted health care reform ideas – a clear set of workable alternatives.
“This issue will have a lot to do with how voters respond in the November 2014 elections. We have an excellent opportunity to end Democratic/Harry Reid control of the U.S Senate, including through Bill Cassidy’s challenge to Mary Landrieu here in Louisiana.
“I’ll also be very involved during 2014 in important issues that affect Louisiana. We must reform the National Flood Insurance Program to avoid unaffordable rate increases and pass fiscally responsible Water Resources and Highway bills that build essential Louisiana infrastructure and help grow good jobs. Perhaps most importantly longer term, we need to stabilize and improve K-12 and higher education. 2014 will be an important year, and I look forward to representing you in the United States Senate.”