Rep. Valarie Hodges District 64
The recent historical flood caused heartbreaking devastation to our state and especially to my constituents. As a victim of the flood myself, I know how hard we all are working to rebuild our homes and our community. My heart and my prayers go out to all my constituents whose lives have been so terribly impacted by the flooding. My gratitude goes to all my constituents who may or may not have been affected by the flooding, but who worked heroically, tirelessly and sacrificially to help rescue and restore their fellow neighbors. I am especially proud of law enforcement officers, the Cajun Navy, the Cajun Army and the faith-based organization for their tremendous compassion and efforts in this historic flood event. The nation and the world saw how much love and respect Louisianans have for each other. Louisianans are the most resilient people in America and we will get through this crisis!
In 2014, I formed the on-going Comite River Diversion Canal (CRDC) Project Task Force (HCR51) and currently serve as chairwoman. I believed then and still believe now that the CRDC Project is a vital component of a comprehensive Amite River Basin flood plain management plan which will reduce the effects of flooding in my district and the Greater Baton Rouge area. The August 2016 flood was the fourth largest natural disaster in U. S. history costing an estimated $8 billion dollars. As a result of this historic flood, I have fortified my commitment to see the CRDC Project completed.
As we enter the 2017 legislative session, we start with another special session, February 13-22, 2017, to address the current FY17 budget gap of $304 million. The Governor is presenting a plan asking legislators to tap into the state's rainy day fund along with other agency cuts to balance the budget. Legislators will have a lot of tough decisions to make to shore up the budget. I pledge to work with my fellow legislators to diligently cut spending where possible with the least amount of harm to vital state agencies and institutions as well as the hard working taxpayers.
The 2017 Regular Legislative Session will begin on April 10, 2017 and end on June 8, 2017. I will continue to introduce and/or support legislation that is fiscally responsible, enhances homeland security, opposes sanctuary cities, strengthens family values and religious liberties, toughens abortion laws, prevents human trafficking, supports Second Amendment rights, and improves our educational systems and our health and hospitals systems. I plan to again submit a bill to continue the Comite River Diversion Canal Project Task Force as well as advocate for legislation that will aid in flood recovery. You can find details of bills, agendas and videos of committee and floor debates for both the House and the Senate by visiting www.legis.la.gov.
I am privileged and honored to serve as your voice at the Capitol. Please contact me if you have any concerns about things in our district and our state. Your input is important to me as we work together to build a stronger, more secure Louisiana and create a bright future for our children.