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Bastrop Daily Enterprise - Bastrop, LA
  • Legislative Luncheon draws top-dog speakers

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  • The annual Legislative Luncheon hosted by the Bastrop-Morehouse Chamber of Commerce was held Tuesday at the Visitor Center with Senator Francis Thompson, Senator Mike Walsworth, Representative Bubba Chaney and Representative Katrina Jackson speaking to a packed house about this year's session. Following a welcome from Bastrop Mayor Arthur Jones, Chamber President Jack Scoggins introduced District 34 Senator Thompson, who shared his views of the Northeast Louisiana Delegation. "We have one of the strongest delegations in Louisiana," Thompson said. "That is because we work as a team and in doing so, we accomplish more." Thompson, whose District encompasses Concordia, Richland, East Carroll, Madison, Morehouse, Tensas and a portion of Ouachita Parish, is a retired educator and has been serving the public since 1975. He serves on the Agricultural, Forestry, Aquaculture and Rural Development Committee as Chairman; the Commerce, Consumer Protection and International Affairs Committee, the Finance Committee, Homeland Security Committee and the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget. Currently Thompson as well as the rest of the delegation are working on the privatization of public hospitals across the state. "I wouldn't have changed these hospitals if it had of been up to me," Thompson said. "But, we hope, by having the northeast hospitals as the last to change, that we can learn from those before us and have what is best for our citizens. "I am excited about what is going on in Morehouse Parish," Senator Mike Walsworth said. "It's all about the quality of life. We have several business opportunities on the horizon, but if you don't have a good quality of life, those will do no good and that is what keeps people living here. "It's time for us to say 'We've had the bad times and they are not over, but the best is yet to come.'" Walsworth who serves District 33, representing Ouachita, Morehouse, West Carroll, Union and Claiborne parishes, was first elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1995 and re-elected in 1999 and 2003. He serves in the Louisiana State Senate after being elected in 2007 and re-elected in 2011. Walsworth currently serves as the Vice Chair of Finance; on the Labor and Industrial Relations Committee, the Agricultural, Forestry, the the Aquaculture and Rural Development Committee, Senate and Governmental Affairs Select Committee, the Homeland Security Committee, the Education Committee, the Environmental Quality Committee and is Chairman of the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget. Representative Bubba Chaney continued along the same line with his comments, stating, "I want to congratulate Kay {King} and the Morehouse Economic Development Board for it's unending pursuit of businesses." Chaney also spoke about EA Conway's privatization. "We have got to make sure patient services are retained at the hospital and that we continue to have student doctors in place to step in as older doctors retire," Chaney said. Chaney represents District 19, which covers parts of East Carroll, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland and West Carroll. Chaney began serving in the House of Representatives in 2007 and was re-elected in 2011. He serves on the Agricultural, Forestry, Aquaculture and Rural Development Committee, the Appropriations Committee, Natural Resources and Environment Committee and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee. District 13 Representative Katrina Jackson, who serves parts of Morehouse and Ouachita parish and currently serves on the Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture and Rural Development Committee, the Health and Welfare Committee, the House Executive Committee, Litigation Subcommittee, Legislative Commerce on the Budget, the Appropriations Committee and Commerce, House and Governmental Affairs, was the last representative to speak. She emphasized the working together the delegation does and spoke about the public school system. "I am a believer in the public school system," Jackson said. " I did not think we were getting enough attention in this field, so I really pushed this during the session. "By having the new Prayer in School bill, we are able to begin the process of making our system better. You can spend as much as you want, but if there is no prayer, something is wrong."

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