Resilient Louisiana Commission Makes Recommendations

In a November 20 press announcement, Co-Chairs Don Pierson and Terrie Sterling and
other Resilient Louisiana commissioners released their report of long-term recommendations for creating a more resilient Louisiana. Following the COVID-19 outbreak, Gov. Edwards created the Resilient Louisiana Commission to determine ways the state can better protect itself against disruptions, such as public health emergencies and natural disasters.

The report, Comprehensive Game Plan for a More Resilient Louisiana , highlights those
recommendations based on input from over 300 citizens serving on the Resilient Louisiana Commission and its 15 task forces. Public input guided the months-long process.

“We are pleased to receive this comprehensive guide for making Louisiana a more resilient, successful state in the face of challenges that come our way,” Gov. John Bel
Edwards said. “As leaders, we need to embrace the spirit and intelligence of this document and take action to make Louisiana stronger. Public health, safety, education,
infrastructure, workforce, the economy and the future of our children are all at stake. I
encourage elected officials, the general public and our private sector to join me in acting upon the important recommendations of the commission.”

Pierson, who serves as Louisiana Economic Development’s cabinet secretary, and Sterling, a healthcare management consultant and CEO, lead the 18-member Resilient Louisiana Commission that provided near-term recommendations in May for safely reopening the economy during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The new report reflects the commission’s second major duty: recommending long-term steps to resiliency, according to the announcement.

“Access to healthcare is broader than bricks and mortar,” Co-Chair Sterling said. “It is
important to create systems and structures to support the health of our citizens, as we
certainly may face pandemics and public health challenges in the future.”

The commission’s long-term recommendations include making strategic investments in public health infrastructure and programs to enhance the well-being of Louisiana residents, with a focus on healthy food programs, rural hospital stabilization and access to broadband internet statewide that can improve education and telemedicine services.

Other recommendations include creating an Office of Social Equity to address gender equity, housing, homelessness, and community vulnerabilities; expanding economic inclusion through the creation of an Office of Rural Development, through a living wage initiative, through incentives that promote equitable economic opportunity, and through increased business opportunity for women, minority and veteran entrepreneurs.

In addition to prioritized investment in early childhood education, transportation infrastructure, more resilient utilities, and better training pathways to jobs, the
commission recommends tools to produce better outcomes in higher education, along
with fiscal reforms to simplify and broaden the state’s tax structure.

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