Gov. Edwards Addresses Press at City Club

Gov. John Bel Edwards listed his accomplishments in office in a speech to members of the Louisiana Press Association at their annual meeting held at the City Club in Baton Rouge.
Central City News editor Woody Jenkins asked the governor if President Trump has been cooperative in working with him in the interests of Louisiana.
Gov. Edwards said he has met with President Trump on nine separate occasions. He said, “Our state needs help. The better the relationship with the President, the easier it is to deliver.” He said he was pleased the President backed the First Step Act after a two-hour meeting. The First Step Act facilitates
felons reentering the work force.
Asked if there is a Democrat running for President he could support, the governor said he is runniing his own race for reelection right now.
Jolice Provost of the Central City News asked Edwards about Duplication of Benefits rules, which have prevented victims of the August 2016 floods who took out SBA loans from getting assistance made available to others.
The governor said the he is waiting on new rules on Duplication of Benefits to come down from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He said $1.2 billion in assistance is available but access to those dollars is awaiting action by the Washington bureaucracy.
Gov. Edwards said his administration is responsible for changing the largest budget deficit into a surplus. However, the budget deficit was in his proposed budget, which he increased substantially over the prior year, and the reason there was a surplus was because of the large tax increase which he proposed to the legislature and passed.
The governor said he is able to work with the Republican majority in the Louisiana Legislature. Cooperation like we have here isn’t possible in Washington, he said.
He said the seven special sessions he called should not have been necessary.

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