"Sometimes we just say 'It's Louisiana,' but if we continue to have that mindset, we will never see improvements to our state."
The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) is the most effective advocacy organization in the state.
Stephen Waguespack serves as president of the LABI, and works to enhance the association's focus on federal issues, research, and policies. On September 20, he spoke at the Ascension Republican Women's GOP Roundtable event.
Waguespack, who has 20 years of experience in the political world, said, "Sometimes we just say 'It's Louisiana,' but if we continue to have that mindset, we will never see improvements to our state. We can't just focus on the good things, like our food and faith, because that won't create any changes to the bad things, like our roads."
Many people are leaving Louisiana because of the "bad stuff," and we're seeing a decrease in population in our state instead of growth. Forty percent of our work force isn't employed, and Louisiana's unemployment rate is more than much of the rest of the country.
"We need to focus on creating a healthy economy with the creation of jobs. This is how other states are winning and keeping their residents. The opportunity for growth and advancement need to be more prevalent, and we can start doing that with reforms to things like Medicare," Waguespack said.
Medicare makes up about forty percent of the states budget, and it doesn't completely help people get to where they really need to be.
Aside from Medicare, Waguespack has also taken a swing at pension reforms.
"A pension reform would prevent new workers from leaving a company after the first five years. Many of the younger workers move on to something new to gain more experience," Waguespack said.
Louisiana has the potential to become a booming place if we look at making some historical changes. This way, we can promote growth here instead of having businesses go to places like Houston.
Waguespack wants to see more local growth, as well as solutions to improve Louisiana. He believes Ascension would have the most to gain by local investing, too.
Follow Darian on Twitter: @dariangshark