U.S. Sen. Cassidy visits Ascension leaders

Greg Fischer Editor-in-chief
Cassidy speaks with La. Rep. Clay Schexnayder and other parish leaders at the Carli-Co Cafe' in Gonzales Friday.

Louisiana's U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy visited Ascension Parish last week to discuss the needs of the parish and the connection to Washington D.C.

Cassidy, who grew up on Ward Creek in Baton Rouge, said they touched upon things like the Trump economy.

"[We discussed] the Trump economy," Cassidy said. "We talked about conservative judges, immigration, the need to control the border, flood insurance issues, and recovery from the Great Flood of 2016."

He stressed the delegation's efforts to address the issue of duplication of benefits as well as how FEMA is managing the payments for school campuses. Cassidy mentioned that Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux brought up opioids.

"I think [local leaders] are pleased with the economy," Cassidy said. "They are pleased with people in Ascension and elsewhere getting better jobs, or maybe keeping the same job and getting paid better. There was a lot of excitement about folks getting off of disability and getting back into the workforce."

Cassidy added that over the past eight years the rest of the country has had trouble getting jobs but Ascension has had it figured out.

"Now that President Trump has taken office, what has been known in this parish is going nationwide," he said. "You see wage growth without inflation. Really positive."

Cassidy said that Ascension Parish needs infrastructure, both in terms of roads and sewer systems. The parish also needs regional planning when it comes to flooding. They spoke about that as well.

"What we've recently passed is money for the Corps. in order to address the Amite River Basin," Cassidy said. "From Bayou Manchac all our multiple parishes in this area run into the Amite, so you have to treat it as a system, not as a one-off. There's money for that, which is obviously very important to this parish."

He said next they were off to Huntsman to tour the plant. Just outside the Carli-Co Cafe' in Gonzales, where the leaders met, stood Parish President Kenny Matassa and La. Rep. Clay Schexnayder.

"He's a good senator, and he tells you the truth about what's going on," Matassa said. "He talked about our whole area. The Amite River Basin needs to be studied. We're tired of studies, but when you've got an old study, you need to update it."

"He hits the key issues that we're concerned about," Schexnayder said. "The whole basin has never been studied. No one project is going to fix the whole drainage issue, but you may have a couple smaller ones in there that could help."

DOTD has begun their phase of the Amite study. It may be finished in the next few months.