We can’t cut our way to excellence. When you cut the fat, you have to grow muscle. Representative Walt Leger III delivered these messages to the over two hundred members of the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. Having finished his final day of his legislative session only two days prior, Representative Leger boiled down the many pressing issues facing his fellow Congressmen.
Immediately, Leger took a stand against political party bickering, while reaffirming that New Orleans must, must, must, MUST continue to do what it does best, and do it well – invest in the ports of the region as well as the cultural recreation and tourism of New Orleans. However, the government could not get there by simply cutting out other expenses, as Representative Leger cited the continued severe lack of funding of both K-12 and secondary education, which would only weaken the state by dismissing its children and future. Instead, Leger emphasized streamlining the government and building opportunities into the framework of New Orleans with initiatives such as the recently passed legislation for Benefit Corporations or “B Corporations”, which uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.
Representative Leger finished with a bold sustainability master plan of 50 billion dollars that will create tens of thousands of jobs by investing in both manufactured and natural capital of the land and Mississippi River. He reaffirmed this message by echoing a quote from President Theodore Roosevelt, “It’s not what we have that will make us a great nation, it is the way in which we use it.”