Beauregard Parish Police Jury. (Photo courtesy of Pat Williams Construction)
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 09, 2014 5:58 PM
DERIDDER — State Sen. John Smith visited the Beauregard Parish Police Jury on Tuesday and discussed both the previous legislative session and what Beauregard can expect as a result.
Smith said the session was particularly challenging due to a lack of representation from Gov. Bobby Jindal. He said that because the state representatives are part time, statewide initiatives are normally brought forth by the governor.
“This was probably the strangest session that I’ve probably sat through in my 27 years,” Smith said. “Not strange in the sense of what (the Senate) took up or the items that came up but that the governor was not visible at all.”
He described the session as a constant struggle between representatives from urban and rural areas. The state budget, he said, seems to be shrinking every year and that the Beauregard Police Jury could expect to feel the hurt.
“So there’s more and more, or should I say less and less, money for this committee to go out and build roads with,” he said.
But he said Beauregard Parish’s economy was “better than most,” and described the slew of capital outlay money it will receive from the state, including money for roads, water districts, playground equipment and sewage improvements.
Police Juror Carlos Archield asked Smith for his thoughts on the recent announcement that Fort Polk was being eyed for a reduction of as many as 6,500 soldiers and civilian workers.
“It’s scary,” Smith said. “We’ve just been through a year of trying to correct the misinformation the Pentagon had and the Army and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and now we’re faced with another reduction possibility.”
He said the area should be concerned because Louisiana has fewer representatives than other states that face proposed troop reductions.