Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 1:38 PM
LEESVILLE — Democratic political strategist James Carville called Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., an outspoken advocate for Louisiana, who fights for billions of federal dollars for the state.
Landrieu was honored by Fort Polk Progress on Monday in Leesville for her efforts to make the post a priority in Washington, D.C.
Recently, an Army assessment showed the possibility of troop reductions at Fort Polk because of budget cuts.
“We want to keep soldiers here at Fort Polk,” Landrieu said.
Minimizing the footprint of Fort Polk would be “devastating,” she said.
Fort Polk Progress, which lobbies for the post, has kept Fort Polk growing, Landrieu said.
“We have so much to offer. I am proud that I was able to help organize this group,” Landrieu said. “You have gone way beyond even the vision I had for Fort Polk Progress.”Through her influence on Senate committees, Landrieu has helped bring funds to Fort Polk over the last decade for new facilities, better housing and daycare. Fort Polk Progress chairman Michael Reese said the luncheon was their way of thanking Landrieu for her support.
She said the base is now blended with the community, calling the area “one integrated, fighting economic force.”
Carville said Landrieu is “the leader” in the fight to keep Fort Polk progressing without cutbacks.
“Senator Landrieu — if you see her name it says ‘D’ and then ‘La.’ I told her on the plane coming here it ought to say ‘La.-D’ because this state comes first for her,” Carville said. “If it’s Louisiana getting its fair share, she’s the first one in the fight and the last one to leave.”
Carville, who was a political consultant to former president Bill Clinton, touted the improvements in quality of life at Fort Polk.
“For me, (Fort Polk) makes sense not just in terms of a personal or emotional connection, which I certainly have to this area, but it makes sense just as a citizen of the United States,” Carville said. “As somebody who cares about these young people...who are serving in the military and have to raise a family...they need a place where they can get a good public education, where they have (good) cost of living and they can focus on their mission and the job they have to do.”