[StBernard] LRA Board Leadership Calls for 2008 Presidential Debate in New Orleans

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Tue Oct 2 23:40:15 EDT 2007

LRA Board Leadership Calls for 2008 Presidential Debate in New Orleans

BATON ROUGE (October 2, 2007) - The leadership of the Louisiana Recovery Authority's (LRA) Board of Directors today joined the chorus of voices calling for the Commission on Presidential Debates to select New Orleans as a host city for a 2008 presidential debate. The Commission will announce the debate locations this month.

LRA Chairman Norman C. Francis and Vice Chairman Walter Isaacson wrote a letter to the Commission's Co-Chairmen Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr. and Paul G. Kirk, Jr. noting both the historic significance of holding a debate in New Orleans and broad support for the city's bid.

"Presidential debates are historic in their own right, a chance for the voting public to see the candidates for president square off in spirited discussion of the critical issues facing this nation," Francis and Isaacson wrote. "Couple this with the historic recovery - the largest rebuilding this country has seen since the Reconstruction - and there clearly is no better place than New Orleans for those vying to be the next President to lay out their plans for improving this country from coast to coast."

"The hurricanes of 2005, Hurricane Katrina in particular, drew the nation's attention to questions that have remained unanswered for years - how do we repair our ailing infrastructure, fix our public schools, improve our health care system, fight crime and train our workforce for the skilled jobs of tomorrow. In New Orleans and across the Gulf Coast, we are addressing these issues head on and have been doing so for the past two years. The next President must address these issues as well, making New Orleans the perfect venue for Presidential candidates to show how their leadership on our recovery would provide a model for their approach to a slew of pressing domestic issues from housing to health care and education to economic development."

* Click here to read the full text of the letter. <http://lra.louisiana.gov/assets/LRASupportforNOLAdebate.pdf>

New Orleans' application to be a debate host was spearheaded by a unique coalition of groups, including the Women of the Storm, Dillard University, Loyola University, Tulane University and Xavier University. The Commission visited possible host cities, including New Orleans, between June and September and will select and announce its decision this month.

Six candidates for president and publications, including the New Orleans Times Picayune, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, USA Today and TIME Magazine, have endorsed the idea of New Orleans hosting a 2008 presidential debate. Most recently, TIME magazine encouraged readers to voice their support of the city's application. Supporters can e-mail letters to neworleansdebate at timemagazine.com <mailto:neworleansdebate at timemagazine.com> and TIME will forward these letters to the Commission.

For more information about New Orleans' bid to host a debate, visit www.womenofthestorm.net <http://www.womenofthestorm.net> .

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated South Louisiana, claiming 1,464 lives, destroying more than 200,000 homes and 18,000 businesses. The Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) is the planning and coordinating body that was created in the aftermath of these storms by Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco to lead one of the most extensive rebuilding efforts in the world. The LRA is a 33-member body which is coordinating across jurisdictions, supporting community recovery and resurgence, ensuring integrity and effectiveness, and planning for the recovery and rebuilding of Louisiana.


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