Gov. Edwards Creates ‘Rural Revitalization’ Council

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards waves to the crowd during his inauguration at the state Capitol in Baton Rouge, La., Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Brett Duke)

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards created a study group aimed at identifying and responding to the decline in Louisiana’s rural communities, where population has dwindled amid problems with job creation, infrastructure and education systems.

The Democratic governor Friday signed an executive order establishing a Governor’s Advisory Council on Rural Revitalization.

The 34-member panel is charged with determining the needs of rural communities on issues such as economic development, education, health care, water, housing and broadband internet access — and finding financing options to help address the problems.

A strategic plan is due by January 2021.

“The rural communities are important to our state, and the people who make up those communities are important to us all,” Edwards said as he announced the plans at the Police Jury Association of Louisiana’s annual convention in Shreveport.

Edwards’ former chief of staff Ben Nevers, an ex-state senator from Bogalusa, will serve as chairman of the advisory council.

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