Edwards: Coastal erosion, health care, oil and gas among top issues

Former Gov. Edwin Edwards, a candidate for Louisiana’s 6th Congressional District seat, spoke this morning in Morgan City at the St. Mary Parish Chamber of Commerce’s first “Rise-N-Shine” business networking event.
(The Daily Review Photo by Crystal Thielepape)

Former Gov. Edwin Edwards, a candidate for Louisiana’s 6th Congressional District, says the major issues for the state and country include coastal erosion, ensuring domestic oil and gas production, fixing Obamacare, and getting U.S. troops out of Afghanistan.
Edwards spoke to a crowd of about 20 people at the St. Mary Parish Chamber of Commerce’s first “Rise-N-Shine” business networking event at the Hampton Inn & Suites.
Edwards is running for Louisiana’s 6th Congressional District. Morgan City is in the 3rd Congressional District, which Edwards’ nephew U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, represents.
Chamber Marketing Director Lisa Nezat Patterson said when she started working for the chamber in January, she and Chamber President Donna Meyer started planning to hold a new networking event for the community, Patterson said.
Patterson met Edwards at a fundraiser held at NicoBella in May and asked him to come speak at the chamber’s networking event, she said.
The chamber plans to hold another “Rise-N-Shine” event in October but do not yet have a date or venue selected, Patterson said.
In addition to that May fundraiser, Edwards, 87, has visited Morgan City several times throughout his career including the dedication of U.S. 90 in 1970 and a couple times when he provided money to help keep the hospital functioning, he said.
Edwards first became governor in 1972. At that time, he predicted that the price of oil would eventually reach more than $100 a barrel, he said. Over the past decade, the price of oil has hit that mark several times, he said.
Since 1972, the state produced 300 million barrels of oil compared to 77 million barrels produced in 2013, he said. That number is expected to fall by 1.4 percent over the next decade, he said. “It’s a good thing we took advantage of the production when we had it, and we need to study better ways to take advantage of production as we go on,” Edwards said.
Edwards wants to see the construction of the Keystone pipeline. The U.S. imports almost 8 million barrels a day from other countries, and Canadians have oil that they want to sell to the U.S., Edwards said. “We have the refining capacity in Louisiana and Texas to refine the oil,” Edwards said.
The pipeline is necessary to bring that oil from Canada to Louisiana in order for in-state companies to refine the oil, he said.
If Edwards is elected, he plans to get on the House Public Works Committee to ensure the levee protection system is maintained and also plans to address marsh deterioration, he said.
“It’s receding, and if we don’t stop retrenching of the coastline, someday the City of New Orleans will be on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, and this area will be on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico,” Edwards said.
Edwards is concerned with finding out who did the damage or what caused the damage and how much it will cost to repair the coastal land loss, he said.
Edwards also thinks U.S. troops need to get out of Afghanistan because the country is spending millions of dollars that should be spent at home. After U.S. troops killed Osama Bin Laden, the United States’ business in Afghanistan should have been done, Edwards said.
More than 5,000 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan and more than 60,000 troops have suffered loss of limbs or post-traumatic stress injuries defending the country, he said. The U.S. has no reason to still have troops there, he said.
The former governor is frustrated that a general theme of apathy exists in the U.S., especially about the poor, unemployed, or underemployed, Edwards said. “We need to make sure the environment is such that business men and women who want to make a profit and invest are afforded that opportunity because they create the jobs,” Edwards said. “At the same time, we must not overlook the less fortunate who can’t work, old people, injured people, and children who have no parents.”
Even conservatives should be concerned with providing adequate health insurance for the less fortunate because, otherwise, those people without coverage will flood the emergency rooms and cost taxpayers more money, Edwards said.
Obamacare is a big problem for the country, but it has some good provisions contained with the law, Edwards said. Allowing children to stay on their parents health insurance plans until age 26 and letting people who switch jobs keep the same insurance policies are among the positive aspects of the Affordable Care Act, he said. Expanding Medicaid is another benefit of the law, he said.
A negative aspect of the act is that some people have to give up insurance policies that do not meet certain requirements under the law, Edwards said.

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