[StBernard] LRA Board Leadership Disappointed New Orleans will not host 2008 Presidential Debate
Westley at da-parish.com
Mon Nov 19 21:19:52 EST 2007
LRA Board Leadership Disappointed New Orleans will not host 2008 Presidential Debate
BATON ROUGE, La. (November 19, 2007) - The leadership of the Louisiana Recovery Authority's (LRA) Board of Directors expressed disappointment with the decision by the Commission on Presidential Debates to reject New Orleans' application to host a presidential debate in 2008, despite broad support by candidates for President, national and local publications and state leaders.
"I am disheartened that the Commission on Presidential Debates has chosen not to select New Orleans as host for a presidential debate in 2008. This is a historic time for the city and our state, a time when many organizations and associations have chosen to hold their major national events in New Orleans. Thousands of hotel rooms are available, the Superdome and the Convention Center have reopened and businesses and homeowners are coming back each day," said LRA Chairman Norman Francis, who is also president of Xavier University, one of the colleges involved in the city's application to host the debate. "Just days ago the first streetcars rumbled down the St. Charles Avenue line, the sound of their bells the most recent sign of the progress happening everywhere and everyday in New Orleans. It is regrettable that the committee selecting the location chose not to participate in or to spotlight our recovery."
"The city of New Orleans is addressing directly a host of domestic issues that other cities also grapple with - from repairing infrastructure to improving schools and bettering health care. This makes New Orleans the ideal stage for the candidates for President to lay out their visions for improving America, from the Gulf Coast and beyond and it is disappointing that they will not have the opportunity to do that," said LRA Vice Chair Walter Isaacson. "Though we had hoped for a different outcome, we thank the Women of the Storm for recognizing this valuable opportunity and leading this important effort to bring a debate to New Orleans. These extraordinary citizen leaders play a crucial role in the city's resurgence after the storms and we commend them for their tenacity and commitment to our city and state."
In October, Francis and 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. Francis also noted the technical capacity of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center to present an extraordinary debate experience.
"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."
* Click here to read the full text of the letter <http://keelson.eatel.net/websites/la.gov/action.cfm?md=communication&task=addClick&msg_ID=4692&ID=dPj1kgm%23lKm%3A&redirect=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. Six candidates for president and publications, including the New Orleans Times Picayune, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, USA Today and TIME Magazine, endorsed the idea of New Orleans hosting a 2008 presidential debate.
* For more information about New Orleans' bid to host a debate, visit www.womenofthestorm.net <http://keelson.eatel.net/websites/la.gov/action.cfm?md=communication&task=addClick&msg_ID=4692&ID=dPj1kgm%23lKm%3A&redirect=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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