2012 was a remarkably productive year for Louisiana. From coastal restoration to economic growth, we scored many victories to move Louisiana forward.
Watch"the short video below as I recap the progress we made in 2012.
In June, Congress passed the RESTORE Act, directing 80 percent of the Clean Water Act fines paid by BP back to the Gulf Coast for economic and ecological restoration. This unprecedented legislation will provide a down payment on our state's Coastal Master Plan, which restores wetlands and protects coastal communities to preserve our unique culture and vital industries.
The RESTORE Act was part of a bipartisan transportation bill to rebuild our crumbling roads, rail, bridges and other critical infrastructure. The bill will help create thousands of jobs in Louisiana.
What"are some of the other victories? Watch the recap.
Infrastructure and Hurricane Protection
This was great progress, but as we were reminded when Hurricane Isaac made landfall in August, our nation's investment in flood protection infrastructure is dangerously insufficient. The $14.5 billion hurricane protection system for the Greater New Orleans area, which the federal government funded after Hurricane Katrina, worked. However, the surrounding communities still need flood protection. I have redoubled my efforts to secure resources to complete the necessary flood protection projects across coastal Louisiana.
All businesses, especially small businesses, count on having solid transportation, flood protection and digital infrastructure to thrive and grow. Throughout the year, I brought experts under one roof in Louisiana communities to help small business owners gain access to capital, discover trade opportunities and take advantage of training.
I'm committed to helping all businesses grow, particularly small businesses. If every one of the 80,000 small businesses in Louisiana hired just one more person, the recession would be far in our rearview mirror.
Keep"reading or watch why 2012 was a great year for Louisiana.
Supporting Our Military and Veterans
Louisiana continues its strong role in supporting many branches of our armed forces. We saw the continued development of Fort Polk, the continued growth of the Cyber Innovation Center, the recognition of our National Guard Air Traffic Control Squadron's excellence and dedication to its mission, and the expansion of Louisiana-built cutters for the Coast Guard. In addition, our state is home to more than 400,000 veterans. I worked this year to ensure we keep the promises we have made to them whether that is housing, health care or employment.
I look forward to building on our accomplishments together as we ring in 2013.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,