Louisiana’s Legislature undoubtedly will have a difficult assignment when it meets in March and April to define the state’s new congressional districts. The 2010 Census population figures reduce the number of congressmen our state is entitled to from seven to six.
St. Charles Parish is part of two congressional districts, the First represented by Rep. Steve Scalise and the Third represented by Rep. Jeff Landry. And there is talk about combining the Third District which runs along the eastern coast with the Seventh District on the western end of the coast to form one district along the entire coast. In that case, Landry would be in direct competition with Rep. Charles Boustany of Lafayette for re-election.
If this were done, the northern areas of the two combined districts would be siphoned off into other districts. Public officials who propose it say this would let us concentrate our efforts to save the coast in one district rather than diluting it with the needs of other areas. Of course, it would give us only one voice instead of two along the coast.
Regardless of the outcome, the future of the coast should be of paramount concern to all Louisiana congressmen. It provides a livelihood to many residents and is an enormous economic boost to the entire state.
It is, in fact, the most productive coastline economically in the United States. The fishing industry, as well as the shipping industry and onshore and offshore oil industry which has been partially shut down since the BP oil spill, have helped the entire nation build its economy.
It will be an important special session that will help determine how Louisiana is represented in Washington during the next 10 years. And those 10 years are important to the future of our entire state and especially our diminishing coast.