Meeting Our Legislators in D.C.

Jeffrey Goodman, Lydia Jemison, Fred Neal Jr.

From September 17-20, APA held the 2016 APA Policy and Advocacy Conference in Washington D.C. In a previous article, I wrote about several of the sessions that stood out for their importance and relevance to planning in Louisiana.  For this article, I will focus on Planners Day on the Hill which was held on Tuesday, September 20th.  Our Louisiana contingent had the opportunity to visit the Capitol offices of our two state senators, David Vitter and Bill Cassidy, as well as 2nd District Congressional Representative Cedric Richmond, and to have a meeting with their staff.  During each of these three meetings we discussed policy and legislative issues of national importance to APA and issues of importance in the State of Louisiana.

On the federal level our contingent advocated for support of federal planning and place-based initiatives aimed at community development and revitalization to improve outcomes for all residents.  This includes support and funding of programs such as the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), Choice Neighborhoods and TIGER (competitive federal transportation grant program).  Additional information about APA’s federal legislative priorities can be found here --

More specific to Louisiana, our contingent also discussed coastal issues and resiliency.  The staff members brought up several specific topics including: reauthorization of the Federal Water Resources Development Act (WARDA), implementation of the Restore Act, the role of the Louisiana Coastal Protection Restoration Authority (CPRA), and issues surrounding levee board consolidation. 

Overall, we enjoyed very positive conversations in each of the three congressional staff meetings.  This event was a great opportunity to have policy discussions with our federal legislators and to continue to develop the tools, skills and relationships that will help us more effectively advocate in our local communities and statewide.

Pictured: Jeffrey Goodman, Lydia Jemison, Fred Neal Jr.

Not Pictured: Logan Anderson