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Jack Donahue Newsletter 2-27-2007 PDF Print E-mail
Monday, February 26 2007 - 8:00 pm

Road Home Program

Hurricane Katrina hit our state over 18 months ago, but for many of our residents the pain of that devastating storm is still being felt. Over 120,000 citizens qualified for grants from the Road Home Program, yet only about 1,000 grants have been awarded.  The administrator of the program, ICF, has been too slow and too bureaucratic in the distribution of money to hurricane victims. Sadly, the program has been a mess from the beginning and the progress has been hardly noticeable. 

As a contractor, I understand how to work through qualified subcontractors and that an evaluation must be done by experienced professionals. At this point, it is essential that an evaluation of ICF be conducted to determine whether this contractor has the resources to complete this important job.

Very quickly, the state needs to determine what are the obstacles that are standing in the way of ICF doing its job and those obstacles need to be eliminated. We do not have time for more delay and if ICF does not meet enhanced goals and deadlines, then a new contractor needs to be hired. 

Insurance

The insurance crisis is one of the greatest threats Louisiana faces. If we don’t solve this problem and solve it quickly, there will not be any sort of recovery in our state. With a dwindling number of insurance companies writing policies in Louisiana, premiums will continue to climb and thousands of homeowners and business owners will have to leave Louisiana.

We must have affordable insurance in our state and more options for businesses and homeowners. To solve this crisis, we need more insurance companies doing business in Louisiana. We should introduce creative ways to give incentives to insurance companies to come to Louisiana and work to improve our overall business climate. The best way to entice more insurance companies to do business in Louisiana is to work on upgrading our levee and flood protection and restoring our coastal wetlands. The state can do much more in this area by using some of our billions in surplus dollars to fund such projects. We can start by getting rid of the Insurance Rating Commission.

In the next session, a catastrophic fund will be discussed. This is an option that deserves attention; however, this needs to be looked at very carefully because the burden for this fund falls on all of our citizens

Crime

Post-Katrina, crime has become a more serious issue in our district. We need to aggressively support our hard working sheriffs in their efforts to get criminals off of the streets. Unfortunately, our jails are full and have been under funded by the state. Currently, wardens must take federal prisoners to meet their financial obligations, which limit the number of beds for the local criminal element. This leads to prisoners being released on a regular basis. I propose that we utilize more electronic monitoring and home incarceration for non-violent offenders, so that jail space can be available for violent criminals. In addition, we need to build more prisons, especially in areas of this Senate district like Tangipahoa Parish which faces a serious shortage of jail space.