LT. GOVERNOR LANDRIEU: AMERICA LOSES WITH NO PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE IN NEW ORLEANS -- 11/21/2007
Office of Lieutenant GovernorFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 21, 2007
LT. GOVERNOR LANDRIEU: AMERICA LOSES WITH NO PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE IN NEW ORLEANS
The following is a Letter to the Editor Lt. Governor Landrieu submitted to national papers responding to the decision by the Commission on Presidential Debates to bypass New Orleans as a 2008 debate site:
The Presidential Commission on debates has denied New Orleans' offer to host a presidential debate and squandered a great opportunity for the people of America. The given reason is that New Orleans is not ready. This is just wrong.
Louisiana has worked overtime to restore one of America's truly unique cultural treasures and bring back the families who have lived and worked here for generations.
In terms of security, New Orleans hosted the first Super Bowl after September 11th. Since Hurricane Katrina, we have hosted major events with great success. In the last 18 months, New Orleans welcomed more than 800,000 visitors to Mardi Gras; more than 350,000 to Jazz and Heritage Festival; more than 200,000 to the Essence Music Festival; and a slew of major conventions including the National Association of Realtors and the National League of Cities. The Morial Convention Center has undergone a $62 million renovation and is among the most technically advanced facilities in the country.
Not only are we ready, but there is no other place in America that provides a more appropriate backdrop for a discussion on the major issues of the day. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were American tragedies that revealed challenges our nation faces related to immigration, energy policy, national security, poverty, race, emergency preparedness, education, healthcare, and transportation.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and their aftermath are not as much about Louisiana as they are about America. What is happening in Louisiana is reflective of what is happening across the nation. As we rebuild a great American city, New Orleans can serve as a laboratory for democracy. Here in New Orleans, the country has an opportunity to explore new ideas for solving our toughest challenges.
The recovery of the Gulf Coast is a national imperative, and we ignore the lessons of Katrina at our own peril. Rebuilding New Orleans and the Gulf Coast is America's last best hope for restoring our country's dignity and standing around the world.