By Gabe Firment, District 22 State Representative
With the start of the 2020 Regular Session on March 9th less than one month away, I have observed that conversations among legislators has clearly moved towards discussions of specific policies and issues to be addressed. The Republican delegation of the House of Representatives recently met in Baton Rouge to establish our legislative priorities for the upcoming session, and it was determined that the 5 most crucial issues facing our state are Legal Reform, Budget/Spending Reform, Infrastructure, Education, and Healthcare. Focus groups were established to begin formulating solutions to each of these specific issues, and it will be my pleasure to serve on the group tasked with addressing Legal Reform.
I was excited to learn last week that I had been appointed to serve on the Insurance, Retirement, and Transportation Committees this session. Serving on the Insurance Committee will allow me to play an active role in immediately formulating policies and implementing reforms designed specifically to lower commercial and residential automobile insurance rates. Our state is in the midst of an automobile insurance crisis where insanely high premiums are crippling small business owners, stifling investment in our struggling rural communities, and overwhelming hard-working middle-class families just trying to survive. The citizens of District 22 have made it clear that lowering insurance rates through common sense legal reforms is their number one priority at this time.
As a member of the Transportation Committee I will have an opportunity to seek solutions to the state’s desperate infrastructure needs, with my focus being on improving state roads, highways, and bridges in rural parishes. It will also be very important to me that we address our infrastructure issues in a fiscally responsible manner that demands transparency, accountability, and the efficient use of taxpayer resources. The Republican House delegation is committed to ensuring that taxpayer dollars devoted to capital outlay funding of projects is based on an accurate assessment of needs rather than being doled out as political favors.
Serving on the Retirement Committee may not sound very glamorous, but I consider this a very important committee that will play a huge role in tackling the looming disaster potentially facing our state retirement systems. The state’s four retirement systems have a total debt, or Unfunded Accrued Liability (UAL), of just over $18 billion. I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues on the Retirement Committee to develop creative solutions to these very real challenges.
In closing, I would like to mention what a pleasure it has been thus far getting to know other area legislators, and I can say with absolute confidence that the men and women representing you are committed to working together to moving our state forward and implementing policies that will allow the families of North and Central Louisiana to prosper for years to come. Please feel free to contact my office at anytime via email at email@example.com or at (318)765-9606. Thank you and God Bless.