Category Archives: Blog

Johnson, Cassidy, Gohmert, Ratcliffe introduce bicameral legislation to create Caddo Lake National Heritage Area

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Representatives Mike Johnson (R-La.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) joined U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.) on May 24 in introducing legislation to create the Caddo Lake National Heritage Area (H.R. 5957 and S. 2947). The area proposed by the Caddo National Heritage Area Commission (CNHAC) is a 900-square-mile geographic area on the Texas-Louisiana border that encompasses Caddo Lake, contiguous bayous and a portion of the Red River. According to CNHAC, the area contains more than 200 historic sites and six land- and water-based trails. If passed, the U.S. secretary of the interior will declare the final boundaries of the heritage site.

Rep. Johnson released the following statement:

“The designation of Caddo Lake as a National Heritage Area is a testament to the community’s deep appreciation for the historical and cultural significance of the lake and its surrounding wildlife areas, consisting of more than 200 historic sites and dating all the way back to the earliest settlements in Louisiana. It is a privilege to introduce legislation with my Texas and Louisiana colleagues to preserve the beauty and history of this land for generations to come.”

Sen. Cassidy released the following statement:

“By creating the Caddo Lake National Heritage Area, we can boost Louisiana’s conservation efforts and preserve the region’s history and cultural heritage for future generations while protecting the rights of private land owners.”

Rep. Gohmert released the following statement:

“The Caddo Lake National Heritage Area is the product of years of work with local stakeholders. This legislation will help preserve the heritage of Caddo Lake, contiguous bayous, and a portion of the Red River. This National Heritage Area designation will attract more visitors, stimulate economic growth, and preserve six land and water-based heritage trails, in addition to, also protecting over 200 historical landmarks: all of these advantages occur without adversely affecting anyone’s private property rights or interests. Caddo Lake is truly a natural resource beauty –complete with a rich history and abundant wildlife. I look forward to working with Senator Cassidy and Congressmen Johnson and Ratcliffe as we move this bill through the legislative process — to preserve this area and make it more enjoyable and lucrative for all.”

Background

The proposal is supported by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the Red River Valley Association and the Louisiana Greater Caddo Lake Association, and would not affect private property rights.

According to the National Park Service, “National Heritage Areas (NHA) expand on traditional approaches to resource stewardship by supporting large-scale, community-driven initiatives that connect local citizens to the preservation and planning process.”

According to the Park Service, some of the long-term benefits of NHA activities include:

  • Sustainable economic development – NHAs leverage federal funds (NHAs average $5.50 for every $1.00 of federal investment) to create jobs, generate revenue for local governments, and sustain local communities through revitalization and heritage tourism.
  • Healthy environment and people – Many NHAs improve water and air quality in their regions through restoration projects and encourage people to enjoy natural and cultural sites by providing new recreational opportunities.
  • Improved quality of life –Through new or improved amenities, unique settings, and educational and volunteer opportunities, NHAs improve local quality of life.
  • Education and stewardship – NHAs connect communities to natural, historic and cultural sites through educational activities, which promote awareness and foster interest in and stewardship of heritage resources.
  • Community engagement and pride – By engaging community members in heritage conservation activities, NHAs strengthen sense of place and community pride.

Stewart earns quarterly Diplomat award

Each quarter the Bossier Chamber Diplomat program recognizes a volunteer that has gone above and beyond what is expected.
Please join the Diplomats and Bossier Chamber in congratulating Steve Stewart of Cubby Hole Louisiana 2 on receiving the Scott Croft Eternal Spirit Award for the first quarter of 2018.
Stewart has demonstrated leadership, a positive spirit, and completed all quarterly duties in a timely and effective manner to win this award, which is selected by the Diplomat Leadership, Chamber Staff, and Business Development Committee.
Stewart has represented the chamber and his business exceptionally well and we thank him for his commitment to the Bossier-Shreveport business community.

We are proud to have AFGSC in Northwest La.

Col Andy Thomson, USAF retired; AFGSC Site Lead, Northrop Grumman
Bossier-Shreveport is proud to be the home of Air Force Global Strike Command. During Military May, we want to recognize the great contribution this command has in Northwest Louisiana.
Now in its ninth year in our community, AFGSC has not only reversed the tides of our nation’s nuclear enterprise, but has grown with the inclusion of two aircraft, addition of two installations and most recently, the activation of the Nuclear Command, Control and Communications Center.
With nearly 16,000 military members and family, Active Duty, Guard and Reserve, AFGSC has changed the nature of our community for the better. Neighbors from all walks of life and all across our country have brought us wonderful diversity and strong family values.
Our community is experiencing a blossom of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education and career opportunities. We have turned the corner in support of military families by creating school of choice for the children and, most recently, championed legislation to promote spouse employment by honoring career certificates from other states.
Our partnerships with Barksdale AFB are for the long run, knowing how important our community is to national security and peace across the globe.
Col. Andy Thomson, USAF retired, is a board member for the Bossier Chamber of Commerce.

Senate Passes State Budget

From LABI

Although the governor has publicly requested that the state budget wait until the special session, the Senate voted 27-10 to pass the state budget on Tuesday. The bill largely funds healthcare but leave deficits in the TOPS program and significant reductions in various state agencies.

Both Republican and Democratic senators have clearly expressed that it is their constitutional duty to pass a budget, but that they intend to seek additional revenue in the second special session to backfill critical state priorities.
Monday, the governor issued a call for a second special session to begin next Tuesday, May 22nd. This will be the sixth special session called by the governor in the three years since he has been in office, again focusing on tax and fiscal policy.

The call does not reveal any specific plan or strategy by the governor but instead is very broad, including major policy areas such as income tax, sales tax, tax credits, spending transparency, and the operating and capital budgets for the state.

The Legislature is now officially seeking to adjourn early – as soon as this Friday, May 18thLawmakers are rushing to complete bills through the process prior to adjournment.

Legislature moving through bills this week, anticipating special session

As we close this week, Legislators are pushing lots of bills as an apparent end to the session is nearing. There are no firm dates set for the end of the session, as it legally must end by June 4. However, Gov. John Bel Edwards said on KEEL radio on Friday morning, he and legislative officials were talking about a possible end to the session on May 18 with a special session beginning May 22.

This week, both the House and Senate have worked feverishly in committee meetings and on the floors to get the bills moving. However, there are still a great amount of bills that are still in committee, particularly on the House side.

On Wednesday, there was heavy debate for a bill our Chamber has been in favor of – House bill 500 regarding a future constitutional convention. After much debate, the measure failed but is not dead for the future, as it continues to make it a little bit further each time it’s heard. [See how they voted here]

Things to note:

Cyber Innovation Center president and executive director receives honorary doctor of science

Craig Spohn, president and executive director of the Cyber Innovation Center (CIC) in Bossier City, will receive an honorary Doctor of Science from Louisiana Tech University at its Spring Commencement Ceremony at 10 a.m.May 19 in the Thomas Assembly Center.

Spohn has championed north Louisiana’s development of a cyber economy for the past decade. Through Spohn’s relentless efforts, the CIC and its partners have secured millions of dollars for cyber programs and facilities, created a knowledge-based economy in the region, and attracted national attention from industry, government, and other communities.

Under Spohn’s leadership, the CIC serves as catalyst for the development and expansion of a workforce throughout the region that is prepared for the challenges of cybersecurity. CIC also seeks to diversify the region’s economic base by promoting research, education, and technological innovation and fostering collaborative and strategic alliances between governmental agencies, private industry, and academic institutions.

“Craig has inspired and connected government, educational, and company leaders. With his guidance, we continue to work together on the facilities and programs that make up the National Cyber Research Park in Bossier City,” said Louisiana Tech President Dr. Les Guice. “He is committed to developing the programs, curricula, and activities that have accelerated and will continue to strengthen the growth of a skilled workforce to support the cyber and defense-related companies in our region.”

Spohn was integral to the establishment of the nation’s first cyber engineering program at Louisiana Tech, and he has been instrumental in helping students secure internships and creating professional development programs to enhance the readiness of the north Louisiana workforce for new opportunities in the cybersecurity field.

Louisiana Tech and the CIC have enjoyed a strong, collaborative relationship over the past decade, and much of the collaboration is because of Spohn’s vision of working with area residents from kindergarten through their careers to ensure they are ready to meet the challenges of the knowledge-based economy. Tech and CIC have shared in the development and advancement of programs and partnerships such as the Cyber Discovery Camps, the Cyber Engineering Research Conferences, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiatives built to create the next generation of scientific thinkers and innovators in north Louisiana.

“Craig’s leadership has been crucial and helps our partnership’s primary purpose, to provide more and better opportunities for Louisiana students to stay here and help continue this wave of economic development in the cybersecurity field,” Guice said. “We work closely with the CIC to ensure that technology is taken from the research phase to the applied phase – with the aim of serving our region’s economic development and national security interests.

“He has been instrumental as an advisor and guide as we worked to develop and continue to enhance our cybersecurity academic programs. Craig’s influence is helping our University prepare students to make a positive impact on the government agencies and companies that will ensure our country is safe for years to come.”

Governor John Bel Edwards recently appointed Spohn Chairman of the newly formed Louisiana Cybersecurity Commission. He also served on the Consortium for Education, Research and Technology Board; the Biomedical Research Foundation Board; the Louisiana Tech Computer Science Advisory Board; and the LSU-Shreveport Science and Technology Council. Spohn and his wife, Stacy, have a son, Sam, and two daughters, Caroline and Sarah-Catherine.

Make your business part of the Bossier Scavenger Hunt

With 2018 marking the 175th anniversary of the creation of Bossier Parish, the Bossier Parish Libraries, the Bossier Parish Police Jury, and the Bossier Chamber of Commerce have partnered to highlight businesses and attractions throughout our community!

A Bossier scavenger hunt will be running from May 6 – 25th, and we want our business community to participate! Participants will travel around the parish, collecting stamps for their passport card at our partner locations, and when they receive 15 stamps, they will be entered into a drawing for prizes, with the grand prize of $175!
This is a great opportunity to showcase and garner attention for your business. To participate in the Bossier Scavenger hunt, contact Jessica!

Northern Exposure at the Capitol

Northwest Louisiana chambers and leaders join Northeast Louisiana in day at the state Capitol

Northwest Louisiana joined Northeast Louisiana as partners in Northern Exposure Legislative Day at the Louisiana State Capitol on May 1. Elected officials, business leaders and civic leaders all along the I-20 corridor met with state legislators, department heads and the governor to show the collective strength of our region.

This day was a great opportunity to show what collaboration can mean when all of the stakeholders in North Louisiana join together as one voice at the Capitol.

Lisa Johnson, President of the Bossier Chamber, had the opportunity to introduce La. Secretary of Revenue Kimberly Robinson to the group, which included about 30 leaders from Northwest Louisiana.

The Bossier Chamber has participated in this event for years and we hope more of our members will participate next year and in years to come.

See our gallery of photos from the day here!

Tickets now available for MISS USA and MISS TEEN USA

Tickets are officially on sale for the upcoming MISS USA® and MISS TEEN USA® events at George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum. Ticket prices vary from event to event and VIP experience packages are available.

The public is invited to the Mardi Gras in May with MISS USA and MISS TEEN USA Parade in downtown Shreveport at 12 p.m. on Monday, May 14. The parade will include all 102 contestants from the MISS USA® and MISS TEEN USA® competitions as well as the reigning MISS USA®, Kára McCullough, reigning MISS TEEN USA®, Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff, local Mardi Gras krewes, a marching band and more.
For a complete list of events, visit www.SBFunGuide.com.