2005 was a year that no Louisianian will forget. Thinking back on Hurricane Rita now, I know it is Louisiana’s resilience and strength that got us through one of the most intense hurricanes on record – hitting us just weeks after Hurricane Katrina had impacted southeast Louisiana.
Hurricane Rita was utterly devastating and highly destructive. In its wake, Rita caused billions of dollars in damage to businesses and properties and upended the lives of hundreds of thousands of Louisianians.
While we cannot fully predict or control natural disasters and the consequential impacts, Louisianians are survivors. We are strong and resilient, and we do not back down in the face of a challenge. Ten years after that terrible hurricane season, we are more prepared than ever if and when the next natural disaster strikes. But of course, there is still so much more we can do – especially for coastal restoration and storm protection.
As part of Louisiana’s positive recovery and progress, I have fought to secure more than $1 billion in federal assistance. I’m also glad to say that I was able to pass the Water Resources and Reform Development Act (WRRDA) last year. As the top Senate Republican negotiator, I was able to make critical reforms to the Army Corps of Engineers, create a national levee safety program, and provide greater opportunities for locals – not federal bureaucrats – to manage the critical projects that keep us in Louisiana safe.
It takes commitment to rebuild our lives, and I am committed to making sure Louisiana’s future is brighter and clearer.
WRRDA is just one of the few successes I’ve fought for that protects life, property, and Louisiana’s economic prosperity. We also need to lead the fight on continuing to bring in new business to the state, building a skilled workforce, and providing our children with access to the best education available. I’m doing everything I can to fight for Louisianians, from our best and brightest to our most vulnerable.
As we take a moment this week to remember our lives ten years ago, I urge you to also recognize and congratulate yourself on the immense progress we have made – together. Our positive, can-do attitude is responsible for our recovery, and in the coming years, we will continue to focus on the hope, the improvements, and the good in those changes.
Unfortunately, our beautiful state has and will continue to encounter natural disasters, and we always need to be prepared. It is our shared struggles, heartache, and history that have brought Louisianians together, and as we continue to work together and face the many challenges threatening our state, I know that Louisiana’s future is certainly brighter than ever.