Governor’s Advisory Council on Rural Revitalization
WHEREAS, rural areas of the State of Louisiana, as is the case across the country, are in crisis and bear a disproportionate burden of poverty, lack of access to healthcare, and poor quality of life;
WHEREAS, many areas of rural Louisiana lack basic services such as education, healthcare, infrastructure, clean water, and dwindling resources;
WHEREAS, agricultural production is critical to rural economies, rural revitalization goes far beyond agriculture as it includes the development of non-farm opportunities and it makes cutting-edge technology and innovation the key of rural economic growth;
WHEREAS, the State of Louisiana will strive to remove any barriers that may prohibit individuals in rural Louisiana from living a full, healthy, and prosperous life; and
WHEREAS, it is in the best interests of the citizens of the State of Louisiana to engage in a centralized and coordinated effort to further revitalization of rural Louisiana to be more productive, sustainable, healthy, attractive places to live.
NOW THEREFORE, I, JOHN BEL EDWARDS, Governor of the State of Louisiana, by virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution and laws of the State of Louisiana, do hereby order and direct as follows:
SECTION 1: The Governor’s Advisory Council on Rural Revitalization (hereafter “Council”) is established and created within the Office of the Governor.
SECTION 2: The duties of the Council shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
A. Advising the Governor on issues of concern to the citizens of rural Louisiana;
B. Identifying the needs, issues, and solutions relative to rural revitalization, including economic development, education, healthcare, infrastructure, clean water, agriculture, aquaculture & forestry, workforce development, and broadband;
C. Identifying state, federal, and private resources available to facilitate rural revitalization efforts; and
D. Identifying best practices from other states and recommend legislation to accomplish the solutions proposed by the Council.
SECTION 3: On or before January 5, 2021, the Council shall develop and submit a comprehensive strategic plan to the Governor regarding the issues set forth in Section 2 of this Order and shall submit annual progress reports thereafter.
SECTION 4: The Council shall be composed of a maximum of thirty-seven (37) members who, unless otherwise specified, shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Governor and shall include, but not limited to, the following:
- The Speaker of the House, or his designee;
- The President of the Senate, or his designee;
- A Louisiana congressman whose congressional district is primarily rural, or his designee;
- The Lieutenant Governor, or his designee;
- The Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry, or his designee;
- The President of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, or his designee;
- The State Executive Director of the Louisiana Farm Service Agency State Office of the United States Department of Agriculture, or his designee;
- The Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development;
- The Secretary of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries;
- The Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development;
- The Secretary of Louisiana Workforce Commission;
- The Chair of the Louisiana Legislative Rural Caucus, or his designee;
- The Chair of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, or his designee;
- The Chancellor-Dean of Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, or his designee;
- Assistant Dean of Rural Health Initiatives Louisiana State University Health Science Center Shreveport, or his designee;
- The Dean of the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, or the director’s designee;
- The Dean of the Louisiana State University Health Science Center School of Dentistry, or his designee;
- The Executive Director of the Police Jury Association, or his designee;
- The Executive Director of the Louisiana Municipal Association, or his designee;
- The Executive Director of the Louisiana Sheriffs Association, or his designee;
- The Chief Executive Officer of the Louisiana Electric Cooperatives, Inc., or his designee;
- The chair of the Louisiana Rural Hospital Coalition, or his designee;
- The president of the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation, or his designee;
- The chair of the Louisiana Black Farmers Association, or his designee;
- The Executive Director of the Office of Community Development, Division of Administration;
- The Executive Director of the Louisiana Housing Corporation;
- The chair of the Broadband for Everyone in Louisiana Commission;
- The chair of the Cybersecurity Taskforce;
- The chair of the Rural Water Association, or his designee;
- The Dean of the Louisiana State University College of Agriculture, or his designee;
- One (1) representative of the telemedicine initiative;
- One (1) member of the Louisiana Bankers Association; and
- Five (5) members with qualifications deemed appropriate by the Governor, which shall include being a citizen of a rural Louisiana community with an interest in local housing, cybersecurity and infrastructure expansion, and reducing crime.
SECTION 5: The chair of the Council shall be appointed by the Governor from the membership of the Council. All other officers, if any, shall be elected by and from the membership of the Council.
SECTION 6: The Council shall meet at regularly scheduled intervals and at the call of the chair. Additionally, the Chair shall convene meetings of the Council at various geographic locations around the State.
SECTION 7: At its first meeting, the Council shall establish working groups of Council members based on subject matter jurisdiction.
SECTION 8: Council members shall not receive additional compensation or a per diem from the Office of the Governor for serving on the Council.
Council members who are an employee or an elected public official of the state of Louisiana or a political subdivision of the state of Louisiana may seek reimbursement of travel expenses, in accordance with PPM 49, from their employing and/or elected department, agency and/or office.
Council members who are also a member of the Louisiana Legislature may seek a per diem from the Louisiana State Senate or House of Representatives, as appropriate, for their attendance.
SECTION 9: Support staff, facilities, and resources for the Council shall be provided by the Office of the Governor.
SECTION 10: All departments, commissions, boards, offices, entities, agencies, and officers of the state of Louisiana, or any political subdivision thereof, are authorized and directed to cooperate with the Council in implementing the provisions of this Order.
SECTION 11: This Order is effective upon signature and shall continue in effect until amended, modified, terminated, or rescinded by the Governor, or terminated by operation of law.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand officially and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Louisiana in the City of Baton Rouge, on this 14th day of February, 2020.
John Bel Edwards
Secretary of State