Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Alexander: Many reasons to be hopeful about 2024

by BIZ Magazine

I think it is always important to assess where we are and where it seems we are going.  To that end, I review here some of the numerous things about which we can be thankful and for which we can be hopeful as we head into 2024.

In Shreveport-Bossier, we continue to be blessed by God to live next to the Red River—a tremendous economic asset I’ve outlined in a previous article about the Port of Caddo-Bossier (whose businesses are virtually always hiring)—which has a direct economic impact on all of N. Louisiana.  We also continue to be blessed to be at the intersection of two federal interstates, I-20, and I-49, which continue to attract regional and national businesses to this area for that very reason. 

In fact, it’s rare to go a week without some new or current business, industry or educational institution announcing either a groundbreaking or an expansion in Caddo, Bossier or the surrounding parishes.  Here is just a sampling:

BRF announced LSU Health Shreveport School of Allied Health Professions will soon be offering a new program, a Bachelor of Science in Cardiovascular Technology (BS-CVT); This is to say nothing of the recently completed LSU Health Shreveport $79 million Center for Medical Education.  The building, which was funded through a public-private partnership, includes a new home for the Center of Excellence for Emerging Viral Threats, twenty-seven teaching classrooms, two 250-seat lecture halls, a 500-seat auditorium, along with a dining hall and wellness center. 

Amazon is again hiring for its Shreveport Robotics facility; that national beverage manufacturer, Multipack Services, announced a $10.4 million investment in establishing a new production facility in Shreveport, creating approximately 141 jobs; the new Teal Jones Plain Dealing, LLC Sawmill Site; further, it can only be characterized as a bright spot to drive by 500 Fannin Street in Shreveport, the old federal building, that is being re-envisioned as the Northwest Louisiana State Office and is already looking radically different; speaking of downtown Shreveport, the Shreveport City Council has agreed to a lease between G-Unit Film & Television Louisiana and Millennium Studios.  Mayor Tom Arceneaux stated at the groundbreaking on Nov. 20, the agreement will save the city nearly $180,000 a year.

As also recently announced by BRF, Northwest Louisiana is close to offering the state’s most technologically advanced PET/CT scanner to the Center for Molecular Imaging and Therapy (CMIT), with artificial intelligence capabilities.  The scanner will be purchased using BRF funds and $2 million in federal funding sponsored by U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy.  All of this is to say nothing of the continued growth and enormous impact of Barksdale Air Force Base, Ft. Polk, and other military-related entities in our region.  Finally, the mere fact of Speaker Mike Johnson.

And on and on.

At the local level, we have elected new, energetic individuals to help direct our city and parish government.  At some point we will have a new Caddo Sheriff.  Mayor Arceneaux is working hard to redirect parts of city government that are desperately in need of it.  I am confident we will get the crime issue under control with targeted community policing as well as the vigilant assistance of our residents.

At the state level, we have elected a new governor and other statewide elected officials who bring both experience and judgment to those positions.  Governor-elect Jeff Landry is likely to lead our state legislature in a markedly pro-business direction while removing numerous regulations and other obstacles to economic growth in Louisiana.  He will also have a differently constituted Legislature with whom to partner.

At the national level, notwithstanding some of the breathtakingly poor policy choices of our federal government—and the resulting difficult economic conditions—the American economy remains the most creative and adaptable in the world, our entrepreneurs unrivaled.  We will eventually come out of this inflation, high gas, groceries prices and similar burdens because the free market—when free of government meddling—always finds equilibrium.

There are many reasons to be hopeful about the coming new year.  With prayers, gratitude, and hard work we can truly accomplish anything!

As Pres. Reagan stated: “I’ve always thought New Year’s Day was an especially American tradition, full of the optimism and hope we’re famous for in our daily lives–an energy and confidence we call the American spirit.  Perhaps because we know we control our own destiny, we believe deep down inside that working together we can make each new year better than the old.”

Royal Alexander is a Shreveport attorney

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