Saturday, July 20, 2024

Gov. Landry Signs Landmark Bill to Transform Louisiana’s Economic Development Strategy

by BIZ Magazine

BATON ROUGE, La. – In a significant move to overhaul Louisiana’s economic development framework, Governor Jeff Landry signed SB 494, known as the “Positioning Louisiana to Win” bill, into law. The legislation aims to modernize the structure and operations of Louisiana Economic Development (LED) to better attract new businesses and support existing ones, marking a pivotal shift in the state’s approach to economic growth and job creation.

Surrounded by legislators, economic development leaders, and business stakeholders, Governor Landry emphasized the transformative potential of this bill. “Today we are taking the first big step toward restoring Louisiana’s position as the economic powerhouse of the South,” he said. “With the signing of this bill and the leadership of Secretary Bourgeois, we can finally take full advantage of all the things that make Louisiana so special and give our workers and their families the future they deserve.”

Key Components of the “Positioning Louisiana to Win” Bill

  • Establishment of the Louisiana Economic Development Partnership (LEDP): This private sector-led board will develop a strategic plan for economic development and advise on policies, programs, and initiatives to promote growth.
  • Operational Flexibility: LED is now exempt from state procurement and technology services bottlenecks, allowing it to operate at the speed of business.
  • Leadership Restructuring: The bill removes the statutory requirement for the governor to appoint an Assistant Secretary and Undersecretary, providing the LED Secretary with the flexibility to structure the leadership team as needed.

New LED Leadership Team

In conjunction with the bill signing, LED Secretary Susan B. Bourgeois announced her new senior leadership team, highlighting the extensive private sector, economic development, and change management experience they bring to the table. The team includes:

  • Anne Villa, Deputy Secretary
  • Rachel Shields, Chief Engagement Officer
  • Paige Carter, Chief Business Development Officer
  • Joshua Fleig, Chief Innovation Officer
  • Ileana Ledet, Chief Economic Competitiveness Officer
  • Mark Lorando, Chief Communications Officer
  • Chelsea Harris Dufrene, Executive Director, LED FastStart
  • Chris Stelly, Executive Director, Louisiana Entertainment and Director, Legislative Affairs
  • Robin Porter, Executive Counsel

The complete bios of the executive team are available at

Legislative and Stakeholder Support

The bill received broad support from various quarters. Sen. Beth Mizell, the bill’s author, lauded the collaborative effort behind its passage. “The Positioning Louisiana to Win Bill is a perfect illustration of the great things that can be accomplished when we all work together to create a better Louisiana,” Mizell said.

Rep. Daryl Deshotel, Chairman of the House Commerce Committee, also highlighted the bill’s importance. “This legislation represents a significant step forward for Louisiana. By empowering our Department of Economic Development with new tools and streamlined processes, we are positioning our state to attract more businesses, create jobs, and foster innovation. This comprehensive approach to economic development will drive Louisiana towards a more prosperous and sustainable future,” Deshotel said.

A Vision for the Future

Secretary Bourgeois underscored the historic opportunity for Louisiana to enhance investment, job growth, and innovation. “Louisiana has a historic opportunity for investment, jobs, growth, innovation, and global impact,” she said. “But we can’t seize that opportunity unless we dramatically change our approach. The passage of SB 494 clears a path for that transformation to occur.”

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