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Former Louisiana Congressman John Fleming promoted to federal position in the EDA

April 13, 2019 - 1:16 pm

(WWL.com) - Former Louisiana Congressman John Fleming is a month into his new job as the assistant secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. 

Fleming says that because the U-S EDA serves areas impacted by disasters, as well as economically distressed communities, he can still serve his home state.

“Of course Louisiana is always in the crosshairs when it comes to natural disasters so I am sure that along the way we will have opportunities to help Louisiana.”

Fleming served as a U.S. Representative for four terms in Louisiana’s 4th congressional district from January 2009 to January 2017.

Fleming says while groups like the Cajun Navy provide immediate relief to disaster areas his position at the EDA is focused on long term recovery.

“Our job is to help the communities bounce back and to make them more resilient against the next disaster because these disasters tend to occur in the same areas.”

Fleming says he’s excited about a relatively new provision in the law that can allow for private dollars to benefit distressed communities in Louisiana and the rest of the country. It’s known as Opportunity Zones. He says the process starts with federal funds, matched by local dollars and then can be multiplied by private investment.

“Currently we get a 15:1 that is 15 private dollars matched to every dollar that we spend federally. We think that with the new opportunity zones it is not even fully in effect yet but there could be multiples even of that.”

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