Office of the Mayor-President

For release: IMMEDIATELY

Release Date: 01/13/2005


Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden has announced a “Green Light for EBR Fair Share Plan” – a five-point initiative to obtain East Baton Rouge Parish’s fair share of federal funding to improve communities and build stronger neighborhoods.

In a speech to the Baton Rouge Rotary Club, Holden said his administration will take a proactive stance to assure available federal funding sources are tapped. By using a combination of staff development, collaboration with elected officials, resources of government and national local government associations and contacts of Louisiana businesses operating in the nation’s capitol, Holden said he will aggressively pursue funding for a detailed agenda of funding priorities.

“Funding communities is no less a competitive process than winning business for a successful large private enterprise,” Holden said. “We will do what it takes to compete along with the best and receive our fair share.” Earlier this week Holden announced he is putting together a team of lobbyists to represent East Baton Rouge Parish in Washington that includes Senator John Breaux; the Livingston Group, whose founding partner is former Louisiana Congressman Bob Livingston and long-time Baton Rouge lobbyist Ted Jones, who has offered to provide pro-bono services to the city-parish.

Holden’s plan to pursue federal funding includes the following:

1) Development of staff expertise and administrative capacity for program development and federal grants procurement with a focus on infrastructure development;

2) Establishment of solid working relationships with the Louisiana Congressional Delegation, members of the Federal Administration, the administration of Governor Kathleen Blanco and the Louisiana Legislature to ensure early notification of grant opportunities and funding needs and priorities;

3) Positioning East Baton Rouge Parish as a prime community for pilot and demonstration site programs that are part of national projects;

4) Working on special funding earmarks based on community needs where East Baton Rouge falls below national or regional averages;

5) Aggressively pursuing programs to stimulate the local economy and promote expertise and capacity of local businesses for state and federal contracts and economic expansion.

Holden told the group that no one should ever consider the federal government as a “cash cow”, but pointed out that Louisiana and Baton Rouge trail far too many local government units throughout the country in both seeking and attaining federal funding for programs to make communities safer, better educated and environmentally and infrastructurally sound.