Right signals on recovery

Sarah Smith
October 30, 2007
November Dance
November 1, 2007

Editor’s Note: The following editorial first appeared in the Times-Picayune (New Orleans)

Gov.-elect Bobby Jindal said little during the campaign about hurricane recovery. But [Louisianans] are surely welcoming his public attention to recovery issues since his election.

Taking a congratulatory phone call from President Bush just hours later, Mr. Jindal requested a meeting to discuss ongoing post-hurricane needs. The president agreed to the session.

Mr. Jindal also used the conversation, and another phone call the next day with Gulf Coast recovery coordinator Donald Powell, to lobby on behalf of a federal water resources bill that includes billions of dollars for Louisiana flood control and coastal restoration. The measure also would lower the local share of levee projects.

Congress sent the bill to the president Tuesday, and the White House said he still intended to veto it.

The governor-elect seems intent on staying focused on recovery. He told reporters that he expected Congress and the White House to live up to their commitments to help with rebuilding.

Mr. Jindal even brought up President Bush’s promise in Jackson Square after Katrina that the federal government “will do what it takes” to help rebuild.

Mr. Jindal has made it clear that he shares Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s assertion that the Road Home bailout is a federal obligation. He plans to hold onto his 1st Congressional District seat until shortly before his gubernatorial inauguration, in part to help secure additional money for the Road Home.

He also had reassuring words for those New Orleanians who wondered about any after effects from Mayor Ray Nagin’s endorsement of one of Mr. Jindal’s opponents. Mr. Jindal said he plans to work closely with the mayor and promised to try to undo red tape impeding recovery.

[Louisianans], of course, want to see results and many of them have high expectations for Mr. Jindal’s administration. His comments so far are an auspicious sign.