Millionaire state senator touts reputation, vision for success

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Tri-Parish Times

If State Sen. Walter Boasso is planning to run for Louisiana governor next year, he’s still keeping that information to himself. For now.

Boasso, whose district includes a portion of Lafourche Parish, coyly admitted to a small group of Houma business owners and entrepreneurs that he plans to seek the office in 2007 saying, “…it’s very likely you might see me there… it’s going in that direction.”

The District 1 senator, who spearheaded the drive to reform the region’s levee boards to two regional flood control authorities n which 81 percent of voters in the Sept. 30 election agreed was a good idea n was in Houma to speak at the monthly ISI meeting.

ISI, or Iron Sharpens Iron, is a budding roundtable small business empowerment group that meets monthly at Houma’s Main Branch library.

Before Boasso delivered what he called a “recipe on how to start our own business,” the self-made millionaire talked of his colleagues in Baton Rouge.

“You know, people get into politics for three reasons n their ego, the desire to do things for themselves and their friends, and their desire to do the right thing,” he said. “And the group that’s in the minority in Baton Rouge are the ones that want to do the right thing.”

Accountability, or lack of if, is the state’s biggest downfall. “Our problem in Louisiana is that we can’t hold our state government accountable,” he said. “People are scared in this state, they’ve lost all their confidence in government. And can you blame them? How can you justify putting your assets in harms way?”

The senator also said lawmakers are “spending money on projects in a false economy.” He explained that while the state’s coffers are swelling with over $800 million in sales tax revenue, that money should be earmarked for fiscal debt and not future projects.

“We’re living in a false economy. If we don’t see fiscal reform by 2015, the middle and poor class won’t be able to live here by 2017,” Boasso said. “And those of us who are here then are going to ask, ‘Wasn’t it nice when we had homestead exemption?’”

Boasso is president of the Boasso America Corp., a company that provides tank container cleaning, heating, testing, maintenance, storage, and transportation, along with associated equipment sales. The company has locations in Chalmette; Charleston, S.C.; Chicago, Illin.; Detroit, Mich.; Houston, Texas; and Jacksonville, Fla.

The University of New Orleans graduate holds a business degree, and is the father of three.

He said he got his start when he was around 19 when his boss asked him to clean a tank with a bucket of soap and a brush.

Boasso said there are six things he recommends as a recipe to starting a new business, and keeping it:

• “All you have is your name n don’t mess it up.”

• “Be reliable. If you tell someone you’re going to do something, do it. If you don’t, it’s going to reflect back, bad on your name.”

• “Expect failures. Plan for them.”

• “Nothing is for free. The only way to get rich is to get a FEMA contract.”

• “You have to have vision. You’ve got to be two to three steps ahead of your competition.

• “Hire people with good personalities. They represent you.”

• “In short, you have to come up with a plan to on how to stay ahead.”

• “You have to grow, or you’re going to die. You have to always keep moving.”

Before addressing the ISI group, Boasso held a press conference on the steps of the Capitol in Baton Rouge, to unveil a new Web site at, where citizens can learn how to engage in the government process.

“Instead of new visions and new ideas, Baton Rouge gives us the same old, same old. It has to stop. No more band-aids and discussing the problems. It is time to join together and implement solutions to ‘Get It Done,’” the senator said. “We just blew it after Hurricane Katrina hit. We had so many people who wanted to get into Louisiana to help us, but we just blew it.”

Millionaire state senator touts reputation, vision for success