SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards is in Shreveport-Bossier City today.
Governor Edwards says he's been planning to visit Northwest Louisiana for months, but he says a trip to this corner of the state was been delayed, namely by the flooding in South Louisiana.
He finally made it out on Tuesday. His first stop was a tour of the Cyber Innovation Center (CIC), 6300 E. Texas St. in Bossier City, at 9:30 a.m.
The White House, touting the presidential initiative Computer Science for All, recently recognized CIC for helping develop the nation's future work force through its support of computer science, cyber security and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.
"It's an honor to be recognized by the White House for our contributions to this important effort," CIC Vice President G.B. Cazes said at the time. "We are thrilled to share our best practices and lessons learned with some of Washington's senior experts and decision makers."
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has awarded a $4 million grant to CIC to support the continued expansion of cyber security education and training nationwide. The funding is designed to better prepare K-12 educators through a library of STEM, cyber and computer science curricula, classroom resources and professional development, CIC officials said. Teachers from all 50 states and 2 U.S. territories access the CIC curricula.
"I was here about six years ago and they told me about all the things they wanted to accomplish and I will tell you, that they are doing that to a remarkable degree," said Edwards.
Edwards' CIC tour included a look at CSRA and its Integrated Technology Center.
CSRA, which has its headquarters Falls Church, Va., began operating in CIC in 2014. This fall, the company is completing its move from temporary leased space at CIC to its new 96,000-square-foot Integrated Technology Center in the 3,000-acre National Cyber Research Park that CIC oversees.
Earlier this month, the company that employs about 18,000 people held a job fair to fill a variety of technology jobs at its Bossier City center. CSRA provides next-generation IT solutions to government organizations.
After touring CIC and CSRA, Louisiana's governor delivered remarks during the Shreveport Rotary Club meeting in Rooms 206-208 at the Shreveport Convention Center, 400 Caddo St. That gathering was scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m. Edwards also entertained questions from the audience beginning about 12:40 p.m.
At 2 p.m., the Democratic governor wrapped up his public appearances for the day by touring the Port of Caddo-Bossier, 6000 Doug Attaway Blvd. in Shreveport.
Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development Don Pierson said the port is the "heart of the industrial fabric of Northwest Louisiana. "They have about 50 major manufacturers located here. The governor will have a little bit of time to visit some of those."
The governor said he wanted to not only check on the accomplishments of the places he visited, but also build partnerships."That's what we're trying to do around the state, is be good solid, reliable partners. And that's what this is about."
Edwards' visit to Shreveport-Bossier City comes in the wake of his recent trip to Washington, D.C., where he met with President Barack Obama and congressional leaders to push for $2.8 billion in federal disaster aid for Louisiana. The 21-member task force the governor has charged with overseeing recovery efforts from flooding in August is scheduled to hold its first meeting Sept. 28 at the state Capitol in Baton Rouge.
Edwards said, "Despite the fact that the August flooding was centered in south Louisiana, the March flooding is part of what we're requesting out of Congress, it is part of what the president requested out of them."
On a related note, President Obama recently appointed Edwards to a 2-year term on the 10-member Council of Governors. That panel, when called upon by the secretary of defense or council co-chairs, serves as a mechanism for governors and key federal officials to address matters pertaining to the National Guard, homeland defense and defense support to civil authorities.
Absent from the governor's itinerary today is a visit to University Health.
Edwards' administration appears to be in a stalemate with the manager of the state-owned charity hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe.
The Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana is operating the hospitals under a contract negotiated by former Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration.
The foundation has refused to sign off on renegotiated terms of its deal with the state, financing and other changes sought by the Edwards administration.
A deadline passed without the foundation agreeing to the terms.
That prompted Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, the governor's chief negotiator, to issue a statement saying the state is "considering its options moving forward."