Rep. Richard Buford, R-Dist. 7
Rep. Richard Buford, R-Dist. 7
Although some may say we as Legislators are in an “off season,” since we are not in session right now, I have still been very busy in my district in the interim helping constituents with their needs. People may not realize that I am called upon to assist our constituents in a variety of ways, including: assisting in obtaining aid from public agencies; providing information about state programs, current law, and pending legislation; seeking ideas and opinions; providing assistance at the State Capitol; and securing assistance, projects, and programs for the district. My office has an open‑door policy. I am here to assist and to serve. In many ways I function as a "caseworker," and in this capacity, I may handle requests for aid, act as an arbiter, or intervene with a state agency on a constituent's behalf.
This year has been one of phenomenal economical growth for House District 7, and I am proud to say that our efforts to attract new business to District 7 have been highly successful.
In Desoto Parish, the completion of Hwy 3276 in Stonewall has triggered a great amount of economic and residential growth. Construction began on a new subdivision this year. A Pizza Hut, a Sonic, a new fitness center, new banks, and a new health clinic, all under construction, will be opening soon.
In Caddo Parish, we had two major economic announcements. Benteler Steel/Tube broke ground in September on the first phase of a $975 million steel manufacturing project at the Port of Caddo Bossier. A second phase will lead to the opening of a steel mill with an electric arc furnace in 2020. The mega-project is expected to generate more than 2,200 direct and indirect jobs in Northwest Louisiana. The steel facility is Benteler Steel's first project in the United States and is right here in Louisiana in District 7! I'm delighted to say that Benteler's selection of Caddo Parish as the site for the project means billions of dollars in new earnings and an economic impact of $16.2 billion for the Northwest Louisiana region over the next two decades.
Teleperformance, which originally opened in 2004, has announced they will be expanding their company, adding 740 new jobs at its Shreveport customer contact center in the next two years, bringing total employment up to 2,000 workers. In addition to expanding the Shreveport workforce, the company will retain 1,260 existing employees, creating one of the largest business process outsourcing centers in the country.
DeSoto Parish recently had a big scare when the Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the presence of the deadly Naegleria fowleri ameba in Water Works System No. 1 in DeSoto Parish. I and other elected officials are working with the water district and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals to insure that constituents of District 7 are properly informed and their questions are answered, and to assure them that they have safe drinking water.
Another project I have been working on is helping local landowners in House District 7 secure permits to allow them to hunt feral hogs at night on private property. In Louisiana, feral hogs are considered unregulated quadrupeds and may be taken year round during legal daylight shooting hours, and may also be shot at night from the last day of February until the last day of August, but must have a permit any other time. Feral hogs are a huge problem in Louisiana and their eating habits, meaning they eat just about everything, they are very destructive to crops and livestock.
I want my constituents to know that while I consider lawmaking very important, the services I perform here at home for my constituents and our district are equally important. I utilize the interim to meet with the people I represent, to determine their ideas and feelings on various issues and to keep in touch. After all, I am your voice in Baton Rouge. By attending various functions and talking to my constituents, I become better informed as to the problems of our area, and I am able to do a better job of serving you.