Mr. Gordon Burgess Qualifies
Tangipahoa Parish President Gordon Burgess announced today that he will seek re-election in this year’s October 22nd primary.
"I am very proud of our people and our progress but there is much more to do," Burgess said in announcing his bid for re-election as Tangipahoa Parish President. When asked why he would seek an additional term of office, Burgess replied, “I just see that there is too much at stake right now for Tangipahoa Parish. We have great friendships with the Governor, our Legislators, our Congressmen and Senators. With over $50 million in grants awarded, I really believe that we are in a position to do tremendous good for this parish. Experienced leadership, balanced budgets and a strong team with tremendous vision pave the way to an even brighter future for the people of Tangipahoa Parish.”
As a staunch fiscal conservative, Burgess has fought to reduce taxes and to live within a debt free balanced budget through his now famous “pay as you go” approach. When first elected Tangipahoa Parish President, Burgess inherited a parish government that was on the verge of bankruptcy with over
11.6 million dollars of debt. Under Burgess’ fiscal discipline, all that debt has been paid off and 19 separate property taxes totaling over 96 mills have been eliminated. Doing more with less hasn’t gone unnoticed. Tangipahoa Parish Government was named one of the top 10 local governments in the country making the best use of its available funds.
“During a period of huge federal deficits, massive layoffs, and some states facing default, I am more committed than ever to protect the taxpayers of this parish from debt and tax increases. The past four years alone have shown the benefit of fiscal discipline in the Parish President’s office. It is much too easy for politicians to let their mouths write checks that their budgets can’t cash. I was elected to make sure the finances of this parish are rock solid. When re-elected, that’s exactly what I will continue to do.”
“While others have eliminated or reduced services during the recent recession, I am proud that we have actually increased services for our people. We have improved operations and care at animal control including additional kennels and more convenient operating hours; expanded services at planning and permitting; initiated a recycling program; established Tangipahoa as the only parish to provide backup air conditioning and generators at all emergency shelters; invested over $23 million in new road overlays; and installed a methane gas collection system at the parish landfill to capture and reuse this greenhouse gas.”
“I am truly blessed to be surrounded by a strong dedicated team who wants to serve the people of this parish. When you surround yourself with good people who want to serve the public, they make this job very rewarding. And for that, I thank them.”
In addition to the completed projects, Burgess cited over $25 million more in future infrastructure improvements including, the courthouse renovation, the parish jail, continued road overlay, subsurface drainage and lane widening for Club Deluxe Road and a non-stop focus on economic development at the top of his list for the next four years.
“Road improvements, including the widening of Club Deluxe Road, are part of advancing the parish's economy,” Burgess said. “As Parish President, I will continue securing funding for new economic development and helping existing businesses expand. In the last few years alone, we secured nearly $5 million in economic development grants for businesses in Tangipahoa Parish leading directly to more than 400 new permanent full-time jobs.”
Burgess, who also serves on the Louisiana Commerce and Industry Board, stated, “even in these difficult economic times we continue to succeed by expanding our economy with more quality jobs for our citizens.”
"I am committed to continue our ‘pay as you go’ policy that has been so successful," Burgess said. "Every project that crosses my desk is considered first in the light of how it will help our people and whether it will increase taxes or create debt. I remain committed to that approach, and I am grateful for the support I've received as a result," Burgess said.
One way in which Burgess has been able to achieve continued growth with no debt and no new taxes has been the more than $50 million in grants awarded to the parish for a wide range of public service projects.
The Parish President has been aggressive in winning grants for parish projects. In 2010 alone, the parish was able to complete a new water well system for the people of Fluker Chapel; replace bridges on J W Davis, Roseland Ave, McElveen, Z McDaniel, and Booker II Road; renovate and expand the Amite Courthouse for the Clerk, Assessor, and Registrar of Voters; and improve parish emergency shelters. All of this was accomplished at no cost to the taxpayers of Tangipahoa Parish.
A partial list of current projects include $17 million for community storm mitigation (including subsurface drainage and widening of Club Deluxe Road), continued expansion of Florida Parishes Arena, a new facility in Hammond to consolidate the Planning, Permitting and Environmental Services departments, a state of the art library for the Amite area, completion of a parish wide emergency responders radio system, , $6.9 million for coastal restoration, $900,000 for improvements to the approach at West Club Deluxe and Happywoods roads, $560,000 for emergency generators at the Sheriff's Office, Health Unit and Ponchatoula Police Department.
Burgess has championed meeting the needs of the working poor in the parish by securing millions of dollars in grants for homeless prevention, transportation, job training, and low income rent subsidies.
All of these projects are achieved through sound financial planning, a balanced budget, and no debt for parish citizens.
In 2008, Burgess began working with state highway safety officials to reduce alcohol related deaths in Tangipahoa Parish. As a result, Tangipahoa Parish was selected as a pilot parish to begin assembling a coalition to combat alcohol abuse. With TRACC now in place working with local law enforcement, advocacy groups, prosecutors, and the judicial system, the parish received over $1.8 million dollars in grant funding to provide additional training, patrols, advertising, and court support. In 2010, fatal alcohol related crashes in Tangipahoa Parish fell by over 50%.
“I am tremendously proud of the work that has been made possible through the TRACC coalition,” Burgess said, “It is good to know that each and every day we are making a difference and saving lives.”
Burgess' public service extends beyond Tangipahoa Parish to state and federal levels. His experience and vision have led to an appointment by the Governor to Louisiana's Commerce and Industry Board and a seat on the Louisiana Police Jury Executive Board. At the federal level, he serves as President of the Zachary Taylor Parkway Association. Their goal of bringing a connecting superhighway through Tangipahoa Parish from Poplarville, MS to Alexandria is one step closer with the newly completed Audubon Bridge in St. Francisville.
Burgess is honorary co-chairman of America's Wetland Storm Warning IV Committee and serves as the CEO of Local Workforce Investment Area 20 which represents ten parishes including Tangipahoa. The Parish President is a member of Parishes Against Coastal Erosion, the Amite Rotary Club, and the Hammond, Ponchatoula, and Amite Chambers of Commerce. He is also a member of the Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association.
Burgess attended Southern Arkansas University before serving two years in the Nike Missile Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battery of the U. S. Army, as well as four years on active reserve in the National Guard. He owned and operated a successful oil service company for more than 20 years before becoming Tangipahoa Parish President. Burgess and his wife, Margaret, reside on their working cattle farm in Loranger. They are members of the First Baptist Church in Independence where he serves as a deacon and she serves in the music ministry. They are the grandparents of Alex Burgess, the son of Wade and Amy Burgess.
Burgess closed by saying, “The people of this parish have entrusted me with so much. I want to stand with them as we work our way through this recession and the resulting national debt crisis. Our relationships with other leaders and familiarity with the projects currently under way are all the more important due to the state and federal grants being administered by Tangipahoa Parish Government. I humbly ask for your support.”
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