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Some start Washington Mardi Gras at the White House | state policy

WASHINGTON – Fourteen Louisiana mayors, lawmakers and community leaders were invited to the White House on Wednesday to open the Washington Mardi Gras.

“We share our happiness with the rest of the world. They can’t understand what we’re up to,” Mitch Landrieu, the former mayor of New Orleans who now manages infrastructure for President Joe Biden, told the early arrivals gathering for the annual Mardi Gras event that much of Louisiana’s political and business elite attend.

Washington Mardi Gras begins on Thursday and ends with a formal ball on Saturday night.

“Four days of compassion and really hard work,” added Landrieu to much laughter.

Washington Mardi Gras is like “Government Day” for high school students or the “Big Block of Cheese Day” of the Obama years, when state, local and municipal officials are said to visit the Louisiana congressional delegation. But more often than not, they party and build personal relationships in social rather than business settings with officials working in the federal agencies, which provide nearly half of state government revenue each year.

Landrieu listed about half a dozen Louisiana natives who hold positions in the Biden administration, including Shalanda Young, the head of the Office of Management and Budget, and United Nations Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

“We have a lot of people from Louisiana up here who are helping the federal government understand what it’s like growing up in the South, what challenges the southern states have,” Landrieu said.

Mayors Sharon Weston Broome of Baton Rouge and Belinda Constant of Gretna, as well as Lafayette State Representative Vincent Pierre and Representative Kyle Green of Marrero were among those in attendance at the White House event, Communities in Action: Building a Better Louisiana. Event.

Rochelle Ford, who will become Dillard University president on Friday, also attended the meeting, which was attended by prominent aides to the Biden administration, including Dr. Ashish K. Jha, the Biden administration’s COVID-19 response coordinator at the White House. Jha spoke about recently announced plans to be vaccinated against COVID once a year.

They heard reports of Biden administration programs, such as money for community air surveillance alongside manufacturers using hazardous materials. And providing the money needed to rehabilitate 49 unfunded Superfund locations, 60% of which are in low-income communities.

Broome, who got off the plane and headed straight to the White House, was asked to discuss how the city of Baton Rouge is using funds from the trillion-dollar American bailout bill, which was passed to help stricken cities, towns and businesses of the COVID pandemic and unemployed as businesses close. She said the borough spent $56 million cleaning sewers and drains to prevent flooding. Some of the money went to law enforcement. It was an expense that Baton Rouge could not afford on its own.

After the meeting, Broome said the Biden administration was good at getting the money into the hands of local officials, which expedited the completion of the projects.

Broome said she plans to meet Thursday with the two congressmen representing Baton Rouge: US Rep. Garret Graves, a Republican, and Troy Carter, a Democrat. Afterwards, Broome and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber will host a hospitality suite to visit officials who have come for the Mardi Gras event.

The four announced Republican gubernatorial nominees are also here, holding fundraisers. They also spend time associating with politicians and business representatives.

“It’s a good spot for a quick date,” Mandeville Republican Rep. Richard Nelson said upon arrival. He has a fundraiser planned, but mostly Nelson said he wants to visit officials from across the state.

Nominees Attorney General Jeff Landry and State Treasurer John Schroder are holding fundraisers Wednesday night. State Senator Sharon Hewitt delivers hers on Thursday afternoon.

Even politicians not running for governor hold meet-and-greets.

Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, R-Baton Rouge, hosts a breakfast while Louisiana House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales, Public Service Commissioner Craig Greene, R-Baton Rouge, serves cocktails at events.

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