Four Obama Cabinet members coming to St. John

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 15, 2009


RESERVE – The White House announced last week that St. John Parish has been named as one of nine stops for a presidential listening tour in rural areas of the United States that will feature four members of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will be in Reserve next Monday at the National Guard Readiness Center to gain feedback on rural healthcare. The event will be a town hall format in which the secretaries will take and answer questions and concerns from residents in attendance. The stop is part of a broad initiative by the Obama administration to reconnect with the rural public.

“A healthy American economy depends on a prosperous rural America,” Obama said. “Rural America is vast and diverse, and different communities face different challenges and opportunities.  That’s why we’re going out to hear directly from the people of rural America about their needs and concerns and what my administration can do to support them.”

Administration officials participating in the Rural Tour will hear about the diverse set of challenges and opportunities facing the small towns and rural communities that are so integral to the fabric of American life.  They will share some of the Administration’s ideas about how to nurture strong, robust and vibrant rural communities. In addition to healthcare, the tour stops will focus on economic development, the new energy economy, climate change, agriculture, education and infrastructure. The stop in Reserve is the only one scheduled in Louisiana. Other stops include Alaska, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The meeting, scheduled for Monday, July 20, at the National Guard Readiness Center at 4120 Airline Highway in Reserve, is open to everyone in the public and is set to begin around 11 a.m. Seating will commence at 10 a.m. Anyone who wishes to attend is encouraged to come early to gain a seat.