Sen. Vitter answers questions from local residents at library

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 23, 2011



LAPLACE – As part of a regular town hall meeting tour of all 64 parishes, U.S. Sen. David Vitter was in LaPlace Wednesday to discuss a wide range of local and national issues with residents of St. John the Baptist Parish.

Vitter, who appeared at the east bank Central Library branch, spoke to a room of about 40 residents that included Parish President Natalie Robottom. Residents provided written questions that Vitter answered openly.

“I want to hear about the challenges you face every day and I want to know the issues that matter to you most,” Vitter said to those in attendance. “These meetings are always a good read of what is happening in the state.”

Vitter addressed a few key points before getting into the questions. He said the biggest challenge for the coming years will be spending and debt throughout the U.S. government.

“We are on a very unstable path,” Vitter said. “The national debt is more than $14 trillion and for every dollar we spend, 40 cents is borrowed. We can’t stay on this path without consequences.”

Vitter said he is co-authoring bills to switch the government from an annual budget system to a two-year budget system so that Congress and the Senate can focus on oversight and look closer at how money gets spent in an effort to monitor and weed out fraud.

Vitter also spoke about energy and the continued soaring of gas prices nationwide. He reinforced the need to continue to develop domestic energy resources to limit the country’s dependence on foreign oil.

“I want to fight to re-open the gulf and other areas for drilling,” Vitter said. “We are the single most energy rich country in the world and we need to harness what we have. We are the only country that takes 90 percent of its natural resources and puts it off limits. That practice needs to stop.”

Meanwhile, audience questions targeted Vitter’s thoughts on Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security, jobs and unemployment, ethanol subsidies and Planned Parenthood.

One question even touched on the current Housing Authority woes affecting St. John Parish. Vitter referenced a similar case in Lafayette, where his office lobbied the Department of Housing and Urban Development to get involved in the city’s housing funding shortfall to prevent residents from having to foot the bill.

“My office regularly handles cases like that where residents come in with problems,” Vitter said. “I invite you to visit my offices whenever you feel the need.”