“We want to welcome you to a very significant day in southwest Louisiana and Acadiana,” said George Swift.
Swift, president/CEO of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, and Rob Guidry, president of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, joined representatives from chambers and businesses within 11 parishes and elected officials of cities within the parish, were all on hand at Crowley City Hall to usher in a new day for businesses by signing the Acadiana-Southwest Louisiana Compact. They were all joined by various state and U.S. representatives as well.
Crowley Mayor Greg Jones welcomed all as his city, hosted the formation of the new Acadiana-Southwest Louisiana Compact region, Greater Southwest Louisiana Super Region, which joins Acadia, Allen, Beauregard, Cameron, Evangeline, Iberia, Jeff Davis, St. Landry, St. Marin, St. Mary and Vermilion parishes.
Swift served as emcee where he and Guidry read the compact before turning the microphone over to elected officials to speak about the joining of these regions.
The compact is designed to have the parishes, its businesses and its elected officials work together for economic development and the betterment of the region due to the cultural and economic similarities.
“Today we are saying we want to connect with each other,” said Swift. “And, encourage greater participation in the region’s future through a declaration of intra-dependence.”
The early steps toward the formation of this super region have been seen for years with the creations of things like Leadership EXCEL, which is a collaboration between the Crowley and Jennings chambers of commerce; and with Lafayette and Lake Charles working together to promote international trade last year.
But, when the issue of redistricting came up last year, the plan finally went into motion as the desire to keep Lafayette and Lake Charles connected grew and as businesses began really seeing the benefits of working together.
U.S. Rep. Charles W. Boustany Jr., M.D., R-District 7, was championed as one of the strongest voices urging the collaboration between the two regions throughout the morning. He was also on hand to congratulate the official signing, saying it was an important step forward for the region as well as the state.
“Not only are we going to make a mark in Louisiana as a region, but we’re going to make a national mark and an international mark,” said Boustany. “This is only the beginning. This is a historic step forward, and it is just the beginning.”
U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry, R-District 3, was also on hand to congratulate the effort and thank them for their hard work. He commented how Lake Charles’ most recent expansions will now be able to have an evident ripple effect.
State Rep. Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, the newly named Speaker of the House in Louisiana, also congratulated the two regions for coming together.
“Commerce doesn’t know political boundaries ... they only know about creating jobs, said Gregg Gothreaux, Lafayette Economic Development Authority economic developer. “God bless commerce, and God bless this alliance.”