Open Letter to District 7 Residents from Councilman LaMont Cole

Here is the thing, being elected by the people of Baton Rouge to serve on the Metro-Council is one of the most humbling experiences of my life. I appreciate the opportunity to serve. To ensure I represent ALL people in the district, I have assembled a very diverse team of individuals all of whom reside in the district. As we leave the year 2016 having had an extremely tumultuous summer, there is demanding work to do in district seven.

We have discussed our observations and have identified the most pressing challenges facing the residents of our district. In 2017, we will implement our strategic plan to address these challenges. Currently, parts of district seven consist of crime heavy areas with no schools or poor performing schools, limited health care access and a serious lack of economic development.

The following is a list of challenges facing the residents of district seven we plan to address:

  1. Healthy Food Options: There are not many locations for healthy food options in district seven. “North of Florida Boulevard is essentially a food desert”. It is important to work with the city and business developers to open a grocery store.  The grocery store has to provide fresh produce at affordable prices for residents.  Residents have to support the grocery store and help to keep the area near it clean.  Ideally this strategy will help to attract further business development to the area. 
  2. High Quality Public Schools: The education of the students suffers when there are not enough people to effectively support the needs of the students in the area. We must and will work with the public-school system to support initiatives that will ensure all children in district seven have access to early childhood education as well high quality K-12 academic programs in the district.
  3. A Modern Health Care Facility: We do not have a modern medical facility with an emergency room in the district. It seems the medical industry chose to move emergency rooms and hospitals from the areas in need of them most.  High crime and poor academic performance are both contributors to failing health. We have a hospital in the district; however, we need to work to ensure Baton Rouge General Mid – City the health care facility it was some years ago.  Our residents need the access to quality health-care. Their lives depend on it.
  4. A Diverse Economic Development Program: There is lack of business development in district seven north of Florida Boulevard.  For instance, fine dining options, book stores, quality apparel facilities, job placement training facilities, recreational facilities for seniors and movie theatres/entertainment venues do not exist or are few and far between. We want to work with the business and political community as well The North Baton Rouge Economic Development District to draw suitable businesses to the district that are mutually beneficial for residents and participating businesses. Just as importantly we plan to address the issue of property development and ownership.
  5. A 24/7 Crime Prevention District: Crime is at an all-time high in the district.  Crime is a direct result of lack of education and economic development in the areas surrounding schools. What my office plans to do is work with neighborhood associations to develop and implement crime prevention strategies that will decrease the crime in the district.
  6. Equity Infrastructure: While traffic is an issue in the district, a bigger issue is the lack of recreation facilities for families with robust programs for young people. We need well paved streets and roads.  There are areas, both north and south of Florida Boulevard, in need of acceptable roadways, sidewalks, crosswalks and safe streets programs, consisting of neighborhood speeding control measures.  We need to address speeding in our neighborhoods where our children play.  Next, we need to clean our district by simply removing undesirable debris and litter from areas near our homes, on the streets where we live as well as in our respective neighborhoods.
  7. A More Connected District: We seek to expand the community conversations in a way to connect members of neighborhoods in the district. Based on conversations with residents, we recognize there are common issues.  If we have extraordinary involvement across the district, our district will begin to work towards solutions to address those common issues.

During my campaign, I tried to impress upon the people, I am an everyday man working for everyday people. I have lived or worked in the district for the last 30 years. Baton Rouge raised me and I have a deep, enduring love for the people.  I have learned so much from so many, and look forward to giving my blood, sweat, tears, enthusiasm, love, heart, mind and soul to helping to create a better district. I believe in the people.  I believe in the district. I will do my best to serve you well. Furthermore, I am more than willing to work with any organization dedicated to helping ALL the people of district seven. I am your councilman, together we will make NO EXCUSES, NO EXPLANATIONS, WE WILL GET THE WORK DONE!!

District 7 Councilman

LaMont Cole