Baton Rouge, LA – The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) has announced plans for “LA23,” a bold initiative to position Louisiana as an economic leader in the South by 2030, crafted through extensive research and a vetting process with a broad array of stakeholders. The mission of LA23 is to define and articulate key issues that face the people and businesses of Louisiana. It is a strategic plan and 8-year vision, but with specific near-term milestones to provide informed policy guidance for candidates in the fall 2023 elections. LA23 will be released in late summer or early fall of this year.
“We are engaging business leaders, outside consultants and issue experts to help develop a roadmap for our state that works not only for Louisiana businesses, but for all Louisianans,” said LABI President and CEO Stephen Waguespack. “The drama of who may or may not run for office this year has glossed over a much more critical question: what is Louisiana’s plan for success? Our state is at the bottom of too many lists and at the top of far too few. Our people deserve better. The goal of LA23 is to provide a clear, data-driven guide for where the state needs to go and what we must accomplish to be an economic driver in the South.”
“As a committed member of Louisiana’s business community, I am excited about our opportunity to make a difference over the course of this critical year, and I am particularly excited about our LA23 initiative,” said Jude Melville, CEO of b1BANK and LABI’s 2023 board chairman. “Louisiana needs a long-term aspirational vision, and we need a bold plan for achieving that vision. I am confident through LA23 our efforts will contribute greatly to both.”
Throughout February and March, LABI will host regional listening sessions throughout the state to share current research, key concepts and solicit input from businesses and Louisianans. The second round of listening sessions will be held this summer. We are also sending surveys out statewide for the broadest level of input possible.
To assist in the process, LABI has hired Ted Abernathy, managing partner of Economic Leadership LLC, as lead project consultant, Beverly Haydel founder of Sequitur Consulting, as project director, and CMA Strategies founding partner Pat McFerron to assist with data collection. Other outside specialists and partners will be utilized throughout the project.
“2023 is a critical year for the future of Louisiana,” said Haydel. “I am confident that the data and research we collect through the LA23 project will provide our state and its leaders with a clear roadmap to implement innovative policy solutions that will drive economic growth and success for Louisiana.”
“Make no mistake, this project will not be bogged down in session politics, and it will not be just a repackaged version of the greatest hits of the past,” said Waguespack. “LA23 is a gameplan to put Louisiana on the path to competing with Texas, Florida, Tennessee and Georgia. It’s time to get to work.”