A line formed nearly to Eddie G. Robinson Stadium as faculty, students and members of the Grambling community waited to enter the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center to have the opportunity to meet and greet with newly sworn in Gov. John Bel Edwards.
Gov. Edwards arrived on campus at 9 a.m. and was greeted by the university president, Dr. Willie Larkin, and mayor of Grambling, Edward Jones. He was then shown on a tour of the Eddie Robinson Museum and the campus.
Following the tour, Gov. Edwards then entered the Assembly Center along with esteemed individuals of Grambling including the Rev. C. Dewayne Hollins.
“It has been a joy for me to be on campus here this morning,” said Edwards. “I just want to tell you how excited and optimistic I am about the future of the great state of Louisiana, and I know that we have some tremendous challenges in the short term and I am mindful that we are all going to have to work together, that our task is going to be very difficult; there will be those who will oppose what we are trying to do, but I remain steadfastly optimistic about our future. For this simple reason, the most precious natural resource God has entrusted to our care. It’s not our fertile soil although we thank him for that. It’s not the oil and gas under the ground, although we thank him for that. It’s not our pine trees, it’s not the Mississippi River — it’s our children. And there is nothing that we can do that is more important than setting them up for success here in Louisiana, by creating opportunity. Education is synonymous with opportunity,” said Edwards in his speech.
The governor went on to illustrate to the audience that a change is on the horizon for the state of Louisiana.
“Even in the midst of the most pressing fiscal challenge that our state has ever seen, I don’t know if you know this, but as your new governor, I have inherited the largest budget deficit in the history of Louisiana. We’re going to be close to $900 million short, closing out the current fiscal year… But I am determined that we are going to stabilize the state of Louisiana, that we are not going to cut higher education further, we’re not going to raise tuition on our kids… It’s going to be hard because the alternatives to that are difficult. We’ve been left in a mess, but it’s our job to clean it up and put us back on a path to prosperity and we’re going to do that.”
Edwards ended his speech by asking each and every one to come together for a united cause for the betterment of the state of Louisiana.
“My challenge to everyone is let’s be Louisianans first. Let’s join together in good faith and work together so that we can solve these pressing problems here in short-term.”