Tunica-Biloxi Tribe co-hosts first LA Rural Economic Development Summit

Published: Jul. 8, 2019 at 4:11 PM CDT
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This week local, state and national leaders are in Marksville for the first Louisiana Rural Economic Development Summit. The event is focused on spreading tips and resources to help rural economies boom.

It's the brainchild of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe, who have a big stake in rural Central Louisiana. They contacted Southern University Law Center to help them co-host the event and move their area forward.

"Looking for ways to help serve the community to make bigger connections with non-native communities, especially in Louisiana, who really need the help in terms of rural economic development," said SULC Chancellor John Pierre. "I thought it was a great idea."

The panels have discussions on things like workforce development, healthcare access and small business opportunities, among other topics. A few even focus on how to improve business relationships with tribal governments.

"We believe that by partnering with small businesses and the local corporations that it benefits not only the tribe, but the local people," said Tribal member Jeremy Zahn. "It brings jobs to the communities, brings income, makes people live a better, meaningful more productive lives."

State leaders like Congressman Ralph Abraham came to speak with attendees on Monday. He hopes to see the summit become a yearly tradition.

"You plant the seed and then the tree grows," Congressman Abraham said. "This is what this is about. They are going to see the positive impact that this has, not only locally, not only regionally, but statewide. People are going to want to be involved in it over and over."

Governor John Bel Edwards will join the summit Tuesday to speak with attendees.

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