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Community Leader | Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser

Community Leader | Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser

Man of the People

-Liesel Schmidt

There’s a saying about putting your money where your mouth is, an adage that God helps those who help themselves, and an axiom that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. For Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser, it was these very principles, coupled with the frustrations of what wasn’t being done that served as the catalyst for launching his career into politics. “When Hurricane Katrina happened, I wasn’t happy with the response,” says Nungesser. “We didn’t see any elected officials. I rescued people and animals, and we were pretty much on our own. All of the attention was on New Orleans, so I decided to run for Plaquemines Parish president to make a difference. After the oil spill, I was on CNN every night, acting as the voice of our frustration. It did not seem like we had enough officials standing up for the coast, the animals, the seafood industry, and the people who lived here and were being affected. That’s when I decided to run for lieutenant governor.”

Since then, Nungesser’s career has been dedicated to making a difference and making the people of the entire state of Louisiana feel heard and recognized. “My career as lieutenant governor has been challenging because I want to fix everything,” Nungesser admits. “It’s just my nature. We never say no to anyone who calls my office. We try to find help for everyone; and as challenging as it is to spread yourself so thin, we are making a difference all over Louisiana.”

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Naturally, his position is met with its share of challenges as he tries to meet his goals and make a lasting impact on the state. “Standing up and always doing the right thing is not a popular thing,” says Nungesser. “For instance, being against the diversion which is making millions of dollars for people on something that will not save the coast and can’t build land above the water line. The studies also show that dolphins will be extinct in the Gulf in 50 years if we build it. Yet, there has been so much money thrown at it: for advertising, buying silence, threatening local parish leaders if they come out against it and telling them that they wouldn’t get coastal money. The CPRA and the team they’ve assembled has threatened to punish people if they come out against it, but I know in my heart it is the right thing to do, to stop it and to use that money to pump river sediment.”

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