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John Kerry Talks Business at National Black Chamber of Commerce in New Orleans

by Pamela Leavey

John Kerry was in New Orleans today to address the National Black Chamber of Commerce. The visit was Kerry’s third visit to Louisiana since Hurricane Katrina, and his second visit to New Orleans. Kerry is the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship.

More than 400 business leaders from more than 30 states and several countries attended the conference, which was originally slated to be held in Atlanta and moved to New Orleans to help with the city’s rebuilding efforts.

Kerry told Chamber members at a hotel Friday that access to capital funds remains one of the top obstacles to starting and building a small business, particularly for minorities.

In New Orleans and other devastated communities along the Gulf Coast, local and small business owners should be given first shot at federal contracts for recovery, along with bridge loans, he said.

“This is a matter of urgency, and it’s a matter of common sense,” Kerry said, noting that roughly 125,000 small to medium businesses along the Gulf Coast were disrupted by last year’s storms.

Before addressing the Chamber, Kerry told reporters that he’s disappointed so much of the city is still at a standstill and that piles of storm debris litter sidewalks.

“You still have such a low percentage of fundamental services,” he said. “In order to make it possible for people to move back, you’ve got to clean up and you’ve got to have fundamental services.”

Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., who is also a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, joined John Kerry at the National Black Chamber of Commerce conference.

Barack Obama of Illinois, was also in New Orleans today, on his first visit to the area, since Hurricane Katrina.

3 Responses to “John Kerry Talks Business at National Black Chamber of Commerce in New Orleans”

  1. Thanks for the info. I didn’t see anyone report this in the msm but why of course it was a Kerry story.

    Nice job senator, looks like JK still has the gulf coast folks back.

    Only thing that messed the pic up was Mary L.

    Sorry, but its obvious all her butt kissing to dubya still hasn’t paid off for her state.

    I would have though Obama would have been to town more than he has as he was front and center on Oprah’s show after the Katrina disaster.

    Well, it wasn’t the NAACP but it was just as important because its clear small business owners in NOLA and elsewhere on the coast still need a lot of assistance and they are getting little help from DC. Maybe the senator and his staff could do a session where they help small business owners apply for assistance like he did in Mass after the floods. Although the gulf isn’t his area he is the top dem on the small business committee.

  2. Glad to see Kerry doing this. 🙂

  3. Pen

    Not much about Katrina seems to make national news these days sadly – but it’s hard to get past the headlines from the Middle East too, I’m afraid.