Connect with us

U.S. News

Monroe businessman Friday Ellis among those on task force to jump-start LA economy



MONROE, La. – Monroe businessman Friday Ellis is among those on the Legislative Economic Recover task force, created to jump-start the Louisiana economy in the wake of COVID-19.

The task force includes five “work groups” to focus on different aspects of this goal.

According to a presentation in the task force’s first meeting on Thursday, these groups are:

1. Ensuring Public Health and Safety at Work

2. Promoting Jobs and Opportunity for Louisiana

3. Supporting Diverse Industries Across the Louisiana Economy to Grow and Prosper

4. Removing Obstacles to Incentivize Job Creation and Economic Growth

5. Encouraging Long-Term Economic Growth

Members of the task force will come up with policy recommendations to give to the state legislature.

Ellis is serving with the first group.

“That’s what we need to ensure is ‘how do we keep our businesses safe and keep the public safe as well as we start to slowly open up the public,” he said.

Ellis said he started an advisory council and is surrounding himself with physicians, those in clinical science, restaurant owners, as well as those with other professions in order to get local input.

“In Northeast Louisiana, we have our own sets of challenges. We just got hit with this tornado, and we’ve got COVID to worry about, so we have to figure out what this looks like for us,” he said.

Ellis said one of his concerns was whether or not there would be enough PPE as the state started to open back up. He said one possible solution that could benefit the local industry would be public-private partnerships.

“Is there a way that we can work or contract with them to make masks for the public?”

Ellis also spoke on the importance of communicating public health information, both to businesses that would be opening back up and to citizens. However, one issue that can hamper this communication is the like of internet access in some of the more rural parts of the state.

“You wanna talk about businesses being forced now to go online? How are folks in, you know, the far corners of Richland parish operating their business? How can they stay informed through zoom meetings and public meetings like that if they don’t have access to broadband? How can we communicate to our neighbors in these most rural parts if they don’t have broadband access,” he said.