Elected Gonzales officials attend Washington D.C. conference; Mayor invited to lay wreath at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Elected Gonzales officials attend Washington D.C. conference; Mayor invited to lay wreath at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Friday, March 11, 2016

Gonzales, LA –City of Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux was joined by Councilmen Neal Bourque, Harold Stewart, Terance Irvin and David Guitreau, from March 5 – 9, for the 2016 National League of Cities Congressional City Conference in Washington D.C. The conference serves as a way for municipalities across the nation to gain insight on funding opportunities and meet with their federal representatives, and is attended by over 45 members of the Louisiana Municipal Association (LMA). In total, over 1,500 people were registered from across the United States.

Washington 3The group met with Congressman Garrett Graves while at the conference. Graves, who was not in session at the time, flew into Washington D.C. specifically to meet with the City of Gonzales delegation and held a reception for all municipality attendees from across Louisiana. In attendance were Senators Bill Cassidy and David Vitter, and the mayor and council were able to gain a better understanding of financial options for the proposed roundabouts on Hwy. 30 and roadwork on Hwy. 44 in preparation for the upcoming Conway development. They also discussed other upcoming city development ideas.

“I’ve been attending this conference since my first year in office,” stated Mayor Arceneaux. “It is a professionally handled conference complete with courses throughout the day and ample time to meet with other elected officials who have the state’s best interest at heart. They work closely with us to find federal funding that we may not otherwise know about.”

Washington 5Mayor Arceneaux, who is this year’s LMA First Vice President, received a special and unexpected honor while in Washington D.C. The Chief of Staff for the LMA, Cliff Palmer, is a retired Colonel with the United Air Force who was assigned to the Pentagon many years ago. As 2016 is the LMAs 90th birthday, he felt that organizing something special was in order.

Washington 1“I couldn’t believe the honor when I was told that I would be among four people chosen to participate in the wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier,” said Mayor Arceneaux. “LMA President Carol Breaux of Springhill and I were asked to actually lay the wreath, and we were accompanied in the procession to the monument by our Executive Director Ronnie Harris and the Mayor of Ville Platte and LMA Board Member Jennifer Vidrine. It’s a beautiful and very touching moment. As an American, it was a privilege to take part. As a veteran, it was nothing short of a very emotional honor. As a member of the LMA, it was a truly meaningful experience to represent our fine state. Laying that wreath in such a prominent and poignant place is a memory that will forever stay with me. I still can’t believe I was chosen to take part.”

Washington 4The Gonzales delegation has now returned to the local area, and Arceneaux is excited about what was learned and what can be applied to future Gonzales projects.

“Each year, we gain more and more insight,” said Mayor Arceneaux. “Gonzales is growing, and with that growth comes many additional expenses whether they be infrastructure or building projects. This conference allows all of us who care about our city to have better tools at our disposal for managing that growth in the most cost effective ways possible.”