Hammett on task force for Louisiana governor-elect

Published 1:13 am Saturday, January 2, 2016

FERRIDAY — When Louisiana Governor-elect John Bel Edwards takes office Jan. 11, his financial proposals might have a bit of a local flavor.

Former Rep. Bryant Hammett was appointed to the fiscal matters committee as part of Edwards’ transition team. The committee was tasked with coming up with recommendations for fiscal restructuring.

“It was rewarding, and I was quite pleased to participate with the process,” Hammett said.

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Edwards defeated Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter in November’s gubernatorial race. When he takes office, Edwards will replace Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal.

The biggest issue Edwards will face, Hammett said, is balancing the state’s budget.

Hammett said the new administration planned to look at everything associated with the budget, including revenues, spending, tax issues, tax credits and business incentives.

“We need to create a fundamental budget process that can be built on over the years, as opposed to what’s been going on,” Hammett said.

The committee’s recommendations were submitted mid-December for Edwards and the people he appointed to look over before he takes office.

“He wants to be able to hit the ground running Jan. 11,” Hammett said.

People will see a “fundamentally different approach to the budget process” with Edwards and the Legislature, Hammett said.

“I think the people of Louisiana should be very optimistic about the leadership Governor-elect John Bel Edwards will bring to the state, and the focus that he will have on really putting Louisiana first and concentrating on solving the problems of the administration, as opposed to running for president,” Hammett said, referencing outgoing Gov. Jindal’s presidential campaign.

Hammett is a registered professional civil engineer, a registered professional environmental engineer and a professional land surveyor. He is also the owner of Bryant Hammett and Associates Engineering firm in Ferriday.

In 1992 Hammett was elected as the District 21 seat representative in the House of Representatives. He also served as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Hammett stepped down in 2006 to take a job in the State Office of Community Development, where he led a team overseeing disaster recovery for state and government infrastructure impacted by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.