BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) – Governor John Bel Edwards held a press conference at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Governor’s mansion to mark his first year in office.
The first year was eventful, with the state facing crisis after crisis – some man-made and others natural.
Entering office, Edwards faced a mounting disaster in the form of the state’s financial crisis. The state faced a budget shortfall of more than $900 million for the fiscal year ending at the end of June. Meanwhile, the shortfall for fiscal year 2016 – 2017 was close to $2 million.
He called lawmakers into two special sessions aimed at fixing the budget, though came up short, forcing cuts. The budget shortfall continues, with the state likely facing a $300 million mid-year shortfall.
Edwards received praise from members of both political parties for his handling of the Alton Sterling shooting and the protests across the capitol region that followed. Two weeks later, three law enforcement officers were killed and three wounded in an ambush shooting on police.
“The fact that he was able to calm everyone down during the police shootings, that speaks highly of the leadership skills he certainly exhibited,”
said Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego.
Edwards also oversaw recovery efforts after August’s historic flooding in the Baton Rouge area. That storm left more than 100,000 homes damaged.