NAPOLEONVILLE - Senator Troy Brown hosted the inaugural meeting of the Southeast Louisiana Task force for Growth and Opportunity (SEL-GO) on Monday, Aug. 19 in Gonzales, Louisiana.

Brown introduced legislation creating SEL-GO during the 2013 Legislative session in anticipation of the influx of over 6,000 construction, direct, and indirect jobs in the River Parishes, specifically Ascension, Iberville, St. Charles, St. James and St. John the Baptist.

SEL-GO is tasked with assessing the need to create a governmental body that would design policy and programs to accommodate the growth of public service needs stemming from new projects and expansions by several companies along the Mississippi River.

The group will work with chambers of commerce, state entities and local municipalities to compile a comprehensive needs assessment based on specific requirements identified in each parish.

Funding for additional public services would come from grants and government-approved funds that support the development of human resources, transportation, health care, law enforcement, housing, education, and infrastructure throughout the River parishes.

SEL-GO is comprised of two representatives each from Ascension, Iberville, St. Charles, St. James, and St. John the Baptist parishes. The members are Sherrie Despino and Stevie Graugnard of Ascension, Mayor Lionel Johnson and Hank Grace of Iberville, Rusty Rebowe and John Harmon of St. Charles, Steve Nosacka and Aspen Steib of St. James, and Larry Sorapuru, Jr. and Carl Monica of St. John parish.

All members were present and elected Steve Nosacka President of SEL-GO. Other elected officers were Rusty Rebowe as Vice President, Aspen Steib as Secretary/Treasurer and Stevie Graugnard as Parliamentarian.

Brown's SEL-GO initiative mirrors the Southwest Louisiana Task Force for Growth and Opportunity Group in Calcasieu parish.

The Southwest group faces challenges that are similar to SEL-GO's due to the Sasol due to the new Sasol liquefied natural gas project in Lake Charles, which is currently the largest expansion project in Louisiana.

The River parishes are preparing for a yet to be announced project that will be the largest industrial project/plant in the history of Louisiana as well as several other announced expansions and new facilities.