Economic hardships top concern among residents, Congressman Garret Graves says

Staff Report

A recent visit to cities and towns across the area gave Congressman Garret Graves an idea of the hardships that residents face in the area – and they are common with those across the United States.

High costs for fuel, a spike in utility bills and the rapid increase in food prices were among the biggest concerns and complaints he said he heard from residents when he visited the parish earlier this month.

U.S. District 6 Congressman Garret Graves

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a high school student getting back and forth to school, or if you’re a truck driver taking loads of products to the farm or to the grocery store,” said Graves, R-Baton Rouge. “It’s having a huge impact, and ultimately results in consumers paying for it over and over again.”

The higher cost of living has compromised the ability for families to make ends meet, and the situation does not get easier for them, he said.

“That includes customers paying for gas to go to the store, through higher prices on products and electricity,” Graves said.

He blamed government regulations and bureaucracy for the nation’s ability to recover from the downhill slide that began with the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

It’s been particularly tough on farmers, Graves said.

“Some of the regulations challenging our farmers are now compounded by the fact that natural gas prices have nearly tripled, and that’s one of the most important components in fertilizer,” he said.

“The fertilizer supply chain, fertilizer being unaffordable and problems with government regulations making on top that make it even harder to run these farms right now.”

The situation amounts to what he called “an awful collision of errors and mistakes imposed in Washington.”

Graves said President Joe Biden could serve himself and the nation better if he would accept responsibility for mistakes.

“It’s one thing to make mistakes – we all make them, myself included,” he said. “But what’s more important is how you respond to that.

“Now, he blames high fuel prices on Putin and companies that he claims are price-gouging,” he said. “Next. he’ll blame high fuel prices on Big Foot.”

The “blame game” has hindered what could have been improvements in the cost and availability of fuel, as well as lower electricity prices, Graves said.

“If you keep going out there and blaming with all these bogus excuses, you will never address the root of the problem,” he said.

“It’s not that we’re trying to hold people to a status the perfection of Christ, but you have to fess up to mistakes and most important, step in and actually fix it.”