Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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A New Office for District 36

by Amber McDown

State Senator Robert Mills opened a new office behind Northwest Louisiana Technical College just before the pandemic hit in 2020. Unfortunately, due to the restrictions that followed, there was never a grand opening, and Senator Mills would like for the people of District 36 to know that it is here. While District 36 has traditionally kept its office in Bossier, Senator Mills said, “Geographically, this is the heart of the district.” There is still an office in Bossier City, but Mills considers it to be his satellite office. He believes that this is the first time that the main district office has been located in Minden. 

“Our job is to assist the constituents of District 36,” Mills said. “There are quite a few things that, procedurally, a senator signs-off on for small towns—lots of grants, programs, money moving around—that need a senator’s approval. All of these hundreds of little villages and towns and communities, they are communicating with Baton Rouge for all the different things they do, and a lot of it requires a support letter or a comment from this office.” 

There are many reasons someone might call the office. ”It runs the gamut: child support, unemployment, tickets, rent, utility assistance,” said Brenda Autry, Legislative Assistant for Senator Mills. “Anything a constituent might have a concern with: foreclosures, birth certificates…” Often, the questions are about things that the district office cannot directly help with. In those cases, Ms. Autry redirects the person to the appropriate department. Legislative assistants, for both the state senators and state representatives, collaborate across districts to aid the citizens of Louisiana. Assistants like Ms. Autry will ask you to sign a release and to make a statement. They can then send your request to the appropriate Congressman. “It’s the fulfillment that you get from being able to help someone or guide them to a resolution,” Ms. Autry said. “Senator Mills has allowed me to be the vessel to help, and that’s what I do. It’s an honor to be trusted.” 

Senator Mills’ goals for the upcoming regular Session include increasing security of mail-in ballots, lowering liability rates on auto insurance, discarding the seatbelt gag rule (which states that non-usage of a seatbelt is not admissible in court), teacher retention, and protecting our natural resources, specifically the water in Lake Bistineau. “When you hear things, when you feel things, when you see things that people don’t like—that you don’t like—say something. Because, too often, people don’t speak up,” said Mills. “I’m in a position where I might be able to do something about it.” 

Senator Mills and Ms. Autry hope to schedule an open house to show off their new office before the regular session begins in March. “We’re here, we’re open for business, and we’re here purely to give them a voice in Baton Rouge,” said Mills. “They’ve got to come talk to us if they’ve got an issue, and ask us to help.”

The office is located at 105 Harvey’s Way in Minden, in the same building as the Workforce Development Office. You can contact Senator Mills and Legislative Assistant Autry by phone at (318) 371-5200 or by email at [email protected].  Visitors will be seen by appointment only.

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