SHREVEPORT – United States Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today brought her committee to Shreveport to focus on the impact of manufacturing closures on small and main street businesses in north Louisiana. The field hearing was the first of Landrieu’s tenure and the first ever held in Shreveport. Manufacturing plant closures in north Louisiana have cost the region more than 2,000 direct jobs in the last year alone.

“North Louisiana has experienced firsthand the impact that the delicate economy has had on small businesses,” Sen. Landrieu said. “With the closure of manufacturing plants throughout the region, thousands of hardworking Louisianians have lost their jobs. The plants and corporations get the headlines, but their closures also force main street business owners to hang going-out-of business signs in their windows. For communities in this area, losses of ten jobs here and twenty jobs there also mean people aren’t shopping in our communities and aren’t eating in our local restaurants affecting even more main street businesses.

“There is no easy solution to the crisis affecting Louisiana’s small businesses, but I will continue to fight in the Senate to make federal programs more accessible to entrepreneurs and business owners struggling to survive. Small businesses employ more than half of the American workforce, and if the nation is to recover from this recession, small businesses will lead the way.”

Witnesses at today’s hearing included Congressman Rodney Alexander, R-La., Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover, Bastrop Mayer Clarence Hawkins, Acting Louisiana State Director for Rural Development at the U.S Department of Agriculture Karen Nardini, Director of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership of Louisiana Corinne Dupuy, U.S. Small Business Administration Louisiana District Director Michael Ricks and Northeast Louisiana Economic Alliance President/CEO Tana Trichel.

Sen. Landrieu’s opening statement and witness testimony are available here.