Politics of Poverty

Bobby Jindal appoints Oxfam staffer to his commission on coastal restoration

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Oxfam America’s Telley Madina will join Louisiana Governor’s advisory group

Minor Sinclair is Oxfam America’s US Regional Director.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal last week appointed Oxfam America’s Coastal Communities Program Officer, Telley Madina, as an at-large member of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Coastal Protection, Restoration and Conservation. Madina is one of 28 members appointed by the Governor; the commission also includes eight government officials.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Madina has been a formidable presence in Louisiana — in the State House, in New Orleans, and in the coastal parishes – building coalitions, forging relationships with industry, activists, and government officials as the former Executive Director of the Louisiana Oystermen Association.

Louisiana State Representative and Speaker Pro Tempore Walter Leger (left) with Oxfam America Coastal Communities Program Officer, Telley Madina (right), immediately after Governor Jindal signed the “Louisiana First” bill in 2012.

Madina has been working with Oxfam since 2011. Last year, he was a major force behind passage of the “Louisiana First” Law, which encourages employers to seek Louisiana workers in the state’s coastal restoration and protection projects. The new law opens a window of economic opportunity to local workers in projects planned under the state’s Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast, while providing important data on hiring, job trends, and training to help provide businesses with a better-prepared Louisiana workforce.

In his new post, Oxfam America is confident Madina will continue his great work of elevating the voices of the people most affected by the oil spill and extreme weather events.

“I’ve been working with coastal communities for years now, first with the Louisiana Oystermen Association, now with Oxfam America. I’m honored by this appointment, and I’ll do my best to raise the voices of the communities and vulnerable people across Southeast Louisiana,” shared Madina.

For several years, Oxfam America has had a unique angle on coastal restoration programs in the Gulf Coast. While many organizations focus solely on ecosystems or the economy, Oxfam America shines a spotlight on the people, those who live and work on the land and the water—especially those most vulnerable to natural or man-made disasters.

Since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in 2010, Oxfam has been advocating for the families who’ve lost their livelihoods due to effects from the oil spill. We advocate for the potential billions of dollars that BP and others will pay in fines (from $5 to $21 billion) should help to restore the environment and build more resilient communities, but most importantly, should be used in a way the best benefits the communities and individuals affected. This includes dedicating necessary funds to retrain workers who were impacted by the spill and taking the necessary steps to employ these workers as restoration projects move forward. The RESTORE Act, signed into law last July, will in fact direct 80% of those fines toward the Gulf Coast states. Louisiana, one of the states most affected by the spill and by a series of hurricanes in recent years, has a plan to stop the downward slide of the land and the people. The Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast will invest $50 billion into restoring and protecting its hundreds of miles of fragile and vital coastline.

In the next couple months, the BP trial will start. But when the money starts to flow, this is when the real challenge will begin for the governor and for Louisiana—how can the money best be used to restore the ecosystem, rebuild the economy, and help vulnerable communities recover their resilience and health?

Oxfam is thrilled Telley Madina will be at the table. Congrats Telley!

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