Sen. Katrina Jackson celebrates victories, takes on challenges for La. 34
Senator Katrina Jackson is hopeful for the people of Louisiana District 34. She is no stranger to controversy, either, as a rare pro-life Democrat in the Louisiana Legislator.
Jackson was born and raised in Monroe, and received a Bachelor's degree in Pre-law and Legal Studies from the University of Louisiana at Monroe and a Juris Doctor Degree from Southern University Law Center. She is the State Representative for Louisiana House District 34 and represents parts of Concordia, East Carroll, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland, and Tensas parishes.
"I'm not perfect, I'm a sinner who's been saved by Christ, trying to do his will."
On Challenges in the District
I was sworn in in January and by March we were sent home for COVID, so there were a lot of restrictions on travelling through the district and holding community meetings. How you communicated with your constituents vastly changed.
One of the major challenges was poor broadband connection during and after COVID that kept children from doing homework and joining zoom classes. Our governor and leaders have answered and we're seeing that moving forward. East Carroll parish was one of the early parishes that the governor chose for broadband rollout.
On Representing an agricultural district
Representing people that are very involved in agriculture feels the same as when I was in my old district. Morehouse has the largest land mass of farmers in the state with its share of challenges and victories.
One thing that I picked up in agriculture that I didn't have before is Tensas and East Carroll Port, information on dredging, and the ability to advocate with congressional members.
Agriculture affects everyone because everything grown here has to go through a port. Within the first couple of years when rain is scarce the river that helps the East Carroll port transport goods gets low, stopping goods from getting out of Louisiana. That makes conversations with Congress on dredging and port improvements very necessary to keep our economy from being negatively affected.
Agriculture is the number one industry in the state. A lot of people because they don't live on farms, they don't work on farms, they think "Oh, it's just country folks." The truth is that [agriculture] affects the Louisiana economy more than any other industry. When our ports are not strong, when farmers lose their crops, when farm bills don't come through, it affects Louisiana's economy.
On what people don't realize about her job
On the other side of being successful, you are often ridiculed. There are also times when you're downright insulted. I'm in the middle of a lawsuit with a woman who told me she hopes I burn in hell, and ended her tweet with "I don't respect all Black women because some of you are [a derogatory name]." So apparently I blocked her on Twitter. I'm in the middle of a federal lawsuit to protect her right to go on my Twitter page and use hate speech.
People see us in lawsuits and say "Lord, what have they done wrong?" and they don't take the time to read the full story. Those are things that we, on top of what we do for our districts, have to go and defend.
Most people equate us with Congressional members, who are full time with a full-time salary. We are part-time. We have to have our careers and take care of our family. I am raising my thirteen year old nephew. I am also an official guardian, i.e. parent. As a legislator, it really helps that our families undergird us. We don't do it by ourselves.