Op eds

This letter to the editor by Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) first appeared in the Ouachita Citizen on April 7, 2021. 

Though we notice them most during emergencies, linemen are at work every day to maintain the power lines that keep northeast Louisiana’s lights on and homes heated and cooled.

A lineman’s work can be as dangerous as it is important.

These men and women work around live wires on a routine basis. They serve during hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters, so the lineman’s job is one of the riskiest around. Linemen are not just technicians: They are first responders. Louisiana has witnessed linemen’s bravery time and time again.

Last year, after Hurricanes Laura, Delta, and Zeta hammered Louisiana, linemen were first on the scene to repair downed lines. During this February’s historic winter storm, linemen again rose to the challenge as first responders.

When ice and freezing temperatures left thousands of Louisiana families huddling for warmth, linemen cleared live wires, trees, and dangerous debris on the ground.

While leaving home was still dangerous for many in northeast Louisiana, linemen restored electricity and safety to Monroe, Jonesboro, Rayville, Marion, Colfax, and other communities. Louisiana linemen are outstanding. Storms target our state more often than most other states, which means linemen routinely risk their safety for their neighbors.

With that in mind, I just introduced the Linemen Legacy Act to legally qualify linemen as first responders.

It’s time to honor linemen for the heroes that they are. Becky and I are grateful to all of Louisiana’s utility linemen for their faithful service.