Carville: Fort Polk ‘makes sense’ for Army - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Carville: Fort Polk ‘makes sense’ for Army

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James Carville in Leesville on Monday. James Carville in Leesville on Monday.
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LEESVILLE, LA (KPLC) -

Fort Polk makes sense for the U.S. Army.

That's according to Democratic strategist James Carville who was in Leesville on Monday, speaking at a luncheon honoring U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.

The event was hosted by Fort Polk Progress, a local installation lobbying group. Fort Polk's top brass, local leaders and residents attended the ticket event.

Carville spoke about the significance of the installation and the importance of preserving its place in the military.

"This place makes a lot of sense for the Army," Carville said. "That's got to be the point here. The training … the area that we have here … the quality of life … the schools and the infrastructure -- all of it makes sense."

A recent Army assessment looked at troop reductions at the post. Under one scenario, Fort Polk could lose almost half of its troop force. One alternative has the installation gaining around 1,000 soldiers, however.

Fort Polk Progress has been working with federal and state lawmakers to save the troop force from cuts. Carville said he has joined the fight.

"Well, I'm hopeful but I know we've got a fight," Carville said. "Hope is a wonderful thing but effort is what really counts."

Carville has ties to the Vernon Parish community.

One tie is state Sen. John Smith, R-Leesville. The two attended Louisiana State University together and were members of the same fraternity.

Smith on Monday said Carville was voted "Most Unlikely To Succeed" among his fraternity brothers.

"He proved us all wrong," Smith quipped.

Landrieu also addressed the crowd. She said the fight in Washington will continue. She said people in Vernon and Beauregard have a captive audience there.

"But this isn't about the last six months," Landrieu said. "This is about the last 10 years."

Landrieu said community members have worked with Army officials over the past decade on quality of life issues for soldiers and their families. She said that, coupled with the installation's expansion capabilities, are its greatest assets.

"We don't brag enough about what we have here," she said.

Carville is from Carville, La., and has worked on a list of successful campaigns, including Bill Clinton's presidential campaign.

He has authored several books and is a CNN political contributor.

He is married to Mary Matalin, a political consultant and Republican.

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