Mike Reese has worked his entire life fostering economic growth within his community. He grew up in Leesville and worked mowing lawns around town and on Fort Polk as a teenager.
When he graduated from college with a degree in finance and business administration, he had the opportunity to move away to start a career but he chose not to.
Instead, he continued to work at American Moving and Storage, where he had worked since he was 15 years old.
In 2001 he had the opportunity to purchase the company through a USDA Rural Loan Guarantee program.
He worked for many years to pay back the loan, often long hours that took time away from his family. But he didn’t mind doing it because he had employees who counted on him.
In 2006 he co-founded Fort Polk Progress with a goal of growing and maintaining Fort Polk as the largest employer in the state.
Through Fort Polk Progress, Reese and his fellow board members have worked hard to make Fort Polk more attractive to soldiers with families who come here.
Together, they helped foster local employment opportunities, reciprocating occupational licensing agreements and worked to improve the education system.
It saddened him to see young adults who graduated from college move out of the community or to another state altogether to start a career instead of coming back home to work.
“Those people should not be forced to leave because there is no job here in our community. We need to find ways to grow our economy right here,” Reese said.
Now Reese feels that he has taken Fort Polk Progress as far as he can go as a volunteer advocating for better education and employment opportunities for spouses and children.
“It is time for me to take my volunteer hat off and jump into the real fire to move on to the next step,” Reese said.
He knows he has a long road ahead of him campaigning for the District 30 Senate seat. His only experience with politics was in 2000 when he ran for and was elected to the Republican State Central Committee.
He had the opportunity to recruit new candidates and elect delegates to the state government.
He is very confident that his involvement in federal and state level policy making with Fort Polk has prepared him for the work he will need to do in the Senate.
He says that in order to make any changes you have to be involved at the level where changes are made. He is determined to change the economic and education system in Louisiana.
Now that he has announced his candidacy his campaign is underway. The election will be held in October and until then he will be out pounding the pavement meeting his constituents.
He has a very large district to cover from Hornbeck in Vernon Parish to Vinton in Calcasieu Parish. But he is ready to get out there and do what is needed in order to make the changes he wants to see throughout the district and the State of Louisiana.