Gov. Edwards is back from Cuba and talks trade, hurricane, but not Yenni

KENNER, LA (WGNO) — Governor John Bel Edwards returned from a trade mission to Cuba Friday night.  Initially, the governor was expected to arrive a little after noon.  Instead, he cleared customs well after 8:00 Friday night.  But he still had plenty to say about the trip and weather.

The governor was accompanied on the trip by Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain and a group of business people from the state.

He said the trip was productive.  Currently Louisiana leads all other states in the U.S. in trade with Cuba.  The governor puts the number at more than a billion dollars in trade over the past decade.

But he feels that number could be increased significantly.  Edwards says one of his first moves now that he's back home will be appealing to members of congress -- from Louisiana and other states -- urging them to ease the decades-old trade embargo with Cuba.  President Obama already made moves to normalize diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Edwards also talked about Hurricane Matthew which threatened to strike Cuba's eastern coast during the Louisiana delegation visit.  Edwards said that he met with some of the same people who were overseeing Cuba's emergency preparations.

"We found out that in 200 years, they've had 108 hurricanes in Cuba," Edwards said.  "They know how to prepare for a hurricane."

While Edwards was gone, the news broke about the texting scandal involving Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni.  The governor offered no opinion on the situation.

"I was briefed on it, but I was only given about 8 seconds of information, and I'm going to withhold comment until I know more," Edwards said.