SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — Governor John Bel Edwards has created a study group aimed at identifying and responding to the decline in Louisiana's rural communities. Population in the state's rural areas has dwindled amid problems with job creation, infrastructure and education systems. The Democratic governor Friday signed an executive order establishing a Governor's Advisory Council on Rural Revitalization. The 34-member panel is charged with determining the needs of rural communities on a long list of issues and finding financing options to help address the problems. A strategic plan is due by January 2021. Edwards announced the plans at the Police Jury Association of Louisiana’s annual convention in Shreveport. The governor's former chief of staff, Ben Nevers, will serve as chairman of the advisory council.

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