Aug 19 2013
State Overcomes Summer Doldrums With Grand Openings, Civic Meetings
Each August, I have an opportunity to travel across the state and meet with Mississippians while Congress is in summer recess. The Senate’s legislative calendar allows for a month-long state work period, when lawmakers can visit with constituents and participate in local events.
This month has been an especially exciting time for Mississippi. From grand openings to civic club meetings, our communities continue to demonstrate why they are great places to live and work. Local citizens drive this community spirit, and their dedication plays a critical role in ensuring our state is ready for the future.
Protecting Our Military Communities
One example of local citizens working to make a difference is the Mississippi Military Communities Council (MMCC). The group – comprised of experts from military communities across the state – is focused on protecting Mississippi from potential base closings and realignments. This preparation is prudent: Sharp defense cuts have already put a strain on budgets, and the Obama Administration has proposed another round of base closures in 2015.
On August 8, I joined state officials and members of the congressional delegation for a MMCC summit in Jackson. The meeting was a chance to reaffirm the importance of Mississippi’s robust military presence. Not only are our bases, installations, and units vital to national security, they also contribute significantly to the local economy and workforce. A coordinated local approach, as the council exemplifies, is important to identifying opportunities that support evolving military missions and modernize our existing military establishments. The recent closure of U.S. embassies around the world reminds us that we face very real and dangerous threats. Now is not the time to consider closing our military bases.
Honoring Our Service Members
Mississippi’s proud military legacy is also extremely personal for the many veterans and active-duty service members who call our state home. Earlier this month, I had the privilege of presenting Tommy Verrell of New Albany with the Bronze Star and Air Medal for his heroism during the Vietnam War. Later this month, I will attend the time-honored change-of-command ceremony for the 81st Training Wing at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi. Each is a reminder of Mississippians’ steadfast willingness to protect our freedom.
Recognizing Our Economic Potential
Of course, our state’s reputation reaches beyond its military involvement. More and more businesses are realizing Mississippi is a smart place for investment. According to this year’s report from the American Legislative Exchange Council, our state is ranked in the top 10 when it comes to economic outlook.
Given this distinction, it is no surprise that Nissan is ready to create 800 new jobs at its plant in Canton. The auto manufacturer will add another vehicle to its production line, which I discussed with company leaders on a recent tour there. Similarly, the new Methodist Hospital in Olive Branch is shepherding additional job growth and economic development in DeSoto County. I look forward to attending the hospital’s upcoming grand opening.
Connecting with constituents is essential to effective lawmaking and at the heart of representative democracy. I am encouraged by the many achievements across the state this month. As your U.S. Senator, I will continue to ensure Mississippi’s best interests are conveyed in Washington.