Wicker Optimistic About Mississippi's Future

Statewide Travels Showcase Strong Work Ethic, Community Spirit

August 18, 2014

For more than four decades, Congress has set aside the month of August for lawmakers to spend time in their home states with their constituents. In addition to attending events in various parts of the state, I utilize this summer work-period to travel across Mississippi, meeting with the people I represent. I am excited about the opportunity to spend time in at least 23 counties this month.

Throughout our state, the message is clear: Mississippi’s future is bright. We are leading the way in advanced health-care technologies, agricultural innovation, energy production, job creation, workforce training, and national security tactics. Our strong work ethic and community spirit have helped make the Magnolia State a beacon of free enterprise, commerce, and research.

Cutting-Edge Advancements in Health Care

Our state’s health-care providers are constantly finding new and innovative ways to advance medical care and patient outreach. For example, the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) is conducting some of the most extensive research ever performed on Alzheimer’s by employing state-of-the-art technologies.

At a recent roundtable discussion sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association, I discussed ways in which research facilities like UMMC could partner with the federal government to find more effective treatments – and one day a cure – for the millions of Americans and their families who suffer due to this terrible disease.

Our state also faces the challenge of providing medical care to vulnerable populations and medically underserved areas. On August 15, I was pleased to attend the ribbon-cutting of the state’s newest community health center in Southaven. As a long-time champion of community-based health centers, I believe citizens in DeSoto County will benefit immensely from this new facility.

Defending the Homeland

On August 9, I was honored to welcome home to Gautier a true American hero – U.S. Marine Sgt. Anthony McDaniel. This brave young man, who has sacrificed so much for his country, is an inspiration to all who meet him and hear his story. His strength and resolve are emblematic of all those who volunteer to protect and preserve our great nation. As a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I will continue my work to ensure that our troops have both the resources they need to do their job and the care they deserve when their mission has been completed.

To that end, I am fighting to protect the Mississippi National Guard’s 155th Heavy Brigade Combat Team. The 155th is integral to our nation’s defense at home and overseas. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has proposed to reduce the number of Heavy Brigade Combat Teams in an effort to restructure the Army and cut personnel. Mississippi’s Adjutant General Augustus Collins has stated that this ill-advised move could set our Guard back by 10 years. My number 1 priority in September is to push for Congress to pass NDAA before the end of the fiscal year, which includes a provision that I authored to block the Administration’s proposal.

A Beacon of Free Enterprise

Mississippi has repeatedly shown it is a great place to do business. From international corporations like Rolls Royce and Monsanto to small businesses like Mitchell Distributing in Meridian or Krumbs bakery in Meadville, our state is experiencing an economic resurgence.

To ensure that this growth continues, we must equip Mississippians with the expertise to fulfill the jobs of today and tomorrow. Our state’s universities, community colleges, and Job Corps centers are up to the task. Every year, they are preparing thousands of Mississippians with the skills they need to compete in today’s global economy.

My meetings with job creators, local leaders, and citizens from all walks of life underscore for me the great potential for future growth in our state. I look forward to working in the U.S. Senate to realize this potential with policies that advocate lower taxes, fewer regulations, and less Washington intrusion. We can all play a role in seeing that Mississippi's dynamic economy continues to flourish.