WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a member of the Committee on the Environment and Public Works, today introduced Mississippi native Bill Renick of Ashland during his confirmation hearing to serve on the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Board of Directors.
In his remarks, Wicker praised Renick as the right pick for the agency, touting his credentials as “job creator” who delivers for Mississippi in a bipartisan fashion, dating back to his days as Wicker’s colleague in the Mississippi state Senate. Wicker made clear his support for Renick’s nomination in June when the White House announced it, saying Renick has a “proven record of serving our state.”
Read a transcript of Sen. Wicker’s introductory remarks below or watch them here.
Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman.
I am delighted to be here today to say a word or two about the importance that TVA continues to have for our region and for my state of Mississippi, and to congratulate all three nominees.
I'm sure Mr. White and Mr. Ritch are absolutely outstanding, but, to give as ringing of an endorsement as I possibly can for Bill Renick of Ashland, Mississippi.
A word or two about the history of TVA. In 1930, Mississippi had electric power in 85% of its larger municipalities, but only 1.5% of rural farms and homes. And coming along in 1933, TVA was a game changer.
The goal was simple: to improve living and economic conditions in seven southeastern states. And TVA has done that, and continues to do that in new and different ways.
I grew up in the small town of Pontotoc, Mississippi, and I'll help your transcribers spell that later on, Mr. Chairman. I now make my home in my wife's native town of Tupelo, and we've lived there for some decades.
Tupelo is proudly known as the first TVA city. It was the first to purchase electric power from the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the TVA lights came on in Tupelo in 1934.
Today, TVA utilities are located in 36 of our 82 counties and serve more than 359,000 households. TVA has made significant contributions to our economic development. Between 2017 and 2021, TVA created or retained over 26,000 jobs in Mississippi and invested $3.6 billion in our economy. So they are far, far more than a provider of electric power.
They are a job creator for places like Cooper Tire and Steel Dynamics and Milwaukee Tools in north Mississippi.
Which leads me to my enthusiastic endorsement of Bill Renick to serve on the TVA board. I served with Bill Renick in the State Senate, back in ‘88 and forward. He's a great job creator.
He has worked for Three Rivers Planning and Development District, from which he is now retired.
And we have a wonderful group of planning and development districts, but I can tell you, none finer than Three Rivers Planning and Development District. He was Workforce Division director there, Mr. Chairman. He currently chairs the Commission on the Future of North Mississippi.
And let me say a word about bipartisanship. And I think the Ranking Member, Mr. Inhofe, will agree with this. Senator Markey is a dear personal friend of mine. Our wives are cordial. We try to agree on things when we can.
Let me tell you about bipartisanship. Bill Renick was elected as alderman, mayor, county supervisor, and state senator as a north Mississippi Democrat back in the day. He went right straight from that, Mr. Chairman, to being the campaign manager for a statewide candidate for governor on the Republican ticket. He went right from there to being the chief staff person in the Mississippi State Senate for a Republican lieutenant governor of the state of Mississippi.
And it wasn't very many years after that that a certain Democratic governor of Mississippi was looking around for talent and a new chief of staff for his Democratic administration, and he chose Bill Renick.
So having managed to campaign statewide as a Republican, having been a chief of staff as a Republican, and a chief of staff as a Democrat; we need more bipartisanship like Bill Renick can deliver.
And also, we need the job creation and work training expertise that Bill Renick will bring to this office. Mr. Chairman, have I made it clear the enthusiasm I have, and the great fortune we have in this nation and in the TVA region for the fact that the President has nominated Mr. Bill Renick?
And I yield.