One of the most pressing issues facing our state is the rebuilding and renewal of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. As a member of the House, I was a part of the bipartisan team that acted to produce much-needed appropriations and economic development incentives for South Mississippi and other areas impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Now in the Senate, I am actively partnering with the other members of our Mississippi congressional delegation to ensure the revitalization of South Mississippi.

In 2010, Mississippi endured a tragic event with the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil spill. The hardships caused by this incident still linger. I have had multiple visits to the coast throughout the crisis and held a town hall event with shrimpers, fishermen, and charter boat captains to fully appreciate the spill’s impact. I am continuing to meet with federal, state, and local officials to ensure the government’s recovery effort is timely and appropriate.

I believe any revenue collected from Clean Water Act penalties resulting from the Deepwater Horizon spill should be distributed directly to the Gulf States. These funds then could be used for locally directed economic and environmental recovery priorities. I was proud to work with my colleagues across the Gulf Coast to ensure passage of the "Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies (RESTORE) Act" to achieve these goals.

I authored measures to extend tax incentives included in the 2005 GO Zone legislation. My provisions were approved by the Senate and signed into law in December of 2010. By extending these tax provisions, more people who want to rebuild along the Gulf Coast will be able to take advantage of the construction incentives included in the original GO Zone legislation.

My offices in Gulfport and Washington are working hard to help cut through FEMA red tape, speed-up Corps of Engineers permits, provide funding to rebuild the barrier islands, and tackle scores of other issues affecting coastal residents.