Commerce Officials in Meridian

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David Sampson, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, was in Meridian Monday, meeting with city and county officials about the business community in and around town.

He also brought a check for development of the new industrial park.

"(It's a) significant investment in the community to help make this industrial park a reality," said Sampson. "And what all this is about obviously is jobs for the citizens of Mississippi and the Meridian area."

Sampson and local leaders had lunch at Weidmann's before touring the downtown Opera House, Peavey headquarters and the industrial park. Sampson said Peavey is a "world class facility," and every city in America would be proud to house it.

While on his tour, Sampson stressed the importance of the east Mississippi business community "thinking regionally and acting globally," and the need for intergovernmental agencies to work together.

"It's one thing to talk about cooperation," said Sampson. "It's another thing for those governmental entities to actually invest money in making those visions a reality."

"They see those cooperative ventures between governments and the private sector as something well worth investing in.," said Mayor John Robert Smith. "And I'm pleased that the secretary is here to reinforce the cooperative spirit that we see in Meridian and Lauderdale County."

"As in anything, we've got to have some small accomplishments and we all see those things happen," said Craig Hitt, president of the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors. "As we see the small accomplishments, I think we'll continue to grow and start seeing some bigger accomplishments come our way."

Sampson was also the guest speaker for the East Mississippi Business Development Corporation's annual meeting Monday at the Frank Cochran Center in Meridian.