Now in his second term as representative for the 7th Congressional District, Alabama Cong. Artur Davis says the key to economic development near the state line is working together in more ways than one.
"West Alabama and east Mississippi have the exact same problems and the exact same issues. We've got to get past party lines. There's no "D" or "R" written around economic development. We've got to find ways to draw the best of industry in our two regions. We've got to find ways to draw on the best of government in our two regions."
In drawing the best of government, Davis says building relationships is the first step.
"Certainly, Cong. Chip Pickering and I regularly have conversations about transportation issues and economic development issues and we're going to continue to build on that relationship."
As state lawmakers in Mississippi and Alabama continue to work on possible legislation and bylaws for a proposed alliance between the two states, Davis says its important for business leaders and residents as a whole to show strong support for the effort.
"We've got to find ways to realize that the Black Belt and the Delta have a real stake in working together to recruit industry, working together to build a job base and working together to move our respected states forward."
Meanwhile, once terms for the Mississippi-Alabama Alliance pass in both states' legislative bodies, economic development officials say the real work can start. Once this happens they say that work can begin on trying to lure a major industry to a mega site near the state line area. If all goes well, it's projected that the guidelines for the alliance could be approved in both Mississippi and Alabama during this regular legislative session, which ends late this spring.