Smith Appointment Uncertain

By: Stan Torgerson
By: Stan Torgerson

Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith has served as a member of Amtrak's Board of Directors for one four-year term, the last two as chairman. Sen. Trent Lott and others in the Mississippi congressional delegation are pushing for his reappointment.

"I'm a big supporter of Mayor John Robert Smith, especially his work on Amtrak," said Lott. "He's been very diligent in working and trying to keep
the national rail passenger system, to get it to continue to come through Meridian, Miss. I think he's respected by all sides of the Amtrak organization, labor, management, people that support it and people that oppose it."

Smith is a Republican and has expressed a wish to be reappointed but
it may be in jeopardy.

"This administration has been inclined not to reappoint people that were appointed during the Clinton years, Democrat or Republican. Their argument has been we just need to continue to have some turnover and bring new people," said Lott. "They've had some exceptions where you have extraordinarily well qualified people that are in critical throes of making decisions on a board or head of an agency and I think they ought to take that into consideration with John Robert Smith."

Lott indicated it will be four to six weeks before the White House makes a final decision.

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