East Mississippi Electric Power Association sponsored a policy forum Monday and invited Sen. Roger Wicker to attend.
The purpose for the visit was two-fold; first, to talk with local leaders about economic development and bring them up to speed with the latest from Washington and secondly, he was here to tour the lignite coal plant that's being built in Kemper County.
It's the first in what organizers hope to be many such luncheons which bring national and state leaders to this area to meet with constituents.
"It's an opportunity where they see our face and we see their face," says EMEPA General Manager, Wayne Henson. "It'll also be an opportunity where we're not asking for something. As we work through these hard times it's going to be important to have people like the senator leading the way and helping in any way he can."
When it comes to Washington, Wicker blames politics for stunting the growth of small businesses here at home.
"We have the largest tax burden of any industrialized country in the world. Now, we're hearing of some other hidden taxes in the Affordable Healthcare/Obamacare legislation that will be imposed at the beginning of the next year," said Wicker. "This just makes people reluctant to create jobs and take a risk."
Wicker says what's needed to spark economic development around the nation and here at home starts with watching the nation's wallet.
"At the federal level we're going to have to come to grips with the fact that we're spending too much money in Washington D.C. and we can't keep adding to our national debt at the tune of $1 trillion and more every year," Wicker said. "So, that's what we need to do at the federal level."
To further help improve the state and national economy, Wicker supports utilizing Mississippi's lignite coal supply and the expansion of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico back to the level it was prior to the 2010 BP Oil Spill.