Sen. Wicker makes stop in Natchez

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, January 9, 2008

NATCHEZ — The newly appointed Sen. Roger Wicker made a stop in Natchez Tuesday to meet with local officials and voters alike.

Appointed by Gov. Haley Barbour in late December to fill the senate seat vacated by Trent Lott’s retirement, Wicker kicked off a statewide bus tour Monday to meet his constituents.

Before his appointment, Wicker served as representative to Mississippi’s first congressional district, but he tried to keep ties with the rest of the state, he said.

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“I have always been one to visit with every delegation that came to Washington, not just those who came from my district,” he said. “Mayor Philip West just reminded me of several times we met before.”

Wicker made several comments that were greeted with applause regarding congressional earmarks or pork barrel spending.

Pork barrel spending is when a legislator attaches funding for a project in his or her district to a spending bill.

“One pork barrel project some people have criticized is the Natchez Trace,” he said. “I am proud to have supported over time earmarks for something so worthwhile.”

Bringing pork barrel money to Mississippi is not something he is ashamed of, Wicker said.

“I am a fiscal conservative, and I believe in keeping spending low, but once the national budget is set, I think it is only fair to fight for our fair share in Mississippi,” he said.

Sue Stedman with the Adams County Republican executive committee said she appreciated Wicker’s visit.

“We are very proud he decided to stop in Natchez, that he decided to come through here on his tour of the state,” she said.

Wicker is currently campaigning to keep the senate seat to which he was appointed.

The date of the special election to determine who will take Lott’s seat permanently has not yet been set.

Democrats Ronnie Musgrove and former U.S. Rep. Ronnie Shows are challenging Wicker, a Republican, in the election.