Legislative breakfast set for Monday

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 5, 2010

NATCHEZ — Monday morning offers Natchezians the opportunity to start the week with some healthy civic participation and a side of bacon.

The Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce will sponsor a $10 legislative breakfast at the Natchez Eola Hotel from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., and citizens will have the rare opportunity to directly voice their concerns to their elected representatives.

Sens. Bob Dearing (D-Natchez) and Kelvin Butler (D-Magnolia), and Reps. Sam Mims (R-McComb), Robert Johnson III (D-Natchez) and Angela Cockerham (D-Magnolia) are expected to attend the open-forum panel discussion.

Chamber Member Stephanie Hutchins said topics to be discussed could include the 66-mile railway from Natchez to Brookhaven. Local officials are working to recruit additional business for the line. In addition, legislators will likely discuss the environmental and economic impact of the Gulf Coast oil spill.

“(Effects of the oil spill) could demand funding from budgets that are already strained beyond belief,” Hutchins said.

The breakfast is also a great opportunity for the public to shake hands with those who represent the local voters in Washington, Hutchins said.

Chamber President Debbie Hudson said a meet and greet session will occur from 7:30 to 8 a.m. Legislators will then deliver a two-minute speech about their particular concerns. The panel will then answer pre-submitted questions, then open the floor to questions that residents write down at the meeting. At 8:50 a.m., Natchez Inc. Board Chairman Sue Stedman will deliver an update on the progress of Adams County’s new economic development engine.

A new law passed earlier this year dissolved the Natchez-Adams County Economic Development Authority, and allowed local government and private sector entities to fund Natchez Inc.

Hutchins said residents should attend the breakfast because it is their futures at stake.

“If you don’t participate, you can’t complain,” she said.