Hear from your legislators Monday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy New Year to everyone! The year has come in with several days of incredible sunshine and perfect temperatures.

All of us who serve on the legislative committee of the Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce are hoping that the mood is also bright for Mississippi as our state government opens for the 2011 session.

We have planned our first legislative breakfast of the year for Monday morning at the Natchez Eola Hotel.

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Our dutch-treat breakfast ($10 per person) will begin at 7:30 a.m.; the program will start at 8 a.m. and we will wrap up by 9.

Sens. Dearing and Butler and Reps. Mims, Cockerham and Johnson are planning to be in attendance to bring us up-to-date on what they see as the most significant issues facing our state, and particularly those which will impact Southwest Mississippi.

All of you who have attended these sessions in the past know how fortunate we are to have a group of legislators who are truly committed to their constituents, who do not mince words when defending what they think is right, who will tell you exactly how the system works and who consistently work together (imagine that) for the good of Southwest Mississippi.

Regardless of the issues, the frankness of the discussions always leaves us grateful for the men and women whom we have elected to represent us in Jackson.

The budget will be the dominant issue once again — although there does seem to be a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel.

All of us compete for state funds and support one way or another, so our breakfast is always an unbeatable forum in which we can stimulate discussion and get answers to specific questions. Preliminary census numbers are in, and perhaps we can gain some insight into any redistricting which might take place and how it will affect the lives and livelihoods in our area.

Where will money come from the fund needed state programs? How will it be distributed? Who may see less in the way of state support?

What new issues are on the horizon, and where do we stand on carrying forward programs which were important to us in 2010 but which we could not push to fruition in the 2010 session?

The time and place to get answers to all of these questions and to put forth new concerns will be 7:30 a.m., Monday.

Your elected state legislators will come to you on that Monday morning to look for direction for the 2011 session and to give us guidance on how we, as citizens, can marshal our talents and resources to move toward growth and enhanced quality of life in 2011 and beyond.

Stephanie Hutchins is a member of the Chamber of Commerce Legislative Committee.