Talk to state leaders in person at legislative breakfast Monday

Published 12:16 am Sunday, January 9, 2011

NATCHEZ — Monday’s legislative breakfast is a great opportunity to gripe, inquire or simply put a face to a name.

Residents have a chance to meet the folks who represent them and learn issues going on this legislative session at the event from 7:30-9 a.m. at the Eola Hotel.

The breakfast offers a unique opportunity to allow legislators have a dialogue with local leaders as well as residents, Chamber of commerce and legislative committee member Stephanie Hutchins said.

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“Traditionally, we talk about the budget and local and private issues that may have to go through the state,” Hutchins said.

Sens. Bob Dearing and Kelvin Butler and Reps. Sam Mims and Robert Johnson will attend the breakfast, Hutchins said.

“It is also important for city and county leaders to be there, because these people represent the entire Southwest Mississippi,” Hutchins said.

School administrators often attend, as well.

The breakfast costs $10, and it will be served at 7:30 a.m. with the program beginning at 8 a.m.

Each legislator will talk for five minutes about issues on their agenda this session, the public has a chance to submit written questions.

“It’s a chance for them to communicate with their constituents,” Hutchins said.

The event also allows voters an opportunity to understand the legislative process, Hutchins said.

Knowing what is going on the state level is important locally because voters elected every one of the speakers, she said..

“We vote, and these are the people we have chosen to reprisent us,” Hutchins said.

Hutchins said the legislators who have attended in recent years are often candid about their intentions and what they expect to be able to accomplish.

“They don’t try to gloss over (issues). They’ll tell you its not going to happen if that is the case,” Hutchins said.

And in an age when communicating with state representatives often means exchanging email to staff members, the breakfast provides a chance to appeal to legislators as a person rather than an anonymous voter, Hutchins said.

“Use the opportunity to meet legislators to (gain) a little face-to-face recognition, because you never know when you will have an issue,” Hutchins said.

“And everything always works better when you can communicate on a personal level.”