Join us for legislative breakfast Monday

Published 12:15 am Sunday, May 8, 2011

So much is happening right now in the Miss-Lou! The incredible power of the Mississippi River has brought all of us to attention and refined the magnificent spirit which binds our communities together.

I want to make you aware of one particular event which is scheduled for Monday morning. The Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a Legislative Breakfast at the Natchez Eola Hotel. This breakfast is part of the chamber’s ongoing mission to keep our citizens close to the people who represent us in state government, to hold them accountable as our elected officials and to give them a chance to hear from us, first hand.

Since the 2011 session has now ended, we are all curious to see exactly what was accomplished and how our lives will be impacted by decisions that were made. We certainly would like to understand how budget cuts will impact us, how our schools will be affected, what changes may come to many of the state services we depend on, and how the planning process dealing with less and less money in the state coffers will proceed. What about redistricting? Who made the decisions on new boundaries and what is the most efficient way to move forward to get our representatives in place and keep up with the state’s business with a minimum amount of political haggling over the way these lines are drawn? What impact will we see from $4 a gallon fuel costs — and who are the winners and losers in this deal.

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Just as we seem to be clawing our way out of one economic valley we will have to navigate another. And we saw a victory for Sen. Dearing and his bill to make animal cruelty a felony. After years and years of working on this issue, our state has joined the ranks of many others seeking to protect animals from those who place no value on the lives of defenseless creatures.

It would be good to understand why this law has been so long in coming and how the discussions went which made it a reality.

And there are many, many other issues of interest to us here in the southwest part of the state. Monday morning will be a time devoted to frank and honest discussions on any subjects you wish to bring before our legislators.

Sen. Bob Dearing, Sen. Kelvin Butler, and Rep. Sam Mims will be on hand to share information and field questions. Rep. Robert Johnson is trying to work around a tight trial schedule, and Rep. Cockerham will be working out of state.

In writing this article I am mindful that the threat coming down the Mississippi River is weighing heavily on all of us.

We are planning this breakfast to cover legislative matters, most certainly; but we will also try to have people available to give us the most accurate and up-to-date information available first thing Monday morning.

It will be a great time to hear from those who are trying to manage the situation and make the best decisions possible to protect life and property on both sides of the river. We will also have our legislators available to discuss what help the state can provide in the areas of assistance and relief during the trying days and weeks ahead.

So don’t forget — 7:30 a.m. Monday morning at the Natchez Eola Hotel.

Breakfast will be $10 at the door and that money will get you a fabulous meal and a great deal of information on how the 2011 Legislative Session affects all of us in southwest Mississippi; but more importantly, it will give people from all over the Miss-Lou an opportunity to come together for information, education, river updates and the strength neighbors get from being together.

We can network, we can determine needs and ways to help, and we can help each other. It’s what we do best. I hope I see you on Monday.

Stephanie Hutchins is a member of the Legislative Committee of the Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce.