Posted on Aug 20, 2019
Our thanks to Congressman Steven Palazzo (left) for providing our program last Tuesday.
President Steven Utroska presided over today’s meeting. Ryan Kelly gave today’s invocation and Mallory Donald led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Mark Killingworth and Joe Meador served as our greeters today.
Cole Gressett sat in for Mike McPhail and thanked those who volunteered to help with today’s meeting. He noted that we have no visiting Rotarians and no guests.
Steven reminded members that we need volunteers to deliver our Meals on Wheels. Paula Brahan encouraged members to continue to bring items that can be used by hospice patients and their families. Stephen noted that Christian Services will have their annual banquet on August 20. Anyone interested in attending should get in touch with Rotarian Jim Prout.
Stephen then introduced today’s guest speaker, Congressman Steven Palazzo. Congressman Palazzo currently serves on the House Appropriations Committee which is responsible for allocating every dollar of federal discretionary spending.
Mr. Palazzo began his presentation by noting that the Pine Belt economic situation is the envy of most of the rest of Mississippi. We have a strong economy and our jobless rate is the lowest in the state.
What makes the Mississippi Congressional delegation so strong when it is very small compared to many other states in the Union? Palazzo says he attributes the strength to three important factors. Seniority is one of the reasons our delegation has so much influence, according to the Congressman. Although the House of Representatives doesn’t use seniority measures, they are used in the Senate. Second, he says our delegation is strong because of the relationships it continues to build. And third, our delegation’s strength lies in the committee appointments its members gain through their seniority and relationships.
Although the Pine Belt Region’s economic drivers are our two Universities, our medical facilities, and Camp Shelby, Congressman Palazzo says the largest economic driver in the Fourth Congressional District is federal spending. He notes that a large amount of federal dollars is spent on Camp Shelby, NOAA, and the Stennis Space Center. In fact, Palazzo notes that the Fourth Congressional District is now designated as a Defense Corridor. He says he will continue to work on Congress to ensure that our military personnel has all of the tools they need to provide good national security to our nation.
Noting that 90% of America’s seafood is now imported, he plans to introduce and support aquaculture legislation next year. Having the Gulf of Mexico in our back yard provides Mississippi an outstanding opportunity to improve our food and economic security by finding ways to use aqua farming to expand our job growth and economy.
Opening the Bonnie Carrie spillway after recent record floods have caused a security fisheries disaster in the Mississippi sound. He questions if the technology and methods used after the 1927 flood are still the best, we have to offer in flood protection. He plans to look into the methods used by the Corps of Engineers to see if improvements can be made. Palazzo fully supports our Governor’s effort to seek a federal fisheries disaster declaration due to the economic damage from the freshwater and nutrients coming through the spillway.
Palazzo says our government should be doing more to develop and protect the 5G network development. China has made great strides in 5G development in recent years. He notes that whoever has 5G technology will control the internet, data transfers, and some military information. He sees it as somewhat of a national security concern.
Steven thanked our speaker and then adjourned the meeting with our motto, “Service Above Self.”