Home » NEWS » Economic Development » BILL CRAWFORD: Jackson County vote for McDaniel risks Ingalls jobs

BILL CRAWFORD: Jackson County vote for McDaniel risks Ingalls jobs

By Bill Crawford


Jackson County went for Chris McDaniel over Thad Cochran in the Senate Republican primary, putting the jobs of relatives, friends, and neighbors at risk.

Talk about killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

No county is more dependent on military spending than Jackson County. Think Ingalls Shipbuilding, the state’s largest private sector employer with approximately 11,000 jobs.

Ingalls builds Navy and Coast Guard ships. It depends on Congress to authorize and fund those ships.

No part of military spending relies more on Congressional clout than spending for ships, aircraft, weapons systems, and facilities.

Who in Congress has the real clout to determine which ships, aircraft, weapons systems, and facilities get funded? The chairmen of the Senate and House Appropriations and Armed Services Committees.

Who will become chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee when Republicans take control of the Senate in January?

Thad Cochran.

What clout would a freshman senator named Chris McDaniel have?


Who in our congressional delegation can pick up the slack if Cochran is gone?


The closest is Roger Wicker who ranks fifth in seniority on the Senate Armed Services Committee. But, it will take another Cochran term before he will be in position to shoulder the load.

As chairman of Senate Appropriations, Cochran will not only have the power to work with House Republicans to dramatically cut federal spending, but he will also have the power to make the right cuts.

President Obama and McDaniel’s big outside funders want broad cuts that result in fewer ships, aircraft, weapons systems, and military facilities. Such an approach puts jobs at the Pascagoula shipyard at substantial risk.

Fewer ships mean fewer jobs at Ingalls. Fewer Ingalls jobs also mean fewer jobs around the county as incomes drop and the economy weakens. The same risk, of course, applies to jobs at VT Halter and Northrop Grumman.

Only Cochran will have the power to protect those jobs until Wicker gains more seniority.

As Jackson County voters play Russian roulette with their economic future, voters in counties like Hancock, Harrison, Lauderdale, Lowndes, Rankin, Scott, and Warren may want to up their ante for Cochran. These counties also depend heavily on military spending for ships, aircraft, weapons systems, or facilities.

Think Raytheon, Airbus, Aurora, Eaton, Pratt & Whitney, Lockheed Martin, L-3, Camp Shelby, Keesler AFB, Seabees, Columbus AFB, NAS Meridian, Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Special Boat Team 22, Naval Meteorology & Oceanography Command, the 172nd, 186th, 155th and 1108th guard units, and more – all with jobs at risk without Cochran.

It makes little sense for any county whose jobs depend heavily on military spending to throw out Cochran when he is about to gain power as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Bill Crawford

Bill Crawford

It makes no sense at all for Jackson County.


» Bill Crawford (crawfolk@gmail.com) is a syndicated columnist from Meridian.


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About Ross Reily

Ross Reily is editor of the Mississippi Business Journal. He is a husband to an amazing wife, dad to 3 crazy kids and 2 dogs. He is also a fan of the Delta State Fighting Okra and the Boston Red Sox.


  1. Daniel L. Gardner

    And, if Cochran resigns in the first or second year of his term while Obama is still president, MS will worse off than if McDaniel had won the election.

  2. Who says that Cochran will resign if elected. A replacement for Senator Cochran would be on par with Chris McDaniel. If Republicans retake the Senate, Mitch McConnell will probably be the new majority leader. He is not likely to do anything for Chris McDaniel after McDaniel involved himself in McConnell’s election contest in Kentucky. If elected McDaniel might prove to be an embarrassment if he says the same things that he said on his radio show “The Right Side”.

  3. Daniel L. Gardner

    Cochran is showing signs he’s not up to serving a full term. Take his answer about Cantor losing in VA. He was clueless about that major GOP event…two days after it happened. Rumors among GOP establishment have been rampant for months about electing Thad so he can resign and Bryant can appoint another establishment guy to fill the rest of this term.

    “on par” with Chris McDaniel? What? They’re all alike? Lots of assumptions and ‘ifs’ in your comment. “McDaniel might prove to be an embarrassment…” Oh, so let’s elect someone who we know for a fact will NOT be an embarrassment.

    The point is: Mississippi voters should elect their representatives and senators; GOP establishment should not be allowed to play power games so they can keep the person they want in the seat. GOP establishment is trying an end run around the voters.

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