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Posts Tagged ‘Bennie Thompson’

Homebuilders endorse Reeves for Lt. Governor

July 13th, 2011 1 comment

The Home Builders Association of Jackson has endorsed Tate Reeves’ candidacy for Lt. Governor. In an e-mail statement, President Wade Quin is credited with noting Reeve’s “experience as a conservative money manager” and his success “in protecting taxpayers as Mississippi’s State Treasurer.”

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Dupree charges, takes lead in MBJ Poll

July 13th, 2011 1 comment

You can decide whether it has anything to do with Congressman Bennie Thompson giving his endorsement yesterday, but Hatiesburg mayor Johnny Dupree has charged ahead of Clarksdale businessman Bill Luckett in the Mississippi Business Journal poll, which asks “Who will be the Democratic nominee for governor?” … Click here to see the results

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Luckett leads MBJ reader poll

July 12th, 2011 Comments off

Despite Johnny Dupree receiving an endorsement today from Congressman Bennie Thompson, Clarksdale businessman Bill Luckett leads a MBJ reader poll asking who will be the Democratic nominee for governor. Click here to see the results and vote.

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McCain takes aim square at Mississippi catfish farmers

March 11th, 2011 Comments off

Bennie Thompson ain’t talking about catfish, but Sen. John McCain is.
We have asked Congressman Thompson to comment on the new catfish inspection program that critics say threatens to derail U.S. trade relations with Vietnam. He has never returned a phone call or an e-mail.
However, last week, we ran a story on our website about the catfish industry’s reaction to a proposal by McCain to repeal that very same law, and the McCain camp was on the phone.
They wanted to know where the story came from, and why we were running it and why we didn’t have a response from Sen. McCain.
That’s what I am looking for, I said.
This whole thing has boggled my mind from the beginning and I wanted someone to explain why there would be any consideration for choosing Vietnamese fish in a trade debate ahead of U.S. catfish.
What the McCain camp sent was a canned, rambling floor statement, which read, in part, “Mr. President, Section 11016 is nothing more than the latest effort by members of Congress serving the special interests of the catfish industry in their home states. A similar protectionist tactic was tried in the 2002 Farm Bill when many of these same members slipped in language that made it illegal to label Vietnamese catfish (‘pangasius’) as catfish in U.S. retail markets.”
Mississippi’s Thad Cochran also responded to interview requests, saying, “My initial reaction to legislation to repeal the USDA catfish inspection authority is that it is uncalled for.
“I will oppose it,” Cochran continued. “The Department of Agriculture should be given a chance to finally carry out the inspection authority Congress gave it in 2008. This inspection process would help ensure that imported catfish are as safe and nutritious as the catfish produced in Mississippi and elsewhere. We do not have that assurance today The current federal inspection regime involves testing a very small percentage – only 2 percent — of the catfish imported into this country. While I regret the long, drawn-out process to implement this USDA mandate, I believe it remains important.”
Unfortunately, neither Cochran nor McCain’s positions do a lot to help the Mississippi catfish farmers, mostly conservative and mostly Republican, who are going broke.
As someone without a dog in the fight, other than being from a state that produces farm-raised catfish, it would appear Sen. McCain is more concerned about trade with Vietnam than the economy in the South, specifically.
Mississippi catfish growers have taken a huge financial hit from the import of catfish products, according to statistics from U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In recent weeks, we reported that Itta Bena-based Heartland Catfish is making cutbacks. Many other independent farmers are turning over their ponds to go back to row crops, and this has been going on for years now.
It won’t be too long before there isn’t a debate to have as all of the catfish ponds around the South will have dried up.
We won’t take it for granted, like we do now, of the all-you-can-eat buffets across Mississippi and the rest of the Southeast.
It will become something we eat when we go and catch the big one; you know, the one that has grown up in the Mississippi River where it has survived on a constant diet of sludge and pollutants.
You know, kind of like the fish the Vietnamese importing to us now.

Contact Mississippi Business Journal editor Ross Reily at ross.reily@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1018.

Beaming when he’s the star, Thompson bails out when he’s in the background

July 28th, 2010 Comments off

There was at least one conspicuous face absent from  the bevy of public officials descending upon Greenville last week for the ribbon cutting of the new U.S. 82 bridge across the Mississippi River.
U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson.
MBJ reporter and video-journalist Stephen McDill pointed that out upon his return from covering the event in The Queen City.
Thompson represents the Magnolia State’s 2nd Congressional District, an area stretching from Tunica to just south of Vicksburg. He was first elected to the post in 1993.
The new Greenville bridge is the shiny new belt buckle of his constituency.
Thompson should have been there for this historic occasion.
He rarely misses an opportunity to hang out with friends in Greenville, especially when there is credit to be parceled out, and there are cameras to record the moment.
He had no trouble getting to Greenville two years ago when he announced to a grateful gathering that the federal courthouse would stay there even though rumblings were that a new courthouse would be built in Cleveland, another city in the Delta.
He also had no trouble getting to Greenville last year to announced he had obtained federal funding for area roads.
Thompson always seems to be in Greenville when he is announcing something he claims to have been the architect of.
This time, he would have had a supporting role, and that’s not his trademark. With Thompson, it’s center stage or see-you-later.
History will show that it was former U.S. Sen. Trent Lott who was the brains and political brawn behind the bridge, having inserted language into a bill as an earmark to get the money.
Tugboat captains having to navigate the tricky stretch of river are grateful; the many dents at the base of the old Humphreys bridge are proof that these were waters unfriendly to commerce.
Motorists who have had to endure a white-knuckle drive across the Humphreys bridge since 1940 are also grateful. On a clear day, driving across Humphreys is quite an experience. In inclement weather, it’s a nightmare.
Lott (not a Deltan but a Gulf Coast native) was all smiles at the ceremony.
He praised the presence of his successor, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, and even took a stealthy swipe at dignitaries who were absent.
“I appreciate the fact that you are a senator from Mississippi and that you took the time to be here,” Lott said to Wicker from the podium. “A lot of elected officials missed a great opportunity to take a bow on this great bridge.”
Maybe the new U.S. 82 bridge should be named the Chester Trent Lott Mississippi River Bridge.
Lott wasn’t perfect. But he got this one right.
Thompson, and his entourage, meanwhile, missed a wonderful opportunity to tell their grandchildren about the day the Delta got a new bridge.

Contact Mississippi Business Journal editor Ross Reily at ross.reily@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1018.

Thompson doesn’t talk about financial reform

July 15th, 2010 Comments off

A sweeping overhaul of the nation’s financial regulations was sent to President Barack Obama’s desk today after a year of partisan struggles and delicate cross-party courtships that promised more and delivered less.
What is promised is that financial entities will be held to a higher degree of accountability.
Unfortunately for most banks in Mississippi, the bill could be a burden that will hurt its customers — like you and me.
In a story in the Mississippi Business Journal this week, we talked to the Mississippi Bankers Association, which is among bill opponents who are angry that the bill, if passed, would punish community banks for the bad behavior of big banks, mortgage brokers and non-bank lenders. The bill will make less credit available and increase bank costs.
Community banks are those with assets of less than $10 billion, which includes most banks in Mississippi.
Mac Deaver, MBA president, told the MBJ the bill is bad for Mississippians.
The community banks are going to get the brunt of this, and their examiners are going to examine them in a politically charged atmosphere,” Deaver said. Banks will lose money in compliance costs.
On the House side, Second Congressional District Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi voted for the bill despite the urgings of experts in his home state that his constituents will be hurt by the bill.
Despite repeated phone calls and e-mails to Thompson’s offices about the financial overhaul and the impact on Mississippians, the congressman did not respond.
In fact according to a Wall Street Journal story today, the financial overhaul will hurt American farmers.
Oh yeah, Thompson represents most of the Mississippi Delta where a large majority of Mississippi’s farmers live.
So Thompson voted for a bill that his state’s bankers, by and large, say will hurt them and a majority of their customers, and he has voted for a bill that will wreak havoc with the finances of the state’s agriculture industry.
Good move, congressman. You have managed to help pass a bill that impacts more than 40 percent of the Mississippi economy for the worst.
And you have no comment.

Contact Mississippi Business Journal editor Ross Reily at ross.reily@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1018.