Rep. Pickering can now get back to his duties

Published 5:00 am Monday, July 7, 2003

The decision was undoubtedly tough, but we think U.S. Rep. ChipPickering of Mississippi’s Third District made the right one by notgiving up his seat in Congress.

Pickering had been approached about replacing Thomas Wheeler,who is stepping down at year’s end as president of theWashington-based Cellular Telecommunications and InternetAssociation. That position pays at least $1 million a year, whilePickering earns $154,700 a year as a Congressman.

While the salary increase would entice anyone, Pickering doeshave a contract with the voters of the Third District, who electedhim over Ronnie Shows last year. His choice last week representshis commitment to honoring his end of that contract.

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The legislative and judicial battle that was fought byRepublicans over how the new Third District would look was done so,in part, due to Pickering’s popularity and an effort to maintainGOP momentum in Congress. Had Pickering left Congress after such ahard-fought battle, it would have resulted in a blow to Republicansand could have put Lincoln County and other new parts of the ThirdDistrict back in Democrat hands. The political impact forPickering, who some see as the heir apparent to either Sens. ThadCochran or Trent Lott, could also have been substantial.

Nevertheless, the possibility did not materialize. Now that hisdecision has been made and the media coverage is subsiding, we knowCongressman Pickering is anxious to get back to work for all thepeople of the Third District.