Pickering touts leadership opportunities

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, June 1, 2004

WESSON – Third District U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering Mondayencouraged American Legion Boys State participants to remain inMississippi and help shape the state’s future.

Pickering was the keynote speaker as approximately 300 students,who just completed their junior year in high school, began a weekof learning about politics and leadership. Several other stateleaders are scheduled to speak during activities being held thisweek at Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

Pickering said Boys State has a great track record of developingbusiness, political and civic leaders at all levels. He urged theyoung men to use their skills and education to benefit thestate.

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Mississippi has a proud history of producing great musicians,writers and medical developments, Pickering said. However, thestate also has a history of poverty and racism.

“From the Civil War to civil rights, we didn’t come together asa people, as a state,” Pickering said.

Citing economic and other developments, he said Mississippi nowhas an opportunity to attract high wage, high skill and hightechnology jobs. He said the southeast is the fastest growingregion of the country.

“Mississippi is the strategic center of that region,” Pickeringsaid.

The state’s leadership will determine if Mississippi takesadvantage of its location, he said.

“The question is going to be who leads and how they lead,”Pickering said.

Mississippi, he said, is starting to address its problems of thepast and has great cooperation among political leaders at alllevels. He said the state has the greatest promise and unrealizedpotential.

“I see Mississippi making great progress,” Pickering said.

He encouraged Boys State participants to remain in the stateafter they complete their education. He urged them to fight forunity and to help the state make further progress.

“When you have the chance and the opportunity, you can rise upand lead,” Pickering said.