Sen. Lott again in good role to help Mississippi

Published 6:00 am Monday, November 20, 2006

The heights are not quite as lofty as when “majority” was partof his Senate title, but Trent Lott’s ascension to minority whipsignals a personal rebound for the Republican senator and continuedfederal clout for Mississippi.

For Lott – who stepped down as majority leader a few years agoafter some ill-timed comments about the potential impact of a StromThurmond presidency – his election last week as minority whiprepresents an impressive political comeback. The return -interesting in that Lott was contemplating retirement untilHurricane Katrina wrecked havoc on the Magnolia State last year -again places him in a coveted leadership position in theSenate.

With the Democrats taking the majority, Lott’s influence asminority whip will go a long way toward minimizing fellowRepublican Mississippi U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran’s upcoming removal asSenate Appropriations Committee chairman.

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As leader of the powerful committee, Cochran has beeninfluential in steering projects and accompanying federal dollarsto Mississippi. Cochran’s authority is not lost, but it will bediminished with Republicans now in the minority.

With a Republican governor and Republican senators, Democraticassumption of Senate control may not be the best news forMississippi. But thanks to longtime public servants like Lott andCochran – who have the ability to capitalize on politicalopportunities when presented – Mississippi’s interests willcontinue to be looked out for in the U.S. Senate.