Junket sends officials to nation's capital


Representatives from Forrest and Lamar counties, the City of Hattiesburg and Area Development Partnership visited with members of Mississippi’s Congressional delegation – Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker and Rep. Steven Palazzo – last week in the nation’s capital.

According to Forrest County Board of Supervisors President David Hogan, members of the county’s delegation included supervisors District 5 Chris Bowen, District 3 Burkett Ross, District 4 Rod Woullard and board attorney David Miller.

“We really did have some good meetings,” he said. “We talked about the county’s 2200-acre megasite and thanked them for their help with that, as well as some potential infrastructure developments.”

He noted that they thanked these men for many of the things they have helped get passed for South Mississippi, including the safe rooms, which are being built on 11 Forrest County campuses, and the airline service to the Hattiesburg/Laurel airport, which has federal subsidies. “They were very receptive to our requests for help, and we appreciate all they’ve done for our communities.”

Cochran has helped the county with the megasite, Eagle One, which is intended for large industrial land users considering substantial facilties requiring major capital expenditures and significant employment levels.

Hogan explained that the county was trying to get a general permit for the site, “so we will be months ahead of the process if we get a manufacturing company to the site. We can adjust that general permit, because it’s like a six-month process to obtain such,” he said. “So when we try and market the site, we want to be able to say, ‘We’ve already got you a general permit, and all you have to do is modify it.’” Cochran helped put the county and the Corps of Engineers in Mobile together to expedite that process.

Hogan said the trip coincided with the National Association of County Officials (NACO) conference. “We had great meetings, there,” he said. “The Gulf states have some things we are working on we believe will benefit the Southern states with the BP money and some other environmental concerns we have.”

In addition to Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker, Chad Driskoll from the University of Southern Mississippi and Area Development Partnership President Chad Newell were on hand.

The trip was arranged by the Area Development Partnership.