DeSoto County had some visitors from Washington, D.C. come through late last week who have some specific influence in getting federal projects accomplished in the county.
The visitors are key staff people for the members of Congress who represent DeSoto County: U.S. Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith, and First District Congressman Trent Kelly.
Kelly was able to have dinner and hear from the group on Thursday evening, hearing about issues county officials have on the federal table.
But much of the remaining time over two days involved the group representing the Congress members, including DeSoto County native and now Chief of Staff for Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith Doug Davis, touring the county and hearing from government and economic development leaders. Northern District Transportation Commissioner John Caldwell, Northwest Mississippi Community College President Dr. Michael Heindl, and DeSoto County School District Supt. Cory Uselton also spoke to the group.
Board of Supervisors President Mark Gardner said the two-day tour was a means to communicate county needs and issues to those they annuallly see in the Nation’s Capitol.
“Every year we usually take a blue ribbon trip with the mayors and supervisors and other leaders to Washington,” Gardner said. “We weren’t able to do that last year with COVID concerns and really didn’t need to this year due to COVID concerns. We brought them to us.”
In addition to their time with Kelly, county leaders have had Zoom meeting discussions with Wicker and Hyde-Smith, but Gardner said the key staff people are typically the ones who get much of the real work done in projects.
“A lot of the work on Capitol Hill is done by key staff people so it was good to be able to talk about it,” Gardner said. “We think we had a very productive few days.”
Using a mini-bus for the two days, the visiting group saw a lot, Gardner said.
“We showed them flooding issues, we showed them the need to widen I-55, the need to widen Highway 51, the need to widen state Highway 305, the need to build some new interchanges on the interstate,” Gardner said. “We showed them where flooding has occurred around the county. We had the Corps of Engineers there to review our flood study.”
Another area the group did not see in person, but did see drone footage of, was the progress of Holly Springs Road, funded in part by federal money.
What happens now is that the local leaders will continue their contact with the Congressional offices as they ready specific requests for projects like widening I-55, U.S. 51, etc., and for projects to solve flooding issues along places like Horn Lake Creek, Arkabutla Lake, and other issues.