Cochran makes third visit to Vicksburg

Published 11:20 am Thursday, June 19, 2014


U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, left, talks with Louis Lambiotte yesterday at Ergon Refining.

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, left, talks with Louis Lambiotte yesterday at Ergon Refining.

With less than a week before the June 24 runoff election, U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran made his third trip to Warren County Wednesday, visiting the Ergon Refining at the Port of Vicksburg to tour the plant and meet with employees and local industry officials.

Cochran, who faces tea party candidate State Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville, in the runoff, visited Golding Barge Lines on June 11, where he received endorsements from several local businessmen and local officials. He made a swing through Vicksburg in February for a fundraiser luncheon. He is seeking re-election to a seventh term.

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During a brief interview with media that included reporters from the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times of London, England, Cochran said McDaniel “oversimplifies the problems with the economy and the importance of strong government support for agencies.

“His lack of experience in dealing with so many issues has been shown, and his record of service is a sharp contrast,” he said.

Cochran received a strong endorsement from Ergon Asphalt Group president Bill Lampton, who told the group of workers and businessmen assembled under a large tent at one of the refinery’s parking lots “the way Sen. Cochran looks at the State of Mississippi, he looks at it as his family, and it’s his job to take care of it, cuddle it and be sure we get what we need to move forward in this competitive world we live in.”

Lampton said Cochran’s “wisdom, his seniority and thoughtfulness” were important to the state, adding the senator has built a strong staff to help him.

He said federal funding has either paid for or helped pay for infrastructure improvements in the county and at the port, and supported the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“There’s certain things that we’re all a little frustrated with,” he said, “but we’re very, very appreciative of what the senator has done. He’s been with us 42 years (Cochran, 74, was elected to the U.S. House in 1972).”

Lampton reminded his audience to get out and vote for Cochran.

“A lot of folks thought that he wouldn’t have an issue, but we found there’s some upset people out there,” he said. “He knows that, and he’s addressing that on a continuous basis.”

Cochran responded by commending Lampton and Ergon for their contributions to the national and state economy, calling Ergon an asset. If re-elected, he said, “I will continue to work as hard as I can and as smart as I can to be sure we continue to succeed as a state and a region and a nation for a high standard of living that’s the envy of the entire world.”

“We need to continue to show support for the senator,” said Wayne Mansield, executive director of the Port of Vicksburg. “He’s shown support for us in Warren County over the years. He has supported the Vicksburg National Military Park over the years and ERDC (the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineering Research and Development Center). He’s supported our infrastructure. He’s also supported our industrial development.”

Lampton said after the program that re-electing Cochran was important for the state and the country.

“I understand there’s a lot of frustration with Washington,” he said. “But with the State of Mississippi, for every dollar we send to Washington, we get $3 back, and we can’t stand to lose that. I don’t understand that. We’re a blessed state, but we’re a very poor state.

“You’ve got somebody of his caliber and stature and ability to take care of the state, why would you want to replace that when he wants it again?”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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