Though Mississippi is a small Southern state facing constant criticism and condescension from the national media and coastal enclaves, our state’s congressional delegation is relevant and powerful, to say the least.
Mississippi’s senators and congressman hold important committee chairmanships and facilitate the levers of power in Washington, D.C.
Senator Thad Cochran is the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which dictates how a large part of federal tax dollars will be spent. Senator Rodger Wicker sits on Senate committees relating to the armed services, commerce, the environment and public works.
Congressman Gregg Harper is the chair of the House Administration Committee. Congressman Bennie Thompson has served as both the chair and the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee.
This is absolutely remarkable, given the fact that Mississippi is ridiculed as an unintelligent, unhealthy and uncultured state.
Mississippi has her struggles and her challenges. Mississippi has seen evil acts committed on our soil.
Despite those facts, for one to understand the reasons why Mississippians are in such positions of power despite a negative national view, one must understand what Mississippi provides for its people that can inspire this success.
Whether from Mississippi or not, when one comes to our state, and the Ole Miss community, they notice something unique.
Mississippians are genuine, charitable and resilient. Our history, culture and most importantly, our people, reflect that notion.
I imagine when Trent Lott, Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker first stepped onto Capitol Hill to represent this great state, they were eager.
Those men were eager to prove the critics wrong, to prove that we have more to offer this country than what we are portrayed as outside the South. They had an enthusiasm to prove the cynics wrong.
This enthusiasm has lead congressmen and senators from Mississippi to rise through the ranks of the Congress, creating a humble pride that reinforces all that is great about our state.
Pride in the fact that voices of Mississippians, from the pipe fitter of Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, to the welder of Toyota, Blue Springs, can be heard in the halls of power.
Two of our congressman, and both our United States senators, attended our great university. One has to think that Ole Miss had a role in inspiring them to do the great things they did.
Our state and our people have so much to offer, and we are lucky to have representatives in Congress who personify that.
We all have a duty to follow in their footsteps to prove Mississippi is more than a statistic.
Nestor Delgado is a sophomore public policy leadership major from Pascagoula.