Incumbent U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker spoke to the The Daily Mississippian on Tuesday ahead of the midterm elections on Nov. 6.
Wicker said college students and millennials are critical to his vision for the state because he believes one of the government’s top priorities should be to leave the country better for the next generation.
“Well, (millennials) are vital to my campaign, but they’re vital to my accomplishments in D.C.,” Wicker said. “It just happens that the vast majority of the people on my staff are under the age of 30.”
Wicker, a resident of Tupelo, is the incumbent Republican and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He’s running for his second term in the Senate after first being appointed to the position in 2007 by former Miss. Gov. Haley Barbour.
Wicker said he’s running for re-election based on his record of building the nation’s military up and pushing for deregulation policies.
“I am very much in agreement with the broad strokes of President Trump’s (deregulation) program,” Wicker said. “I support (the) deregulation approach. I was pleased to be a part of the group that put 14 regulations on his desk for rescinding.”
He said keeping millennials in the state after they graduate from college is a tough and frustrating issue, but he’s sponsored a bill to bring broadband internet to rural Mississippi in hopes of keeping younger people in the state.
“I’ve been a part of allocating a great deal of money to (the University of Mississippi Medical Center) for research,” Wicker said. “That’s a way to keep people in the state of Mississippi. We’ve increased jobs in the state of Mississippi. The bottom line is we have to work on job opportunities and quality of life issues inside the state.”
Wicker first advocated for changing the state’s flag in 2017 but said the issue is largely a state problem and is something that can’t be handled in the Senate.
“I took a stand that it was time for our current state flag to be placed in a museum,” Wicker said. “I haven’t changed my mind. That’s something that eventually the state of Mississippi will have to vote on.”
Wicker said he is a supporter of most of U.S. President Donald Trump’s policies, and that the committees he’s a part of provide oversight on Trump his administration.
“As the second highest ranking person on the armed services committee, we have hearings where civilian leaders of our defense are called to testify about what they’re doing with funds,” he said. “The same is true on my other committees. Especially the communications committee and how it provides oversight to the (Federal Communications Commission).”
The election will take place on Nov. 6 between Wicker and his opponent, state Rep. David Baria.
To read more of The Daily Mississippian’s coverage of the upcoming midterm elections, read our interviews with state Sen. Chris McDaniel, former Sec. of Agriculture Mike Espy, state Rep. David Baria and U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith.