PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Constituents needing help in Jackson County can now take care of business without driving to Gulfport. Congressman Steven Palazzo cut the ribbon on a new district office in downtown Pascagoula Monday.
After the fanfare of a ribbon cutting, a meet and greet, and a short speech to supporters, Rep. Palazzo got serious. On the budget crises in Washington, the congressman came out firing.
"A possible default would be catastrophic to our market, to our economy. But for the president to come out and say that your social security checks might not go out, I thought that was hugely irresponsible. And again it showed a failure of leadership for our commander-in-chief," Palazzo said.
High gas prices are hurting everyone. Palazzo believes the solution is simple.
"We need to expand domestic energy production, which is American energy," the congressman said. "That means drill in the Gulf, drill in Alaska, east coast, west coast, offshore, onshore."
Meanwhile, BP may be facing fines of up to $20 billion for last summer's oil spill. Congress is having trouble deciding how to divvy up the money, according to Palazzo.
"We want Mississippi to see their fair share. That probably is what is leading to some of the disagreement. Several Gulf Coast states were affected by the oil spill and we want to make sure that money is shared appropriately."
The space shuttle program has ended, and Americans will now have to hitch a ride into space with the Russians. Palazzo said that is regrettable.
"It's heartbreaking," the congressman lamented. "Part of our American exceptionalism was the fact that we were leaders in manned space exploration. We put the first man on the moon. And sad to say today, the next country to put a flag on the moon is probably going to be China."
And shrimpers are now being targeted for tougher regulations in the wake of rising numbers of sea turtle deaths. Palazzo is critical of that process.
"I say to the shrimpers and our fishermen and the people who have been doing this for generations on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, hang in there. Help is on the way," Palazzo said. "These environmental regulations and the agencies, they are killing jobs, and they have an environmental agenda that is not based on good science or common sense."
Congressman Palazzo flies back to Washington later this week.