It was the announcement the standing room only crowd held its breath to hear.
"I am going to ask Mississippi to re-elect me," announced Senator Trent Lott.
Lott says he made that decision after much soul searching and talking with family and friends. His supporters, who have followed his long time political career, say the senator is putting the state's best interest first.
Biloxi Resident Victor Mavar says, "Trent is so committed to doing the right thing for the people of the state and he knew it would be a difficult thing for the people to start out with new representation in Washington at this crucial time."
Timing weighed heavily in his thoughts of running for a fourth senate term. The hurricane swept away Lott's beachfront home in Pascagoula and he faces the same personal challenges as thousands of other South Mississippians.
"Senator Lott and Tricia can both sympathize and empathize and they've got the same concerns that most people do who got hammered with houses gone, with personal belongings gone, with childhood treasures gone and they've got the same concerns as every person in the southern part of this state has," says Gulfport contractor Dave Dennis.
That is one reason Lott wants to stay in Washington, to make sure Mississippi gets its fair share of the storm recovery federal dollars.
Dr. Bill Walker, Executive Director of Marine Resources says, "We've got a good team put together down here to try to rebuild and renew the area after Katrina and there's no doubt in anybody's mind that Trent Lott is the captain of that team and this just isn't the time for the captain to move on and do something else."
"We need him more than ever in Washington and I agree with his reasoning that now's not the time to leave the people of Mississippi and his work for the people of Mississippi," says Dr. Willis Lott, president of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
Trent Lott says that's true, as long as his fellow Mississippians need his help he'll be there for them.