Constituents React To Lott's Election As Minority Whip - - The News for South Mississippi

Constituents React To Lott's Election As Minority Whip

Senator Trent Lott has reclaimed an important leadership role in the United States Senate.

In what some consider an upset victory, Lott on Wednesday edged out Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander for the position as Minority Whip. It's the second most powerful post in the Republican minority.

"This is the one good thing for Mississippi out of the midterm elections that occurred last week," says Gulfport City Councilman Brian Carriere.

Carriere teaches political science at the Jeff Davis campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. He says Senator Trent Lott's return to the Republican Party's leadership is a fascinating lesson on political missteps and comebacks.  

"It's also evidenced by what we've seen from the administration," says Carriere. "I think their steadfastness in staying the course in certain things is part of what brought the party's demise in these elections. What people have to understand is you can stay the course and you can still change your methods or change your route."

Carriere believes few can chart a course through the turbulent waters of a new Democratic controlled Senate better than Lott.  

"I think Senator Lott's influence and his ability to rally the troops, whether they be Republican or Independents, or even some Democrats, I think that's going to be very important over the next two years."

Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway agrees with that assessment. He says after losing Senator Thad Cochran's chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Lott's new position is even more important.  

"We still have a long way to go in Mississippi and South Mississippi in particular after Katrina," says Holloway. "You know, we still need some help whenever we can get it. And I'm sure he's very much aware of that and will be able to use his influence the best he can."

Lott stepped down from his position as Senate Majority Leader four years ago after making remarks about Senator Strom Thurman which were considered by some to be racially insensitive.

by Don Culpepper

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