Now is the time to speak up.
The Mississippi House and Senate are in session for the next 89 days and on one of those days they could decide the fate of more than $700 million from the BP economic-damages settlement.
The logical place for that money is on the Coast, where BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster damaged businesses, jobs and lives. It belongs on the Coast, where the investment could bring a return that will benefit the entire state. A vibrant Coast tourism and industrial economy brings in tax money we willingly share with the state.
Logic doesn’t always guide the state House and Senate.
There are those in the House and Senate who, without the benefit of knowing the Coast, assume we have been made whole. We know that isn’t the case.
And that’s where you, the people of the Coast, come in.
We need an outpouring of stories of the damage BP brought to your lives. We need the stories of businesses and opportunities lost.
Did your restaurant close? Does your charter business have fewer bookings? Did you lose your job?
Tell that to those people from the upper reaches of the state.
Rep. Scott DeLano, a South Mississippi lawmaker, told a poignant story of a hamburger stand that, despite the help of family and friends, didn’t survive. It went under not because it lost customers but because its employees left for $2,000-a-week paychecks from BP and the stand couldn’t hire quality replacements.
That is the kind of story that hasn’t reached the ears of those in Jackson and beyond. We understand the state budget is tight and that money is scarce throughout the state. But it would be shortsighted to use this one-time money to plug a budget full of recurring expenses. This is money best invested for the long haul on projects that promise a return to the state treasury year after year. And the most likely place to get that kind of a return is in the Coast counties.
We have some powerful voices — Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and Gov. Phil Bryant — on our side. Our delegation is unified in this cause.
All they need is you. And the more of you, the better.
Here are the email addresses of all the representatives and senators from the Coast. Send them plenty of ammo for the coming fight.
The editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists and cartoonists are their own.
Send your emails
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves has an email account for BP settlement ideas: BPSettlement@senate.ms.gov
Let your South Mississippi lawmakers know your BP story:
Deborah Dawkins: email@example.com
Dennis DeBar: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tommy Gollott: email@example.com
Billy Hudson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Philip Moran: email@example.com
Mike Seymour: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sean Tindell: email@example.com
Michael Watson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brice Wiggins: email@example.com
Jeramey Anderson: firstname.lastname@example.org
David Baria: email@example.com
Sonya Williams Barnes: firstname.lastname@example.org
Manly Barton: email@example.com
Richard Bennett: firstname.lastname@example.org
Charles Busby: email@example.com
John Corley: firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott DeLano: email@example.com
Casey Eure: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Formby: email@example.com
Jeff Guice: firstname.lastname@example.org
Greg Haney: email@example.com
Timmy Ladner: firstname.lastname@example.org
Doug McLeod: email@example.com
Randall Patterson: firstname.lastname@example.org
John Read: email@example.com
Patricia Willis: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hank Zuber: email@example.com