Congressman Steven Palazzo (R-MS) today released the following statement praising progress of the Mississippi Military Communities Council. Palazzo is attending annual training at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center and was unable to attend Thursday afternoon's media update.
"I consider this council a valuable partner in my role on the House Armed Services Committee. The world is not becoming safer, and the sacrifices our men and women in uniform make are not getting smaller. Mississippi is a military state, and military installations thrive because of local community support. As defense budgets continue to shrink, this council and I are doing everything possible to promote and protect Mississippi's military assets."
In recent defense authorization legislation, Palazzo secured shipbuilding language that would boost Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi, by prioritizing Navy funds to address the disparity between Marine Corps requests for amphibious ships and current ship numbers. The bill also included language to restore 31 Lakota helicopters that had been cut in the president's budget. The helicopters are built for the Army and the National Guard by EADS North America at the American Eurocopter facility in Columbus, Mississippi. He has also been a vocal critic of Air Force attempts to enact major force structure changes before hearing from a congressionally-directed commission.
The Mississippi Military Communities Council was originally formed by former Governor Kirk Fordice in the early 1990s as an informal association of community members interested in protecting and promoting military missions in Mississippi. It was reestablished by Governor Phil Bryant in March 2012. The council promotes Mississippi's military missions at the national level and advises Gov. Bryant and legislative officials on actions that could potentially impact the missions and Mississippi communities that support military operations. Each military community in Mississippi designates members to work with the state-level designation.
Former Adjutant General of the Mississippi National Guard Bill Freeman serves as chairman and Ingalls Shipbuilding Director of Government and Community Affairs Jim McIngvale serves as vice chairman.
Palazzo is a Marine veteran of the Persian Gulf War, an actively-serving member of the Mississippi National Guard, and serves on the House Armed Services Committee.