Thompson: Madison’s growth from incentives

U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson believes in federal earmarks to grow local projects.

“Incentives, that’s what is put on the table to convince businesses this county is better,” the Democratic congressman told the Madison County Business League last week. “If your communities grow, I say to the Business League, it’s the federal dollars that incentivize much of that growth.”

Look at the development that is going on in Madison County and much of that was created through the use of incentives “that came from the federal government,” said Thompson, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

For Thompson, the son of a Gluckstadt native who moved to Bolton, the northern end of the county – with its vast terrain of rural, developed property – is ripe for economic development. Thompson represents a portion of Madison County “from Gluckstadt north so that’s prophetic from a historic perspective.”

“The good folks in the north deserve investments,” he said. “We have to come up with ideas on what we need to do in this area.”

Thompson said he supports earmarks that direct federal funds to public agencies for worthwhile projects. “Earmarks have gone from my shop, and they’ve made a difference and spurred development.

“If we do away with earmarks, the good things we’ve enjoyed in this county go away,” he said.

Madison County Supervisor Paul Griffin, who represents the northern district, told Thompson that his assistance with funding for local projects have helped Madison County, especially in the Camden area with the public library and fire station.

“Thank you for believing in earmarks. We want you to continue to believe in earmarks because we want a state-of-the art fire station in Farmhaven too,” Griffin said.

Thompson said the northern part of the county is an ideal location for an airport, which would be a boost to economic development. “The growth potential where the current airport is is limited,” he said referring to Bruce Campbell Field on Old Canton Road in the middle of Madison.

The north is where “the wide open spaces are. I want you to think about that,” he told the Business League. “The good folk in the north deserve investment. We have to come up with ideas on what we need to do in that area.

“I want to work closely with you” on how to spur economic development in that area, he told the local business leaders that make up the organization.

Steve Seale, the lobbyist for the Madison County Board of Supervisors, thanked the congressman for helping Madison County receive earmarked funds. “Mississippi has benefited from federal spending. Thompson is an integral part of that,” he said.

Last year Madison County received $4.5 million for three major road projects, and Seale told the league members that Thompson helped with that funding.

Thompson recently toured the Madison River Oaks Hospital now under construction in Canton. He said he supported the building of the new hospital by Health Management Associates, which opposes a hospital being built in Madison by St. Dominic’s.

“I chose this hospital to support,” Thompson said. “I’m excited about health care coming at this level.”

Glen Silverman, the hospital’s chief executive officer, called Thompson a “good friend” of the 67-bed hospital, which is moving from old facilities east of Canton to the new location next year. “It’s great to know he supported us,” he said.

Article by Lucy Weber from the MC Herald · Oct. 26, 2010