MS: Senatorial Candidates Visit Coast

In the battle for U.S. Senate between Republican Roger Wicker and Democrat Ronnie Musgrove, populous South Mississippi is fertile ground for votes, but also has myriad challenges as it recovers from Hurricane Katrina.

The victor will have to contend with those issues, which include the lack of affordable insurance and housing and also a vital tourism industry that appears to be feeling the effects of the U.S. economic downturn.

What do the candidates have to say about those issues?

Both Wicker and Musgrove support a plan touted by Democratic U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor to expand the National Flood Insurance Program to offer wind coverage for homeowners. The plan, often referred to as the multi-perils insurance bill, has passed the House of Representatives but has been stymied by powerful senators.

Both campaigns say affordable insurance, including the multi-perils plan, is key to getting more affordable housing.

Wicker said he also introduced legislation with Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Cochran, that authorizes $200 million for senior and disabled citizen housing aid.

Musgrove said getting the U.S. economy back on track and also creating jobs would greatly benefit the tourism industry.

The Musgrove camp contents fixing the economy would mean getting spending under control in Washington and also reducing the amount of money the federal government borrows from China. They also say ending trade deals that “send jobs over seas” and lowering gas prices would help.

Wicker said more promotion of Mississippi would help. Although the U.S. economy is suffering, Wicker said plenty of international tourists are coming to the United States. Wicker said he is promoting the bipartisan “Travel Promotion Act,” which would establish an office in the Department of Commerce to increase travel promotion. Wicker is a member of the Commerce Committee, which he said would have jurisdiction over such a bill.

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