Discussions centered on Senate achievements, health care, and defense

Published 7:00 am Thursday, March 31, 2016

When the Senate is not meeting in Washington, I find it helpful to spend time at home in Mississippi, visiting with the people I represent. In recent days, our discussions have covered a number of issues, such as bipartisan accomplishments in the Senate and the future of health-care technology and research.
Highlighting Bipartisan Achievements, Challenges
On March 22, I had the opportunity to take part in Delta State University’s lecture series, which has hosted a range of speakers from government, business, and the arts since it began in 2013. I spoke in depth with students, faculty, and members of the community about the ways Republicans and Democrats have found common ground during the 114th Congress. The Republican-led Senate has replaced persistent gridlock with significant bipartisan achievement, passing education reform, a multi-year highway bill, long-term tax relief, and a balanced budget plan, to name just a few examples.
I also recently participated in the Ole Miss Insurance Symposium, where our attention turned to concerns with the Department of Labor’s proposed fiduciary rule on retirement advisors. Individuals could be forced to leave longtime advisors because of the proposed rule’s costly and complex hurdles. I continue to push back against this proposal and have cosponsored two pieces of legislation to protect small investors. One would increase transparency, and the other would require congressional approval of any rule changes.
In addition to promoting scholarship and understanding, our colleges and universities are a place for important milestones. In the coming days, I will congratulate 120 new U.S. citizens during a naturalization ceremony at Mississippi State University. These ceremonies are patriotic occasions, where eligible residents who have played by the rules and undertaken the necessary steps for U.S. citizenship publicly take an oath of allegiance to the United States.
Looking Ahead in Health Care, Defense
Other milestones are on the way, including those that will affect the future of health care. During a recent visit to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, I had the chance to discuss the innovative advancements in telehealth that UMMC is providing to patients across the state. I also toured UMMC’s MIND Center, which is at the forefront of groundbreaking research on Alzheimer’s and dementia. I appreciate the MIND Center’s support of my “EUREKA Act” to create prize competitions for treating and eventually curing Alzheimer’s.
Another upcoming milestone is the christening of the new USS Ralph Johnson at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula on April 2. Marine Ralph H. Johnson was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor after sacrificing his own life to shield fellow Marines from a grenade attack in March 1968 during the Vietnam War. His legacy will be remembered for years to come as brave men and women serve our country on the new Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, built in Mississippi to defend freedom around the world.
My work in the U.S. Senate is strengthened by the conversations and correspondence I have with Mississippians. In visiting communities across the state, I see firsthand the advancements we have made, the projects we are championing, and the potential for even greater success. Please visit www.wicker.senate.gov to share your views with me.

By Senator Roger Wicker

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