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Members of the DeSoto County delegation to Washington, D.C. gathered inside the U.S. Capitol during their visit to meet with members of Congress regarding issues of importance to the county.

Discussions on several issues highlighted the trip of DeSoto County and city officials to the Nation’s Capitol this past week. 

The annual Congressional Briefing to Washington, D.C., organized by the DeSoto County Economic Development Council, brought a delegation primarily made up of county and municipal leaders who met Thursday with Mississippi U.S. Reps. Trent Kelly, Bennie Thompson, and Steven Palazzo; Mississippi U.S. Sens. Cindy Hyde-Smith and Roger Wicker and Tennessee U.S. Rep. David Kustoff.

During a break in the DeSoto County Board of Supervisors meeting Monday, board president Lee Caldwell reviewed the issues from the county that were brought up during their conversations with federal officials.

Access to the internet and issues with mobile phone service to parts of the county were among the topics discussed, Caldwell said. She stated there are areas of the county still unserved or underserved by the internet, despite the Federal Communications Commission believing otherwise.

“We are going to re-survey the county and send our information to Washington,” Caldwell said. “The FCC has a map that shows that all of DeSoto County is covered. There’s going to be funding that comes down, so we want to make sure that we have our areas of need.”

Caldwell wants the survey to also indicate where there are issues with mobile phone service.

“We’ll be asking our citizens to let us know by doing our own survey and by working with Brandon Presley, our Public Service Commissioner, and our Congressmen,” said Caldwell.

The county’s transportation concerns included funding to build an interchange at Star Landing Road and I-55. The nearby future location of the National Guard Armory and relocation of the county’s Emergency Operations Center would aid in making that happen.

“We’re looking for some money for our Emergency Operations Center and for Star Landing interchange,” Caldwell said. “The interchange for I-55 has been approved but there’s been no money coming down from the federal government to build that interchange. We’re asking to use some funding from military defense because Star Landing would be considered a defense access road. That’s a mechanism that could be used to fund the Star Landing interchange.”

There were also discussions, Caldwell added, about possibly widening U.S. Highway 51 between Church Road and Hernando.

Bob Bakken is Managing Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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