By Bobby Flash Melton
Every year since being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018 Marsha Blackburn has visited each of Tennessee’s 95 counties during Senate recesses to meet with local officials and community leaders. Her first day of county visits in 2023 took place on Thursday, Jan. 12. Among her stops was a mid-morning visit to the Benton County Electric System (BCES) in Camden.
Approximately 35 persons welcomed Blackburn on her visit including county officials and commissioners, BCES personnel, school administrators, chamber of commerce leaders, economic development officials, and Extension agents.
“Being in Benton County is our way to work with you to make sure we work together as a local, state and federal team to make sure Benton County has the resources it needs to serve its citizens,” said Blackburn. “The best way we know how to help our communities is to meet in person with local officials and have conversations like we did today.”
During a one-hour meeting, Blackburn heard from county leaders on a number of topics including the economy, education, economic development, agriculture, energy, and the challenges facing law enforcement.
Following the meeting Blackburn said she was proud to hear from the various officials about the issues that are important to them as address their daily duties and responsibilities.
“What we talked about were successes in their work as well as some concerns about areas that still need to be addressed,” Blackburn said. “I think it’s important to look at that and it’s healthy to look at it as a balance to make sure things are moving in the right direction when it comes to infrastructure, transportation, jobs recruitment, and workforce development.”
Looking to the future, Blackburn stressed that workforce development should be a top priority so that Benton County will be ready for opportunities that may be forthcoming because of Ford Motor Company’s Blue Oval facility that’s being built near Brownsville.
Blackburn noted that while debating major issues of legislation on the floor of the U.S. Senate is vitally important, her office is always ready to assist anyone who may need help with a department or agency of the federal government.
“We have six offices across the state staffed with caseworkers whose job is to help Tennesseans resolve issues involving federal agencies,” she said. “Our office in Jackson serves Benton Countians and can be reached at 731-660-3971. Anytime we can be of service, please feel free to reach out to us.”
A few days before Blackburn’s stop in Benton County last Thursday she visited the U.S.-Mexico border near Eagle Pass, Texas. Accompanying Blackburn on that visit were Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi and Katie Britt of Alabama. Blackburn expressed deep concern regarding the situation at the border at this time. A press release on her border visit can be viewed at blackburn.senate.gov.
Blackburn’s six-year term as Senator expires in 2024 and she says she will seek re-election to the office. “I will run for re-election and be on the ballot in 2024,” she said. “It is my honor to serve.”
In addition to visiting Benton County last Thursday, Blackburn and her staff also made visits to Henry, Humphreys, and Weakley counties.