As the people of Mississippi prepare for the primary contest on Tuesday, March 11, there is one thing on the mind of most primary voters: post-Katrina recovery. Now 2008, the damage done to Mississippi’s coast is still clear. Yet, it would look as if not much has been done about Mississippi. After Katrina struck, most of the media coverage has been focused on New Orleans, Louisiana.
There is the high chance that recovering after Hurricane Katrina will be at the top of the minds in most of the primary voters. In the past, many anti-war advocates have tried to link the slow response to Hurricane Katrina recovery with the current wars taking place in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
“Some folks care, some people just don’t,” according to John Nutter, a resident of Biloxi, Mississippi, which received a hard thrashing when Hurricane Katrina had come. He explained that recently the mortgage company foreclosed on the house that his father built. Nutter’s brother Darrel broke into tears.
Unfortunately, organizations such as Urban Life Missions aimed to help people in need in the Gulf Coast do not have the money to help out people like John Nutter.
“Everything the candidates are talking about is important to the candidates, but I don’t believe it’s hitting the pulse of what’s happened to the Gulf and the people here,” said Mark Jones, who is the president of Urban Life Missions.
In an ironic twist, Biloxi’s casino business is raking in a lot of income. In a sense, it mirrors the oil revenues coming out of Iraq. However, the case of Biloxi is different. Biloxi’s casino revenues have gone towards building new schools.
Iraq’s oil revenues have not looked to be used to repair and reconstruct the war torn nation after the 2003 US invasion. As a result, two US Senators have requested a Congressional inquiry into Iraq’s oil revenues.
While the casino revenues are helping schools, it is a different case for those that live in Biloxi.
“We still need to have some type of stimulus, that the government could come in, that they could put in some business. … Something like that, that can bring more people in here, more money and better jobs,” according to A.J. Holloway, the mayor of Biloxi.
Both US Democratic frontrunners Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have started to talk about how they plan to help the Gulf Coast heal from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Clinton said that US President George W. Bush did not respond when both Katrina and Rita ravaged the Gulf Coast. She pledged to make up for it as US President.
Obama blamed it on the failed policies of Bush. He said that he would end those policies as US President.
“If we’re spending $12 billion a month in Iraq, we can spend some of that money right here in the United States of America, rebuilding roads and bridges and hospitals and schools and putting people back to work all across Mississippi, rebuilding the Gulf Coast, rebuilding after the storm – that work is not yet done,” Obama addressed.
This gives a clear indication that Obama has linked the slow recovery of the Gulf Coast to the current war in Iraq. A recent study from Nobel Prize-winning economy Joseph E. Stiglitz and co-authored by Linda J. Blimes states that Iraq at the moment could cost at least $12 billion a month.
They said that by 2017, the cost could triple.
So far, US GOP nominee John McCain has not stated any plans about repairing the Gulf Coast. However, McCain does not need to prepare for any future primaries or caucuses as he had clinched the nomination on March 4. Mike Huckabee had dropped out from the race after losing in Ohio.
In a sense, this could possibly be used as ammunition against GOP nominee John McCain who had come under fire for suggesting that US troops could remain in Iraq for a long time.