Oct. 13, 2002
In his zeal to take credit for things he had nothing to do with, U.S. Rep. Ronnie Shows again last week displayed his ignorance of current events in east Mississippi, specifically Meridian.
Two days after the announcement that Cooper Communities had pulled out of its proposed Meridian project, Shows announced that a subcommittee of the U.S. House had approved "$750,000 to the city of Meridian for water and wastewater infrastructure improvements for the Coopers Community Development."
His press release said "the full House Appropriations Committee is expected to approve these projects soon."
Well, it won't be soon enough for Cooper. They're gone. Shows didn't even know the correct name of the development it was "Cooper," not "Coopers," as his press release said. The fact is that the funds Shows announced have already been reallocated to other projects in Mississippi's 3rd Congressional District, so ably represented by U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering.
Shows not only demonstrated he was out of touch, but also got caught again attempting to claim credit for something he didn't do. In the old West it might have been called "claim jumpin'." It's been happening so frequently during Shows' current campaign that we think the practice of claiming credit for someone else's work deserves a descriptive word of its own. How about "Showzed."
This disturbing pattern also extends to the issue of health care for veterans, particularly Shows' rhetoric over a federal program called Tricare for Life. Shows' plan on veterans health care was not the one eventually passed by Congress. The new Tricare for Life law built on a concept proposed and an amendment authored by Pickering as part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2001, passed by Congress in 2000.
For his efforts, Pickering was widely, and rightly, praised by a variety of veterans groups around the state and nation.
Shows also held a press conference earlier in the campaign at Naval Air Station Meridian claiming wrongfully that Pickering had ignored funding needs of the facility. That stunt was an early indication that Shows has a tendency to twist reality for his own selfish political benefit.
Since then Shows has claimed credit for an Internet filtering proposal and for protecting the Mississippi catfish business from the Vietnamese government's dumping of catfish on U.S. markets. The credit for both of these belongs to Pickering.
And last week, Shows essentially announced he had been appointed to the House Armed Services Committee. Not true. There are no current vacancies on that committee. The House will make new committee assignments only after the new Congress convenes in January 2003. Maybe Shows should have said he may be considered for appointment to Armed Services if there is a vacancy at that time.
Since he proposes to represent this area in Congress, Shows ought to study up. He really ought not to rush out with press releases and rash statements claiming credit that rightfully belongs to someone else.
Pickering's solid record of accomplishment for the people in this congressional district is much more impressive and real.