TRENT LOTT'S RESIGNATION
November 28, 2007
In 1972 a fresh-faced young man who had been mentored by an icon of Mississippi's congressional delegation, William Colmer, swept to victory as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives by a landslide of 78% of the vote. He was a Republican in what had once been a rabidly Democrat voting state. His name was Trent Lott. He was a new breed of politician in a new Mississippi. He was polished, buttoned-down, and aggressive. He presented a refreshingly positive young image and rapidly gained influence and prominence. Before leaving the House to replace another Democratic icon in the Senate, the venerable John Stennis, he rose to the position of Minority Whip.
As a Senator, Lott hit the familiar political turf of Washington running. Before a rare setback over an unfortunate choice of words at a 100th birthday celebration of Strom Thurmond in 2002, he served as the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate. The boy from Pascagoula, Mississippi became one of the most powerful people in the most powerful nation. After the Republicans became the minority party once again, Lott retook ground and reclaimed power by becoming minority whip in the Senate. He was elected to his fourth six-year term in the Senate a year ago and has been instrumental in helping the Gulf Coast of Mississippi make great strides in the process of recovering from Hurricane Katrina, the most vicious storm to hit the U.S. in history and one that washed away Lott's own beachfront home.
Monday he surprised us all by announcing his retirement from the Senate, effective prior to the first of the year. At 66, Trent Lott still seems to have the energy of a man half his age and it will be interesting to see to what use he concentrates it. He will have no shortage of options. We are extremely grateful to Trent Lott for the outstanding service he has given to our state and nation over a nearly four-decade career in politics. His is a distinguished legacy and he has played an integral role in history throughout the better part of his adult life. We wish him well as he takes on new challenges and a new stage and season in his already remarkable life.