White House brings policy forum to Jackson - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

White House brings policy forum to Jackson

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The discussion began with a message from the President.

"Tell us what's working in your communities and what's not," said President Barack Obama in a taped message.

That discussion was an open examination of federal programs, policies and procedures and how they effect Mississippi, specifically the African American Community. From health and small business programs to funding for farmers and ranchers, Mississippi USDA Rural Development Director Trina George says it's all about understanding what's out there.

"We want to make sure that the leaders in these communities come and make sure they know about all of the White House initiatives and give suggestions to the White House as to how we can make our policies better, to better serve their communities," said George.

With representatives from the White House and federal agencies on hand, those leaders are getting that chance. Congressman Bennie Thompson says when it comes to available programs, the problem is many folks don't even know they exist.

"Historically, we have not participated in all the programs that we should have," said Thompson.

With the forum, Thompson hopes lesser known programs are put in the spotlight much like those widely used. Thompson says competition from other states is growing, making the application process even more important in getting a hold of any available money.

"If we don't apply and take advantage of them, those monies go elsewhere, so we want to make sure that all the monies that can accrue to Mississippians, that we get it," said Thompson.

For every dollar the state sends to Washington, Thompson says about $2.50 is returned. That's a reinvestment he says needs to be taken advantage of which starts with an effort and understanding of how to do it.

Jackson was one of only three cities across the nation selected to host the White House policy forum.

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