Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott, chairman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, will be the featured speaker at the 71st Delta Council annual meeting on the Delta State University campus in Cleveland, May 12.

Lott’s address at Delta State’s Bologna Performing Arts Center will highlight a full morning’s activities, including an analysis of congressional and state political races by well-known political analyst Stu Rothenberg.

A salute to Delta honor graduates by Mississippi Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck; a special rendition of “God Bless the USA” by entertainer Guy Hovis; the annual catfish luncheon on the grounds of the Delta State Quadrangle; and other activities will be a part of Delta Council Day.

“We are pleased that Sen. Lott will address the members and special friends of Delta Council at our 71st meeting,” said Delta Council President Kent Wyatt of Cleveland. “Trent Lott has been a consistent and powerful advocate for the economic advancement of Mississippi and the Delta during his four decades of public service, first as a congressman and now as a U.S. senator.

“His ability to make things happen has been a hallmark of his career, and I believe most all will agree that this was underscored last year after he played a pivotal role in securing a timely and precise response to Hurricane Katrina — especially when you consider the storm destroyed his home on the Gulf Coast.”

Wyatt said that Lott’s emphasis on infrastructure development in the state and the Delta has paid big dividends.

“When you consider projects like the U.S. 82 bridge, Interstate 69, the Tunica Airport, and countless other infrastructure enhancements, it is obvious that Sen. Lott understands that Mississippi can compete with any place in the country or the world as long as we have a level playing field in terms of roads, bridges, rail lines, and similar public works that are required for an economy to function properly.”

A native of Grenada, Miss., Lott was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1972, and the U.S. Senate in 1988. He has held numerous high leadership positions in both houses of Congress, and currently serves as chairman of the Rules and Administration Committee, a senior member of the Finance Committee, Commerce Committee, and Intelligence Committee.

“All issues surrounding trade negotiations such as WTO will have to come before the senator’s committee,” notes Dan Branton of Leland, Miss., chairman of Delta Council’s Farm Policy Committee. “In the Delta, these issues are far-reaching in their implications for our economy, not only in agriculture but also in manufacturing and distribution of goods and services.”

For the fifth consecutive year, Delta Council will honor the top achievers from high schools throughout the 18 Delta and part-Delta counties of northwest Mississippi. Lt. Gov. Tuck will present special recognition to Delta honor graduates who have been selected by the school administrations in their respective school districts.

A $2,000 scholarship will be awarded to the individual selected as the top Delta honor graduate. Sixty-six area high schools send honor graduates to the Delta Council event. John Allen Darnell III of Glen Allan, Miss., was named the Delta’s Top honor graduate in 2005, and he currently attends the University of Mississippi.

Delta Council will also be recognizing Deltans who have made significant contributions in other critical areas of Delta life. The 2006 Good Middling Lady will be awarded to Mollie Stock of Hollandale, Miss., for her contributions to the Delta region. Stock, the former Mollie Dent of Yazoo City, Miss., and spouse of producer Walker Stock, has been active in numerous civic, cultural, and church activities across the Mississippi Delta, including Delta Council.

The 71st Delta Council annual meeting will begin at 10:30 a.m. Lott’s keynote address is scheduled to conclude at noon, when the Delta Council members and guests will move to the University Quadrangle for a fried catfish lunch on the grounds.

Sponsors of the annual meeting include BankPlus, Delta Regional Medical Center, KBH Corp., Land Banks of Mississippi, Morgan Keegan, and Jimmy Sanders.