Defense and National Security
The Fourth Congressional District of Mississippi has an extensive military history from Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, which has been used since 1941 to train our Air Force, to Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center which is the largest state-owned training site in America that is nestled in the Pine Belt. Just west of Biloxi, Gulfport is home to the Naval Construction Training Center, Combat Readiness Training Center, and the National Guard AVCRAD unit. The Gulf Coast also has two U.S. Coast Guard facilities. Having grown up in Gulfport, Steven was able to see and experience the commitment and sacrifice it takes to defend the nation.
In 1988, I enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves and was proud to serve with the 3rd Force Recon in the Persian Gulf War spending time in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. In 1997, I enlisted in the MS National Guard where I still serve. Most recently, I spent a year supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom at Mobilization Center Camp Shelby. He has also had several opportunities to visit our soldiers serving overseas during his time in Congress.
In the 115th Congress, as Chairman of the National Guard and Reserve Components Caucus I introduced the Reserve Component Benefits Parity Act and the Reserve Component Benefits Parity Act of 2018, which would help to provide fairness to certain National Guard and Reserve Component service members by extending to them eligibility for certain benefits available to achieve Active Component forces that deploy to carry out equivalent duties. My legislation was included in the G.I. modernization bill that was signed into law in 2017.
I believe the protection of America’s interests at home and abroad is my primary Constitutional responsibility. When I entered Congress, I was appointed to the House Armed Services Committee. I assisted in passing several National Defense Authorization Acts and procure funding for ships to be made in Pascagoula at the Huntington Ingalls shipbuilding facility and other shipbuilding companies along the Gulf Coast. In my current position on the House Appropriations Committee, I’ve been a vocal advocate for ensuring strong federal investments are made in South Mississippi.
Having served in the military and having a multitude of military installments located throughout South Mississippi, my first obligation is to continue to uphold the United States Constitution to ensure we provide for a strong national defense.