Democrat rep to be marshal for parade in Sikeston

Saturday, September 15, 2007

SIKESTON, Mo. -- U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton, a Democrat representing Missouri's 4th Congressional District, will be the grand marshal in the Cotton Carnival parade in Sikeston on Sept. 29.

Skelton was tapped to be grand marshal by the Sikeston American Legion based on his position as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. In the past week Skelton has been a high-profile member of Congress as he has chaired congressional hearings with the U.S. military leader in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, and U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker.

Sikeston lies within U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson's district.

Sikeston American Legion chaplain Blair Moran initiated the process to secure Skelton's appearance after hearing the legislator speak at a national American Legion Convention in March. Moran then asked Emerson's office to extend the invitation, and Skelton accepted.

Emerson, a Republican, said in a prepared statement released Friday that Skelton "has been a friend to the Emerson family for as long as I can remember."

Emerson called Skelton a "patriot" and said the two attend the House Prayer Breakfast together every Thursday.

"Ike was more than happy to help her out and attend with her," said Rebecca Loving, spokeswoman for Skelton's office.

Loving said Skelton commonly makes such appearances in his own district, which covers much of the west-central part of the state. Skelton has represented that district for 30 years. He usually doesn't make appearances like this one outside his district but accepted the invitation because of his close relationship with Emerson, Loving said.

"His presence is going to make this Cotton Carnival truly special," Emerson said in her statement.

Before the parade, Skelton will give an informal speech at a breakfast at the Sikeston American Legion Post, Moran said.

msanders@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 182

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