Yesterday, the Honorable Sam E. Angel became the longest serving member in the history of the Mississippi River Commission, breaking the previous record of Mr. Robert S. Taylor (Indiana) who served as an MRC civilian commissioner from 1881-1914.
In recognition of this significant occasion, Maj. Gen. John Peabody, President of the Mississippi River Commission, stated: “Sam's legacy of life-long service to the nation through the MRC is an amazing testament to his knowledge, dedication, and perhaps most importantly for this occasion, his stamina. He has set an example of selfless service.”
Mr. Angel is president of the Epstein Land Company and Epstein Gin Company in Lake Village, Ark. He was first appointed to the MRC by President Jimmy Carter in September 1979. After his first nine-year term, he was reappointed in October 1988 by President Ronald Reagan; in November 1999 he was appointed for a third nine-year appointment by President Bill Clinton; and President Barack Obama appointed him to his fourth nine-year term in December 2010.
The civilian members of the Mississippi River Commission:
Ensure knowledge and relationships continuity (29 civilians have served on MRC since 1879)
Have a combined 80 years on the commission
Provide engineering and business expertise from the private sector (today’s civilians have a combined 165 years of experience)
Have long-term proven relationships with legislators, partners and local interests
“Thank you for your support to the MRC and the nation these many years.” Peabody added. “Your passion for the commission's mission, and your ability to simplify the complex problems it addresses into understandable elements, is simply unsurpassed.”
To date, all MRC members are nominated and appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate of the United States.
The commission was created by an Act of Congress on June 28, 1879 to plan and provide for the general improvement of the entire length of the Mississippi River. This includes improving navigation, preventing destructive floods and facilitating commerce. The presidential appointees consist of three officers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a representative from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and three civilians, two of whom must be civil engineers.
The commission itself is an advisory body. Its general duties include recommending policy and work programs, studying and reporting on modifications or changes to the Mississippi River and Tributaries project, commenting on matters authorized by law, making inspection trips, and holding public hearings that facilitate exchanges of viewpoints and ideas between the public and the MRC. Since 1879 the commission has been “listening, inspecting, partnering and engineering” with water resource interests in a watershed that is influenced by the drainage of over 41 percent of the United States and two provinces of Canada.