The Vassallo Interviews — Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor who interviews Oxford’s and our region’s leading personalities.
Steve said, “If the history of 20th century Mississippi is ever written, the name Trent Lott will appear often. The former Ole Miss cheerleader and United States Senator certainly has made an impact on our state. His leadership skills coupled with his Chamber of Commerce personality make this gentleman from south Mississippi most unique.”
HottyToddy.com — Senator, what is life like after the United States Senate?
Trent Lott — It is very pleasant. My wife and I can do things now that were impossible previously due to my many time restraints. We can enjoy many family trips as well as continuing to undertake a number of new business ventures. My son, Chet, and former Louisiana Senator, John Breaux, and his son continue to stay active with the law firm of Squire, Patton & Boggs in Washington DC. Also, I remain engaged with the law firm of Butler, Snow.
HottyToddy.com — How much do you miss politics?
Trent Lott — All my life I was involved in the political world as was my family. Both grandfathers were elected officials. Would I do it again? Absolutely! I continue to stay abreast of legislative issues. I was fortunate to have “run my race” and even went an extra mile. When I ran for re-election in 2006, I knew this would be the last time. After I took care of Mississippi following Katrina, my main goals and objectives had all been accomplished.
HottyToddy.com — I understand that you and Chet will soon be opening up some restaurants across the country.
Trent Lott — That is correct. I serve on the Board of Directors for Salsarita’s, which is based out of Charlotte. These are Tex-Mex restaurants with presently 62 locations. Phil Freiedman, former CEO of McAllister’s, is the CEO. We anticipate 5-7 openings in Mississippi. Chet previously was with Domino’s Pizza and is experienced with franchise operations.
HottyToddy.com — How often will you be able to return to Oxford this fall?
Trent Lott — Three games minimum. As of right now we’re looking at the Memphis, Tennessee and Auburn games. We also plan to attend the Texas A&M game on the road.
HottyToddy.com — Reflecting back upon your tenure in the United States Senate, what was the most gratifying moment?
Trent Lott — What made me most proud was being able to raise the pay of our military personnel. Previously many of our military had to resort to food stamps to live. Engineering the budget agreement with Bill Clinton was another high point. We had four years of balanced budgets and three years of surpluses!
HottyToddy.com — How do you see the 2016 presidential race shaping up?
Trent Lott — Everywhere I go I am asked about this. I am a big fan of Marco Rubio and the Governor of Ohio, John Kasich. Jeb Bush is also being mentioned a great deal. On the Democratic side, I am not convinced Hillary is going to make the race. Age and family are both weighing in which is complicating the picture for her.
HottyToddy.com — What is the greatest challenge for the US in the next 5-10 years?
Trent Lott — Foreign policy is a major worry due to the number of hot spots. However, the most important issue is the economy and jobs. We simply cannot keep spending money we don’t have.
HottyToddy.com — What were some of your fondest moments at Ole Miss?
Trent Lott — I was an undergraduate from 1959-63 and head cheerleader while here. I was also a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity where I made lifelong friends. I was engaged in numerous campus activities. And the only election I ever lost was at Ole Miss when I ran for Student Body President. Later I actually worked for the university for a period of 3 years and continued in Oxford for Law School.
HottyToddy.com — If a student is considering the Trent Lott Leadership Institute, what could you recommend to him or her?
Trent Lott — This is a great program as well as a great recruiting tool. For rising HS seniors you are able to spend 3 weeks in Oxford and one in DC. And you will be able to experience one month in a foreign country during the summer. My wife and I are most proud that we provide four scholarships each year to deserving students. This program has progressed quite well. The networking aspects are tremendous and the exposure is quite significant.
HottyToddy.com — Any thoughts on this year’s Senatorial election in Mississippi?
Trent Lott — I believe Thad will be victorious as Mississippi needs to have his experience and leadership working for our state. His wife, Rose, was in my class at Ole Miss. Thad was already in Law School at that time.
HottyToddy.com — Tell us about your hobbies and other interests aside from politics and Ole Miss.
Trent Lott — Music has always been important to me as I have sung many times for groups. Our new antebellum home on Highway 49 is keeping me busy working on the farm and taking care of the acreage. I’m learning to use a number of different pieces of equipment.
HottyToddy.com — Now I have to place you squarely on the spot when I ask you how many games will Ole Miss win this fall.
Trent Lott — Nine. We are going to be very serious contenders!
Never to “beat around the bush”, the former Senator still gives you a direct answer to a straight-forward question. One of the most popular elected officials in Mississippi history, Ole Miss can forever be proud of this alum! And without omitting, the Senator ended the interview with this comment — “Hotty Toddy and God bless Ole Miss!” And also God bless Trent Lott!
Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. In addition, he is a certified economic and community developer and currently, a highly successful leader in the real estate business with Premier Properties of Oxford. Steve’s lifelong dream has been to live in Oxford full-time. “I am now living my dream daily as is my wife Rosie, who works with the Oxford Chamber of Commerce,” Steve said. You can contact Steve at email@example.com call him at 985-852-7745.