New Member Of Mississippi River Commission Sworn In By His Father

Riley James, a native of New Madrid, Mo., was sworn in as the newest member of the Mississippi River Commission April 26 by his father, R.D. James, current assistant secretary of the Army-civil works, and a former MRC member himself.

Riley James was sworn in while standing on the observation deck overlooking the Mississippi River at New Madrid. Nominated in January by President Donald Trump to serve on the MRC, he was approved for the post in March.

The mission of the MRC, established by Congress in 1879, is to improve the condition of the Mississippi River, foster navigation, promote commerce and prevent destructive floods. Its efforts have included overseeing the construction of levees, flood walls and floodways along with channel improvements. Its board is composed of three civilian members and three members of the Corps of Engineers. It is chaired by the commander of the Mississippi Valley Engineer Division.

Riley James has previous experience serving on various levee and flood control boards. He has a bachelor’s degree in agriculture economics from Mississippi State University and a master’s degree in business administration from Washington University at St. Louis. The seventh generation of his family involved in farming, James is CEO of the family business, A.C. Riley Cotton Company.

Sign up for Waterway Journal's weekly newsletter.Our weekly newsletter delivers the latest inland marine news straight to your inbox including breaking news, our exclusive columns and much more.

“I’ve been a long-time advocate of flood control and I look forward to helping to solve flood control challenges not just here in the Bootheel but across the entire Mississippi River and Tributaries System and the entire valley,” James told the  Sikeston Standard-Democrat.

James said the Mississippi River and Tributaries is one of the most successful civil works projects ever initiated. The MR&T project has prevented more than $1.5 trillion in flood damages since 1928, a return of $95 for every dollar invested in the project.