Mississippi GOP Attempts Jackson Airport Takeover

Concerning news out of Jackson, Mississippi. Thereports that Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill Wednesday that would create a regional authority over the Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport.
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Concerning news out of Jackson, Mississippi. The Clarion-Ledger reports:

Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill Wednesday that would create a regional authority over the Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport.

Senate Bill 2162 passed the Senate on a party-line vote in April after much push back from Jackson and airport officials, who claim the state is attempting to steal the airport from the city.

Among the many community leaders raising concerns about the future and direction of The Jackson Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport is Myrlie Evers Williams, widow of Medgar Wiley Evers, who was assassinated in his driveway in Jackson on June 12, 1963.

Evers Williams said, "I learned from Mr. Carl Newman, the Jackson airport's CEO, that the airport is financially sound and being well-run. As such, I stand with CEO Newman and the Jackson Municipal Airport against any takeover of the Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport by the State of Mississippi."

Currently, Jackson's mayor appoints the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority's (JMAA) five board of commissioners. Board members set airport policy, and the chief executive officer manages its day-to-day operations.

"It is unprecedented for the state to take an asset from a governmental entity without cause,"
said State Rep. Sonya Williams Barnes (D-Gulfport), chair of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus. JMAA is financially sound, well managed, with an efficient operation. This is not a reorganization of the commission; it is a hostile takeover."

Governor Bryant backs the legislation. Recently, he bestowed Mississippi native and actress Dr. Tommie "Tonea" Stewart with the Mississippi Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts during a ceremony in Jackson. When Stewart arrived at the Jackson airport for her return trip home, she toured the Medgar Wiley Evers Pavilion with JMAA's Board Chairman, Dr. Rosie L. T. Pridgen, and offered her support.

If given the opportunity to speak with the governor again, Stewart said, "I would say to him, 'Let's stay together and support the airport as it stands.'"

Stewart added, "If it's not broken, don't fix it. Jackson is the capital of the entire state (of Mississippi). So, we are really asking all citizens across not only Jackson, but also Mississippi and the world to take an interest in this, because if it is Jackson now, it may be another city tomorrow."

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