Phil Bryant, The Inauguration, Committees & More
A handful of notes as Phil Bryant gets sworn in and new leaders take over, while some stay on.
** Inclement weather has forced Phil Bryant and his team to move the swearing-in ceremony inside the House of Representatives. It will still take place at 11 a.m., with the Inaugural Ball continuing as scheduled at 7:30 p.m. at the Jackson Convention Center. The parade and events surrounding the parade have been moved to January 21.
** Last week, Bryant appointed Jim Barksdale as head of Mississippi Development Authority and then yesterday he appointed multiple directors of various state agencies. This includes:
Bureau of Narcotics: Marshall L Fisher, Executive Director
Corrections: Chris Epps, Commissioner
MEMA: Robert Latham, Executive Director
Employment Security: Mark Henry, Executive Director
Environmental Quality: Trudy Fisher, Executive Director
Finance and Administration: Kevin Upchurch, Executive Director
Human Services: Rickey Berry, Executive Director
Medicaid: Dr. David Dzielak, Executive Director
Marine Resources: Dr. Bill Walker, Executive Director
Public Safety: Albert Santa Cruz, Commissioner
** And Bryant also announced yesterday that Kirk Sims will serve as his chief of staff. Sims was Bryant’s policy director when he was lieutenant governor, and also helped run Bryant’s campaign.
** Following the announcement of Senate committees on Friday, all eyes have turned to the House. Obviously the job is a little tougher there when you consider Philip Gunn wasn’t technically elected until last Tuesday and the chamber is significant larger than the Senate. The decisions by Tate Reeves generally won praise from all sides for reaching out to Democrats. But those moves put a certain amount of pressure on Gunn. Perhaps we will get those committees by the end of the week.
** The Mississippi Transportation Commission named Melinda McGrath as head of the state agency last week. She has been serving as interim director since the commission fired Butch Brown last year. Also, the all-Republican commission chose Dick Hall as their chairman. The Hall-Brown feuds were well documented and Hall was pretty much ignored by the former leader, to say the least. Hall will get the last laugh and things on the commission will be much different. Over the past four years, the commission has gone from 2-1 D to 3-0 R.