BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The mayor of Oklahoma City hopes that city's rags to riches story can inspire Mississippi cities that face adversity. Mayor Mick Cornett was in Biloxi on Wednesday speaking to the Mississippi Municipal League. He said he wants others to learn from Oklahoma City's mistakes.
As Oklahoma City continues to pick up the pieces from a recent deadly tornado, the mayor said the natural disaster is one of many obstacles the city has faced over the last few decades.
"We went through a 10 year economic collapse in the 1980s," said Mayor Cornett. "We were just coming out of it when the Oklahoma City bombing occurred in the 1990s, so we had the emotional setback."
City leaders from across Mississippi listened as Mayor Mick Cornett described Oklahoma City's strategy that took the city from struggling to prosperous.
"Our economy has been almost second to none. We have about the strongest economy anywhere. The lowest unemployment in the country," said Mayor Cornett. Oklahoma's rags to riches stories is one I think other people can learn from. Hopefully they won't repeat the mistakes that we made."
Mayor Cornett has a message to Mississippi cities wanting to attract more residents and more jobs: Make your city a place where people want to live and work.
"Where that's important is you can retain your highly educated young people who might go off to college. You need them to come back and raise their families and start jobs and perhaps create jobs," said Mayor Cornett. "Also, it would be nice if you can get to the point where Oklahoma City is where we're attracting high educated 20-somethings from all over the country to move to Oklahoma City for the quality of life we have."
He said while every city is different, everyone can learn from each other.
"No two cities are the same, but there aren't very many new ideas either. Somebody has probably tried it somewhere else. You might be able to see how they went wrong and see how you can improve upon it," said Mayor Cornett. "When you're mayor, you're confronted with all kinds of social issues in your community. It's very difficult to resolve all of those. However, if you can create one more job or help create a better job in your economy, you're probably going to do more for those people to help themselves than you might with one more social program."
Cornett was elected mayor of Oklahoma city back in 2004.