Mississippi Secretary of State stands firm in response to Biloxi Businessmen’s Club
BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson is standing firm in his response to a Biloxi business group whose members worry his office is standing in the way of waterfront development.
Back in November, the Biloxi Businessmen’s Club sent a letter to Secretary Watson asking that he reconsider how his office handles Tidelands issues.
In the letter, the group’s president, Cree Cantrell, wrote, “We ask that you not stand in the way of much needed development in Coastal Mississippi, and rather, focus on the other important jobs of your office.”
Watson responded in December with his own letter where he reiterated his support for coastal development and disagreed with the characterization that he’s doing anything other than the job he was elected to do as Secretary of State.
“I will not turn from the statutory duty given this office by the Legislature and ‘focus on the other important jobs’ of my office when any municipality, county, or region of the State seeks to be ‘creative’ with the law,” Watson wrote. “This office will abide by the intent of the Legislature expressed through statutes and as interpreted and explained by the Mississippi Supreme Court as one should expect. And one should expect a municipality, county, or region of the State to do the same.”
Watson mentioned several times that he supports “reasonable and rational” economic development of the State Tidelands.
“To be clear, I support Biloxi arranging private donations to fund public owned assets for public use,” Watson wrote. “When ownership, management, and administration of State property is usurped by others, the State Legislature, as voice of the State, has appropriated funds for legal expenses to defend attacks on the State’s ownership interest using attorneys approved by the Attorney General’s office.”
You can read Secretary Watson’s full response to the Biloxi Businessmen’s Club here: https://bit.ly/3XoTDr1
Read the original letter to Secretary Watson here: https://bit.ly/3QHxfHu
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