by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher

Last Thursday, August 12, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves traveled to Diamondhead City Hall to announce his appointments to the Gulf Coast Advisory Committee.  These included seven subcommittees, which many were led and included prominent Coast residents that have been pillars of their respective communities.

The goal of this advisory committee is to make recommendations to the governor for RESTORE Act Projects funding.

Among those members of the Governor’s Gulf Coast Advisory Committee were:

The Economic Restoration committee will be chaired by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality Director Chris Wells and Brandon Pike from Gulfport, who is the Manager of Wetland Solutions, LLC.  Additional members of the subcommittee are Jason Chiniche, Dawn Haight, Brenda Lathan, Dr. Kelly Lucas, Dr. Moby Solangi, Johnny Marquez, Mitch Tinsley, Rob Stinson, State Senator Mike Thompson and State Representatives Jeremy Anderson and Hank Zuber.

The Workforce, Research & Education committee will be chaired by Dr. Mary Graham of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and Chevron Manager of Governmental Affairs Alan Sudduth.  Additional members of the subcommittee are Bishop James Black, Adam Breerwood, Angie Kothman, John Dane, Allison Beasley Hawkins, Edmond Hughes, Jeanne Luckey, Dr. Eric Powell, Will Seemann, State Senators Mike Seymour and Brice Wiggins, and State Representatives Richard Bennett and Carolyn Crawford.

The Infrastructure committee will be chaired by Dave Dennis from Pass Christian of Specialty Contractors and Jack Norris, who is the Director of Governmental Affairs for Ingalls Shipbuilding.  Additional members of the subcommittee are Leonard Bentz, Kevin Coggin, Commissioner Tom King, Kelly Lane, Mark McAndrews, Jon Nass, Joey Spears, Amy St. Pe, Clay Williams, State Senator Jeremy England, and Representatives Charles Busby and Jay McKnight.

The Tourism committee will be chaired by John Hairston, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Hancock Whitney Bank and John Rounsaville of the Mississippi Development Authority.  Rounsaville just resigned from the Mississippi Development Authority Friday, August 13 due to inappropriate conduct under investigation.  Additional members of the subcommittee are Larry Ahlgren, Kurt Allen, Woody Bailey, Larry Gregory, Linda Hornsby, Adele Lyons, Matt McDonnell, Susan Perkins, Paige Roberts, Tina Ross-Seamans, Milton Segarra, Cynthia Sutton, Tish Williams, and State Representative Casey Eure.

The Seafood committee will be chaired by General Joe Spraggins, who is the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and Mark Mavar, who is the President of Biloxi Freezing & Processing, Inc.  Additional members of the subcommittee are Ryan Bradley, Sean Deporte, Arnie Gollott, Brent Gutierrez, Jennifer Jenkins, Daniel Le, Jonathan McLendon, Captain Jay Trochesset, State Senator Philip Moran, and State Representatives Jeffrey Guice and Greg Haney.

The Small Business committee will be chaired by Jamie Miller, who is the Chief Operations Officer of the Mississippi Development Authority and Jourdan Nicaud from Pass Christian, the owner of the Nicaud Restaurant Group.  Additional members of the subcommittee are Ferrell Alman, Kempton Batia, Rick Camarena, Kevin Fish, Mark Henderson, James Kaigler, Regan Kane, Cam Roberds, Louis Skrmetta, Tonya Spiers, Michael Sunderman, and State Representatives Manly Barton, Sonya Williams Barnes, Timmy Ladner, Randall Peterson.

The Economic Development committee will be chaired Rounsaville from the MDA and Anthony Wilson, who is the President of Mississippi Power.  Once again, Rounsaville’s resignation from the MDA leaves this position vacant.  Additional members of the subcommittee is William Cotter, Derek Necaise, Bill Lavers, Frank Castiglia, George Freeland, Royce Cumbest, Clay Williams, Carlos Bell, Heather Ladner Smith, State Senators Joel Carter and Scott DeLano, and Kevin Felsher.

Each of the advisory board’s seven subcommittees will be asked to recommend projects that cost somewhere between $10 million and $15 million for funding.

The RESTORE Act was enacted in response to the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in 2010 and signed into law in 2012.

Under the Act, financing from the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund is utilized for programs, projects, and activities designed to both restore and protect the environment and economy of the Gulf Coast. There are three Deepwater Horizon restoration funding streams that have allocated $685 million to almost 100 different projects along the Mississippi Coast.