by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher/Owner –

Tourism has evolved as an economic development priority for many communities in the United States and especially in the South. With that being said, the Mississippi Gulf Coast is one of the few places in this country that has reduced pricing in quality homes, outstanding education, good restaurants, top-notch entertainment, casinos, and beautiful environmental surroundings across the board.

As my good friend and Super Talk’s Coast Vue host Ricky Mathews starts each episode with quotes, reads somber statements, and has Coastal figures on each show describing the quality of life down here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast to show its unique attributes. Local and state governments here on the Coast have a long history of economic development and using different assets after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Deepwater Horizon in 2010, and the global pandemic (COVID-19) of 2020.

The question should be: When is enough…enough? In the recent surge of creating subdivisions, townhouses, condos, and apartments, there has been attempts to build tourism even though the revenue on the Coast, according to the Mississippi Department of Finance & Administration, has been outstanding. More appropriation funds should be delivered to the hospitals and health care clinics on the Coast to validate the resources each can provide rather than referring to the New Orleans, Mobile or Jackson healthcare systems.

Ask every top executive of casinos, banks, and engineering projects on the Mississippi Gulf Coast what they would change about living here as I have? Even though; and I won’t share names, no one says they would like to improve tourism, or build more business to help the economy, or create better school districts to have an enhanced education. For everyone, it’s providing a safe, comfortable way of life, with quality healthcare.

Maybe this is a method of “building” tourism that many powerful officials don’t think of? Or they do, and you see where this discussion is going. By no means is this idea to ask for an expansion of Medicaid but looking into the viable options to help create a safer, comfortable environment, any task to help the Coast is for the betterment of Mississippi.

Local hospitals having boards making medical decisions, when most have no health care education or medical background is not only unfathomable, but also just plain stupid. These boards have been making health care decisions about equipment, space, and what to do with property acquired. These actions, in no way develop, an environment that’s safe and provides adequate healthcare for everyone.

Subsequently, tourism development should not be asking questions about land, buildings, or casinos. The better healthcare is on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the environment for the state is beneficial and the statewide economy will flourish.