Are We Free?

Are we really free when state government can take control of our citizen's property? During the past 88 years, the citizens of Jackson have invested their tax dollars into aviation facilities. Our forefathers worked hard and planned with hopes of a rewarding aviation future. Now, Gov. Phil Bryant and his Rankin County Rich Riders want to take our prime real estate in just six months without a "please" or "thank you."

No study and no respect! Are we free, as a municipality, when state government is allowed to rob us of our asset without regard for the municipality's plans? The Jackson Municipal Airport Authority is financially sound and well-managed, as evidenced by the historic decision to refinance debt with Trustmark National Bank, creating almost $4 million in debt savings.

The Mississippi Legislature recently passed Senate Bill 2162 to replace Jackson's five-member airport board with a nine-member regional commission. The legislation only gives Jackson the opportunity to directly appoint two of the commissioners. Any change in the airport authority's structure will likely impact future economic development, construction and contract opportunities.

The average citizens of Jackson work daily to sustain their home and create memories. Most are community-minded and proudly claim residency in Mississippi's capital city. But they will not allow the theft of their property to go quietly into the night. 
 To some of us, this action is an attack against our very freedom and our ability to collectively possess property. If we are to be free, we must be free to plan and determine the future use and development of one of the city's most valuable assets.

The actions of this governor and Legislature do not represent the Mississippi values that I've seen during extensive travels throughout the state and 20 years of state government service.

Also, the governor's planned thievery supersedes the federal law, which allowed the state of Mississippi to legislatively establish municipal authorities.

Let it be known that we did not start this disruptive fight. But we will vigorously resist an overreaching government that disrespects and takes from its citizens. If you agree, please contact Gov. Bryant at 601-359-3150 today and ask him not to sign Senate Bill 2162 into law. Thanks for supporting the capital city of Mississippi.

Mr. Vernon W. Hartley Sr.

Jackson Municipal Airport Authority Commissioner


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