Corinth Mayor Jerry Latch assumed the office of president of the Mississippi Municipal League earlier this month during the annual meeting in Biloxi. The MML is an association of municipal officials from 288 cities and towns that promotes the interests of members to the state Legislature and other state and federal officials. Corinth Bureau reporter Lena Mitchell talked with the mayor recently about his new role.
Q: What are some things you hope to accomplish as Mississippi Municipal League president?
A: We want to continue to make the organization more inclusive. With municipal elections this year there are so many newly elected city officials that we want them all to know everyone can and will have a role in MML. We can help them in whatever areas they need, regardless of the size of the city. I also look forward to working closely with the Legislature on bills that are presented that are important to our members.
Q: What made you decide to begin working so closely with MML to move up the ranks to president?
A: When I was first elected about 15 years , Corinth’s city clerk was Jim Billingsley, who had been in the job for a long time. He encouraged me to get involved in MML to really grow in the job as mayor. He said with the combined years of experience of all the different officials they had the answers to most problems you’re going to encounter as mayor. It’s been very helpful to me, first joining the board, then the executive board, then second vice president, first vice president, and now president.
Q: As mayor of a Northeast Mississippi city, a region that many people feel is overlooked by people from Jackson and the southern part of the state, how do you think this position will help mold others’ perceptions of this area?
A: At the gala celebration there was a continuous showing of about 100 slides from Corinth. We were able to explain our city slogan – “Corinth… History is Only Half Our Story” – by showing the history along with all the other things we have to offer: community theater, a symphony orchestra, a downtown coliseum, the Civil War Interpretive Center, the Contraband Camp, the Crossroads Museum, the Black History Museum, Corinth Art Gallery, the Coca-Cola Museum, festivals, concerts, industry, shopping, 55 to 60 downtown loft apartments, something unheard of in a city this size. We’ve had dynamic growth over the past 15 years through many public-private partnerships, and working with MML has broadened my knowledge of how to go after these projects.
Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal