By Lisa Voyles/Chickasaw Journal
OKOLONA – Many residents of Okolona, Chickasaw County and the state of Mississippi have Jack Gordon stories and some were shared during the dedication of a section of Highway 45 in honor of the late senator.
“Some of them I’ll go to my grave with,” joked Rep. Preston Sullivan. “If I were passed away and he were still living, I wouldn’t want him to tell everything we discussed either.”
Local and state officials shared remembrances of Gordon’s public service and vision for his community and state.
“Jack has left behind an undeniable legacy of service to this community, his hometown,” said Okolona Mayor Louise Cole.
Highway Commissioner Mike Tagert spoke of Gordon’s dedicated support for a strong highway system in the state.
“I’m the recipient, one of many, of good leadership, strong leadership,” Tagert said. “The Highway Bill of 1987 was, in large part, because of his leadership.”
Gordon served 36 years in the state legislature, eight in the House of Representatives and 28 in the state Senate, and held positions as chairman of Appropriations, Education, Public Employees and Retirement and Buildings and Grounds committees.
He was instrumental in shaping the 1982 Education Reform Act that provided public kindergartens as well as the 1987 Highway Bill that was designed to improve transportation throughout the state.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation designated a section of Highway 45 from the north city limits of Okolona to the Lee County line in honor of Gordon. Officials from the city previously dedicated a roundabout on Main Street to Gordon and partnered with the county supervisors in naming the section of Hwy. 45 that runs through town (Church Street) in his honor as well.
Cole said Gordon spent his life connecting people as well as roads and the dedications were appropriate.
“You won’t be able to get anywhere around the town of Okolona without going by Jack Gordon,” Cole said.