Reed’s ascension will mark the first time a sitting elected official has chaired the MEC in its 61-year history. All previous chairs – including Reed’s father – have been business executives.
“Jack Reed Sr. made history for the MEC in the 1960s when he called for MEC to support keeping our public schools open during a dark time in our state’s history,” MEC President Blake Wilson told the Daily Journal. “Jack Reed Jr. makes history nearly five decades later ... .”
Wilson said the move demonstrates “the strong need for a public-private partnership to move our state forward in economic development and meaningful public policy – and helping forge that bond even stronger.”
Reed, though, also is a businessman. Until his election as mayor in 2009, he headed his family’s business, Reed’s Department Store, and its branches. He also has been an MEC member for many years.
The MEC “asked me to be in rotation to be chairman about three years ago,” Reed told the Daily Journal on Tuesday. “I was vice chairman two years ago and was supposed to chair last year, but it was postponed because of the election.”
Reed said he voluntarily forfeited his chairmanship because he didn’t want to juggle MEC demands with those of a newly elected mayor. But this year he is ready to take on the duties.
As head of the state’s de facto chamber of commerce, Reed will lead monthly MEC board meetings and mingle with Mississippi’s top business and industry leaders. He said it will allow him to market Tupelo to the rest of the state and won’t cut into his mayoral duties.
“We meet monthly by webinar,” Reed said. “So I won’t have to leave town too often.”
Reed will be named at the MEC’s 61st Annual Meeting at the Jackson Convention Complex, where he’ll take the reins from current chairman and AT&T Mississippi President Mayo Flynt.
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or firstname.lastname@example.org.