Brown has challenges, opportunities ahead

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 11, 2001

Former Natchez mayor Larry L. &uot;Butch&uot; Brown has the chance to &uot;take the bull by the horns.&uot; That’s the judgment of Sen. Bob M. Dearing, D-Natchez, on Brown’s appointment this week to head the Mississippi Department of Transportation. Dearing should know what opportunities lie ahead for Brown: Dearing is chairman of the state Senate Highways and Transportation Committee.

Then again, anyone who travels into Natchez, or anywhere else in the state, knows what opportunities – and challenges – Brown has ahead of him.

For Brown, who served as mayor for eight years, the new position will test his acumen and ability.

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His new post can also be beneficial to Natchez, which, despite continued construction, still lacks four-lane highways leading into the city.

MDOT has come under fire in the past few months because of the way it operates. Last fall, when transportation department officials said they had run out of funds to immediately continue the 1987 highway program, Gov. Ronnie Musgrove said he had &uot;questions&uot; about the department’s request for bond funding.

That issue was eventually worked out, but lawmakers continued to question MDOT’s practices.

But Brown, aware of those budget problems, said he is confident continued cooperation along with federal lobbying can move the state forward.

And if Brown can take the lobbying savvy he used in Natchez to the state level, that’s good news for Mississippi – and most likely good news for Natchez.