State regionalism on menu Wednesday

Published 12:25 am Tuesday, March 22, 2011

NATCHEZ — Regionalism will be the topic of discussion at a luncheon beginning at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Natchez Convention Center.

The luncheon will provide insight into how two state agencies not only function in the economic development realm, but how they cooperate with other states.

Mississippi Development Authority Deputy Director Whit Hughes and Louisiana Secretary of Economic Development Stephen Moret will be the guest speakers.

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“It should be a really interesting program having Stephen Moret and Whit Hughes speaking,” Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ said.

Russ said he expects the economic development leaders to discuss how their states compete and cooperate with other states.

“Having them both on the same panel should lend some significant thought there to what’s going on,” Russ said. “It should be a really nice event.”

Russ said the concept of regionalism is catching on in the Miss-Lou.

“Day in and day out we are beginning to form good regional partnerships with Concordia Parish, looking for and finding ways we can partner on common issues and to move the region forward. Quite honestly, the dollar nor the labor market pays any attention to state or political boundaries, and companies don’t either.”

Russ said it’s important for people to see counties and parishes cooperate from a regional standpoint.

“But it’s also important to see that states like Louisiana and Mississippi or Mississippi and Alabama often join forces and resources to promote areas,” Russ said.

Heather Malone, Concordia Parish Economic and Industrial Development District executive coordinator, said regionalism has been extensively discussed on a local level.

“We need support of state leaders as well,” Malone said. “It’s important for our community to see that regionalism works at the state level as well as local level.”

Malone said the luncheon should be an insightful experience for anyone who would like to learn more. Business owners and elected officials are urged to attend.

“This is a chance for elected leaders and existing businesses to see and hear who’s working for them at the state level, and to know the importance of working as a region,” Malone said.

The Miss-Lou regional steering committee and the economic development subcommittee will host the luncheon.

Reservations are required. Call 318-336-3635, 601-445-0288 or e-mail or

Admittance includes lunch at $12 each. Checks may be made payable to Natchez Inc.