Friday, October 19, 2018
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Gov. Phil Bryant is naming three businesspeople, a lobbyist and a longtime educator to the board that will oversee creation and operation of a Mississippi lottery.
Bryant announced his nominees Friday, nearly two months after lawmakers voted during a special session to create the game of chance. Mississippi had been one of six states without a lottery, and getting the operation up and running is expected to take several more months.
"I am grateful these five highly-qualified individuals have agreed to take on the responsibility of the Mississippi Lottery Corporation Board of Directors by accepting these appointments," Bryant said in a news release. "This group has exceptional experience in diverse sectors of public and private business, and I know they will carry out the affairs of the board effectively."
Philip Chamblee of Madison directs two trade groups — the Mississippi Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Stores Association and the Mississippi Propane Gas Association.
Gerard Gibert of Ridgeland is CEO of Venture Technologies, an internet infrastructure company.
Kimberly LaRosa of Pass Christian is president and CEO of Renaissance Community Loan Fund and a former property finance director for a casino.
Mike McGrevey of Decatur is deputy director of Mississippi Development Authority and former chief administrative officer of the city of Meridian.
Cass Pennington of Indianola is a former superintendent of the Indianola and West Tallahatchie school districts and former state College Board trustee. He is a board member for Delta Health Alliance and was the organization's executive director from 2004 to 2008.
Senators will consider confirming the Mississippi Lottery Corp. nominees during the legislative session that begins in January, and the nominees may serve until then without confirmation.
Bryant, a Republican, started advocating creation of a lottery more than a year ago as a source of money for transportation. More than 400 local bridges had been closed with structural problems, and the state transportation department has long said it needs hundreds of millions more dollars.
Bryant points out that Mississippi residents drive to Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee to buy millions of dollars of lottery tickets each year.
The lottery bill was opposed by politically powerful Baptist and Pentecostal groups and some people who called it a regressive tax on poor people in one of the poorest states in the nation. Mississippi's influential casino lobby did not oppose a lottery but fought some lawmakers' ultimately unsuccessful efforts to allow video lottery terminals in places such as truck stops.