Six Pine Belt mayors endorsed incumbent Southern District Transportation Commissioner Tom King during a news conference Monday, July 8, at the Petal Civic Center. Attending the event were, from left, Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker, Prentiss Mayor Charley Dumas, King, Petal Mayor Hal Marx, and Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee. Not pictured are Bassfield Mayor Pat Courtney and New Augusta Mayor Joe Gallaspy.

Incumbent Southern District Transportation Commissioner Tom King said he was grateful for the support of six Pine Belt mayors, who announced their backing on Monday, July 8, in Petal.

Tom King photo

Southern District Transportation Commissioner Tom King

“I appreciate it very much,” King said during a news conference at the Petal Civic Center. “I appreciate continuing to work with mayors in Mississippi and South Mississippi especially.”

The six mayors who pledged their support in the Aug. 6 Primary Election included Toby Barker of Hattiesburg, Johnny Magee of Laurel, Hal Marx of Petal, Charley Dumas of Prentiss, Pat Courtney of Bassfield, and Joe Gallaspy of New Augusta.

Petal’s Marx said he has known King for more than 25 years. King, who was born in Hattiesburg, lives in Petal.

Petal Mayor Hal Marx mugshot

Petal Mayor Hal Marx

“I have known his dedication to South Mississippi and the Pine Belt,” Marx said. “I know the good work he has done both in the Legislature and as Transportation Commissioner. I know without a doubt that he is the best candidate to continue serving as the Transportation Commissioner in the Southern District.”

Magee of Laurel said King has done a great job in the City of Laurel.

Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee mugshot

Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee

“We have several things on the drawing board right now,” he said. “Not only is there the Leontyne Price Project, which is going to be a gateway into downtown Laurel leaving Interstate 59, but we’ve also got some things going on downtown that Commissioner King has been very instrumental in making sure that it happens for us. Again, we strongly endorse Commissioner King for re-election.”

Hattiesburg’s Barker read the letter of recommendation from the six mayors, adding that King shows proven leadership to lead economic development.

Toby Barker mugshot

Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker

"He strives to help each community advance its individual transportation agenda because he knows strong towns build a strong region,” Barker read. “Whether on the Gulf Coast, Southwest Mississippi or the Pine Belt, Tom has shown fairness in how transportation dollars are spread around the Southern District."

The recommendation letter also praised King’s integrity and steady approach, which have been significant in light of recent bridge closures.

NOTE: There are two other Republican candidates in the race: Tony Smith and Chad Toney. There are no Democrat or Independent candidates on the ballots for Southern District Transportation Commissioner.

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