Thad Cochran awards held

BAY ST. LOUIS — Presumptive state House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, on Monday night said South Mississippi and the Coast are important to him and would be represented in his leadership team as the Republican Party prepares to take control of the House for the first time since Reconstruction.

“I haven’t made any decisions about any (committee chairmanships) yet,” said Gunn. He is expected to be chosen speaker next month after the GOP gained a majority of 65 in the 122-member House in this year’s elections, then caucused recently on the speakership with Gunn winning. “I recognize the importance of the Coast to Mississippi, and all my selections will be based on leadership, experience, regions and all the other considerations that need to be made.”

About 200 area Republicans mingled with Gunn, other lawmakers and GOP leaders Monday night at the Mississippi Republican Party Region 7 annual Thad Cochran Award for Public Service banquet at the Hollywood Casino.