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OPINION: Clinton is deserving, but what about the rest of Mississippi?

This is one of those columns where I really should be jumping up on the highest rooftop to shout the praises of Clinton for being named in the “Top 100 Places to Live for 2009” by Relocate America.com.

Unfortunately, I feel like I must defend the honor of so many other Mississippi cities and towns that did not make the list.

There is no doubt that Clinton is most deserving of such an honor, and I am proud it has been recognized for what we have known as one of the shining stars of the Magnolia State for decades.

But let’s look at some other Mississippi towns and figure out how this list could go with out them.

A quick look at the list shows five cities from Georgia, three from Louisiana, five from Arkansas, three from Alabama and four from Tennessee.

I don’t want to make disparaging comments about specific towns on the list, but it is obvious that Mississippi did not get its just rewards in its totality.

Obviously, every great town in Mississippi isn’t going to be named to a list like this every year, but let’s look at a few towns that could stand alongside Clinton on this year’s list (in no particular order).

Oxford — It has been named by USA Today as one of the top six college towns in the nation. It has been included in The Best 100 Small Towns in America. Lafayette County consistently leads the state rankings in the lowest unemployment rate. Both Oxford and Lafayette County school systems are consistently ranked as some of the best in the state.

Cleveland — With Delta State University’s Bologna Performing Arts Center under the direction of David Dallas and good public schools in the heart of the birthplace of the blues, Cleveland has consistently ranked high in polls of the best places to live.

Olive Branch — In 2007, this town was listed by Money Magazine as the best place in Mississippi top live.

Ridgeland — In the same Money Magazine listing, this town was ranked No. 2 in Mississippi and among the top 100 in America.

Madison — In 2007, it was selected by Family Circle magazine as one of the nation’s “10 Best Towns for Families.” The article appears in the magazine’s August 2007 edition.

Hattiesburg — The home of the University of Southern Mississippi, William Carey University and Camp Shelby has been listed as one of the best places in America to retire by U.S. News and World Reports.

We are proud for Clinton. The home of Mississippi College is deserving of the honor it received. Maybe next year, Relocate America.com will see fit to recognize a few more Mississippi jewels.

Contact MBJ managing editor Ross Reily at ross.reily@msbusiness.com.

About Ross Reily

Ross Reily is editor of the Mississippi Business Journal. He is a husband to an amazing wife, dad to 3 crazy kids and 2 dogs. He is also a fan of the Delta State Fighting Okra and the Boston Red Sox.

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