Over 350 business leaders, lawmakers, and officials attended the annual “League and Legislature” luncheon on February 27 at Jackson’s Old Capitol Inn.
A key focus of the meeting was to honor Madison County State Representative Rita Martinson, who is retiring after serving for 24 years in the state House. She was praised at the Madison County Business League & Foundation event by several speakers, including Governor Phil Bryant, Treasurer Lynn Fitch, and House Speaker Philip Gunn, citing her accomplishments in the enactment of E911, efforts to improve overall reading skills for Mississippi students, efforts to reduce the tax burden on Mississippi taxpayers, and a number of other accomplishments during her tenure in office.
She was consistently praised as a “strong but courteous” negotiator who was never afraid to tackle the difficult issues, and consequently, was able to bring together folks with widely disparate viewpoints and achieve consensus.
When asked whether she will miss serving in the Legislature, she indicated that she would be both “glad and sad”– glad to be able to spend more time with her family and the pursuits she loves, but sad that “I will miss working with so many great people”.
She sees the future in Madison County as a very bright one, and pointed out how far the county has come since she was first elected to office 24 years ago. She characterized the citizens of Madison County as “futuristic” in their viewpoints, and predicted many positive developments in years to come.
Asked what her plans are after retirement, she said that she and her husband plan to travel some, “starting with Alaska,” and visiting many other places they’ve never been. “And, of course, spending time with my family,” she said.
From the reception she received, she clearly has earned the respect and affection of a great many among Mississippi’s government and business communities, and she will be sorely missed.
» Contact Mississippi Business Journal publisher Alan Turner at email@example.com or (601) 364-1021.
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