House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, has turned to the Gulf Coast to fill the Appropriations Committee chairman vacancy, naming veteran lawmaker John Read, R-Gautier, to the influential post.
“John has more experience and knowledge of the appropriations process than anyone in the House of Representatives,” Gunn said Monday afternoon in a news release. “He has 25 years of legislative experience. He has been a member of the Appropriations Committee for more than 20 years and has served as the vice chairman of Appropriations for eight of those years.”
Read served as vice chairman of the committee that oversees the writing of the budget in the House during one term each of the tenures of previous speakers Tim Ford and Billy McCoy.
Read has been chairman of the Conservations and Water Resources Committee in the House. It it not sure when and how Gunn will address that post, but it would be rare for a member to hold both committee chairman positions.
Rep. Mac Huddleston, R-Pontotoc, who is in his third term in the House, serves as vice chairman of the committee. There was some speculation that he was under consideration for the chairmanship, but the speaker opted to go with the more experienced lawmaker.
The 14-member Legislative Budget Committee will begin work in the coming weeks to develop a budget plan for the full Legislature to use as a roadmap when in convenes in January.
The post is vacant because Herb Frierson, R-Poplarville, stepped down as Appropriations chairman in June to accept the appointment by Gov. Phil Bryant as the commissioner of the Department of Revenue.
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