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Pathways to Progress motors through Mississippi

Reported by: Susan Parker
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Updated: 11/19/2013 9:08 pm
COLUMBUS, Miss. (WTVA) -- Pete Creekmore is the owner of Rae's Jewelry store in Columbus.

The ride has not always been a smooth one over the course of 13 years.

"Of course, (we've) had ups and downs, but the last few years it's been pretty flat."

Things are looking up, however.

"I feel optimistic about my business. (I) can't say about others, but I do feel optimistic about mine," Creekmore added.

That optimism is something others are feeling or at least they should be, according to Mississippi Economic Council President and CEO Blake Wilson.

"A lot of positive things (are) happening in Mississippi. Now we've got to keep the momentum going so that we don't fall backwards," Wilson said.

That is one reason why Wilson and others with the MEC are hitting the road.

A 19-city tour began Tuesday with a forum in Columbus. The Pathway to Progress calls on input from those in the community. It's information which will be used to pursue goals in the Mississippi Legislature.

"When we go back to the state Capitol and work with our legislators and political leaders on issues important to business, we can go there with a united voice," MEC Chairman Haley Fisackerly said.

Their goals focus on key pillars of opportunity, which are economic competitiveness, educational advancement in the workforce, resource development and technology advancement.

"In addition to that, we have to continue to work on our infrastructure, improve our highways, and also, health care is economic development," Fisackerly added.

Wilson says what many may not realize is that Mississippi has already achieved a milestone.

It is one of only four states in the South to recover to pre-recession levels.

"We're ahead of North Carolina. We're ahead of Georgia (and) Alabama — I mean significantly ahead. (We're) way ahead of Florida, and it's things Mississippians sometimes lose track of," Wilson said.
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