Petal’s King named chairman of state Transportation Commission


On Tuesday, the Mississippi Transportation Commission swore in first-time commissioners Willie Simmons, Central Transportation District, and John Caldwell, Northern Transportation District; along with Southern Transportation Commissioner Tom King, who enters his third term as commissioner.

Following the ceremony, at its first meeting of 2020, the MTC named King as chairman.

King previously served as a state lawmaker since 1993, when he was elected to the House of Representatives where he remained until 1999. In 2000, he began his tenure in the Senate, where his leadership brokered many bills designed to better the lives of Mississippians.

As Chairman of the Senate Highways and Transportation Committee, King authored resolutions that honored the achievements of persons throughout his district and the state. Most notably, King authored Senate Bill 3181—the $300 million bond bill for highways and bridges and Senate Bill 3014, known as the John Paul Frerer Bicycle Act, which promotes safety for cyclists on the roadways.

King also authored Senate Bill 2514 that created the Mississippi Wireless Communications Commission, which ensures that the state’s emergency responders and law enforcement have the means to communicate regardless of any disaster that may occur.

King is a veteran of the Vietnam War, having served  in the Air Force as an Air Policeman. He is affiliated with the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, American Legion and VFW. He has received many professional awards and honors including – 2011 Mississippi Municipal League Legislator of the Year; 2010 Hattiesburg’s Veteran of the Year; American Legion Meritorious Service Award in 2007 and Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers Legislator of the Year in 2002.

King is no stranger to South Mississippi, as he was born in Hattiesburg. He attended Petal High School and graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1973. He currently lives in Hattiesburg with his wife, the former Susan Lynn Patterson, and has two children and two grandchildren.

Tuesday’s event was held at the Mississippi Department of Transportation’s administration building in Jackson. Speakers included Melinda McGrath, P.E., MDOT Executive Director; Chief Justice Michael K. Randolph, Mississippi Supreme Court; and Judge Latrice Westbrooks, Mississippi Court of Appeals. Watch the full ceremony.

 The state of Mississippi vests oversight of its transportation resources and operations in a three-member elected commission representing three geographic areas in the state—Northern, Central and Southern district. In accordance with state law, the commissioners have the authority and responsibility for the supervision of all modes of transportation in the state dealing with aeronautics, highways, public transit, ports and rail safety.

 The commission meets the second and fourth Tuesday of each month.