JACKSON — A Mississippi Senate committee has voted unanimously to recommend the confirmation of Jamie Miller of Gulfport as director of the state Department of Marine Resources.
The full Senate will consider the nomination soon, possibly as early as Wednesday. Confirmation takes a majority of the 52 senators.
Committee members spent about an hour Wednesday morning quizzing Miller about how he'll manage the agency that has had financial problems in recent months.
Sen. Brice Wiggins of Pascagoula, chairman of the Ports and Resources Committee which presided over the nomination committee, said Miller was poised and confident during the committee hearing.
"It was clear to the committee that his experience and knowledge of South Mississippi issues qualify him for the job of DMR director," Wiggins said. "Just as importantly, he informed the committee that he is aware of the issues facing DMR and is willing to make the hard decisions to restore its integrity. He also informed the committee, after questions from myself and others, that he does not have any personal or business connections to the current DMR regime.
"Further, he also knowledgeably addressed questions about oyster management, the DMR permitting process, regional management of the fisheries and voiced his support for marine law enforcement. His nomination will go before the full Senate as early as today. I want to thank members of the committee and the whole coastal delegation for their commitment to seeing DMR restored."
Miller says he'll do a 60-day review of MDMR operations. He also pledged that the agency will be transparent and accountable to the public.
Miller has a degree in environmental science and has previously worked for MDMR. He also worked on Hurricane Katrina recovery under former Gov. Haley Barbour and was chief of staff for Republican U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo.