By the Way

Mayor Billy Hewes finally responds to HB 1523

By ANITA LEE

calee@sunherald.com

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Mayor Billy Hewes in June 2013, shortly before his inauguration and when he first told the Sun Herald that "Gulfport is open for business and geared for a good time."
Mayor Billy Hewes in June 2013, shortly before his inauguration and when he first told the Sun Herald that "Gulfport is open for business and geared for a good time."

Update: We finally heard from Mayor Billy Hewes. We went over to Gulfport City Hall, and he gave us this quote:

"Gulfport is the same today as it was yesterday," Hewes said. "The character of our community is the result of the diversity of our culture, economy, natural resources and people. We invite everybody to discover the city that is 'open for business and geared for a good time!'"

Original post

Mayor Connie Moran is appalled by the state's “religious freedom” bill.

Biloxi Mayor Fofo Gilich is standing defiantly against the law.

What about the mayor of Mississippi's second largest city, Billy Hewes? The mayor whose favorite slogan is, "Gulfport is open for business and geared for a good time."

Well, our readers don't know.

Billy Hewes, for the first time since he took office in July 2013, has not responded to our messages. I say “our” because three Sun Herald staffers have texted and called Hewes. Radio silence.

Digital producer Justin Mitchell texted Chris Vignes at 12:30 Wednesday. “Do you know if Billy wants to be on our list of mayors who oppose HB 1523?”

No response.

I called and texted Hewes late Wednesday afternoon. Nada.

Staff Writer Jeff Clark was next to try when he arrived Thursday morning. He called Hewes at 8:15 a.m. He called him again at 1:46 p.m.

Clark also texted Vignes: “What's up with the communication shutdown?”

Vignes texted back that all was well; he had just been busy. He also said he had forwarded the text I sent him to Hewes on Wednesday evening.

Maybe the mayor has taken a well-deserved break and is in the wilds of Mississippi or some other state without cell or wireless service.

If so, somebody please let us know. Our readers are engaged in this issue and want to know where the mayor stands.

Is Gulfport open for business? Or does that depend on your sexual orientation, what business you walk into and whether they feel like serving you?

BTW, hats off to Murky Waters BBQ. They are not going to serve the legislators who voted for the bill.

"Gulfport is the same today as it was yesterday," Hewes said. "The character of our community is the result of the diversity of our culture, economy, natural resources and people. We invite everybody to discover the city that is 'open for business and geared for a good time!'"

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