2004 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Dearing, Bryan, Burton, Butler, Frazier, Jackson (15th), Little, Posey, Dawkins
A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION COMMENDING THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF PUBLIC SERVICE OF FORMER STATE SENATOR TROY WATKINS FROM NATCHEZ, MISSISSIPPI, AND EXPRESSING THE SYMPATHY OF THE LEGISLATURE ON HIS PASSING.
WHEREAS, Troy Watkins, a former Natchez mayor and State Senator who left a lasting impact on higher education in the State of Mississippi, died on Friday, September 12, 2003; and
WHEREAS, Senator Watkins, 77, was instrumental in establishing the Natchez campus of Copiah-Lincoln Community College, which now shares land with Alcorn State University. Senator Watkins and his wife, Margaret, were the parents of five children, including David Watkins, a longtime legislative representative of public school districts; and
WHEREAS, Senator Watkins was a 30-year old newcomer to Natchez when he was elected the city's youngest mayor in 1956. The son of a Methodist minister, he had grown up in different Mississippi towns and held his bachelor's and master's degrees in history from Millsaps College and the University of Mississippi, respectively. He was particularly interested in the War Between the States and great southern generals and leaders; and
WHEREAS, Senator Watkins served as a very progressive mayor until 1964, but his political career did not end there. He ran for State Senator and served from 1972 to 1980, and Senator Watkins ran two strong races for Lieutenant Governor; and
WHEREAS, Senator Watkins was very dogmatic and was not afraid to take on political battles against some of the more powerful members of the State Senate; and
WHEREAS, perhaps Senator Watkins' most lasting impact on Natchez was the role he played to establish the Copiah-Lincoln campus. The University of Southern Mississippi had been granted permission to establish a two-year program for third- and fourth-year students, and Senator Watkins lobbied to establish a community college branch to help round out the campus. He enlisted several community leaders to invest in the property, which was later purchased by the state. In 1999, Copiah-Lincoln Community College recognized his 27 years of service by dedicating the Vo-Tech Center in Natchez in his honor; and
WHEREAS, education remained an important focus for Senator Watkins later in life. "Our future is in education," Watkins told The Natchez Democrat in early 2002. "It costs money to educate our children, but it cost five times as much to keep them in the penitentiary." Even after he served in office, Senator Watkins was interested in community affairs, including economic development. He worked hard to keep industrial development an important issue; and
WHEREAS, it is with sadness that we note the passing of this dedicated public servant, who was devoted to his family, his church, his community and to the State of Mississippi:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby commend the life and legacy of public service of former State Senator Troy Watkins from Natchez, Mississippi, and express to his surviving family the sympathy of the Legislature on his passing.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be presented to Senator Troy Watkins' wife, Margaret; children Dr. Troy Watkins, Jr., David, Margaret, Paul and Carole; to the Mayor of Natchez, Mississippi; be made available to The Natchez Democrat; and to members of the Capitol Press Corps.