Former Mississippi Development Authority director Leland Speed passes away


JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Leaders with the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) announced they’re mourning the loss of the agency’s former director, Leland Speed. According to Y’all Politics, he passed away on Wednesday from complications to ALS.

“He was passionate about serving Mississippi and strengthening its communities,” MDA tweeted.

Speed was a graduate of Georgia Tech and Harvard Business School, Speed served in intelligence with the U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command.

He accepted a temporary appointment as executive director of MDA in 2004 on a volunteer basis. He stayed for three years and returned to serve as interim director from 2011 until 2012.

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker released a statement about Speed’s passing.

Gayle and I mourn the loss of our longtime friend and one of our state’s preeminent citizens, Leland Speed. As a leader in business and government, he demonstrated the highest commitment to civic duty and the advancement of our state and country. His advocacy for the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) was the inspiration for the JROTC Act, which has expanded opportunity for thousands of young Americans. This is just one example of Leland’s impact. His enduring influence on the lives of Mississippians will be hard to measure. He leaves a wonderful legacy for his family and his many friends.”

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

Former Governor Phil Bryant tweeted, “Leland was an iconic figure in Mississippi who gave so much to so many. This great Jacksonian will be missed.”

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