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Elected and Appointed Government Officials

Mississippi's Top 50 Most Influential

9 of 20

Billy Hewes, Mayor of Gulfport


Billy Hewes wears many hats.  Gulfport Mayor.  Insurance agent.  Real Estate Broker.  Coast Evangelist.  Rock drummer.  Coming from a long line of Coast public servants (his grandfather was a chancery judge and his dad was a city councilman), Billy had a successful 20 year career in the Mississippi Senate eventually becoming Senate Pro Tempore under then-Lt. Governor Phil Bryant.

Though he wasn’t successful in his bid for statewide office in 2011, he brought statewide elected-level political talent back home to Gulfport and became its mayor in 2013.  He’s grown a staff and a political infrastructure and had a list of accomplishments in three short years that any mayor would envy.  Since his term began, Gulfport has grown substantially in tourism and economic development.  He’s been one of the driving forces behind the “One Coast” effort to harness cooperation between the Gulf Coast Chamber, civic agencies, city and county governments on the Coast to market the entire Coast.  He’s also had recent success with the ribbon cutting of “Fishbone Alley”, an old utility alley that’s been converted to a new arts and entertainment district in downtown Gulfport.

Whether he’s working on his plans for a regional aquarium, partying during the Coast’s Mardi Gras events with his wife Paula, shredding it with his band Cut Bait, or in the middle of Cruising the Coast, Hewes is a relentless force in South Mississippi.