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Former MS Democrat AG candidate...

Former MS Democrat AG candidate Jennifer Riley Collins appointed as CAO of Delta Regional Authority

By: Sarah Ulmer - August 10, 2022

DRA was created by Congress in 2000 to promote and encourage economic development of the lower Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt.

On Tuesday, the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) announced the appointment of Jennifer Riley Collins as Chief Administrative Officer under the Biden-Harris Administration. Riley Collins, who formally served as the Owner and Principal Consultant at J Riley Collins Consulting, LLC, started her role June 21, 2022.

“Ms. Riley Collins will be an excellent asset to Delta Regional Authority,” said DRA Federal Co-Chairman Dr. Corey Wiggins. “Her decades of experience as military intelligence officer, attorney, and organizational specialist will be much needed as we bring DRA’s focus back to its mission and statute to maximize our impact to the 252 counties and parishes within the eight-state DRA region.”

Riley Collins, a native of Mississippi, is a 32-year military veteran and retired from the United States Army in 2017 at the rank of Colonel. She honorably and with distinction served as a Military Intelligence Officer in various assignments, twice serving as a Commander at the Company and then at the Battalion level. She served as the Command Inspector General at a power projection platform during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and her last assignment was at the Military Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs at the Pentagon. 

From 2013 to 2019, Riley Collins was the executive director of the Mississippi chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). She then ran for Mississippi Attorney General and was the Democratic nominee in 2019. She lost to current AG Lynn Fitch, with Fitch winning with over 57% of the vote.  Riley Collins was then hired as the county administrator for Hinds County in 2020.

“It is an honor to serve the people of the Delta region and to support Chairman Wiggins in his efforts to ensure all communities are provided the resources and opportunities for infrastructure improvements necessary to achieve equitable access,” said DRA Chief Administrative Officer Jennifer Riley Collins.

Riley Collins is a graduate of Alcorn State University and earned a Master of Criminal Justice Administration from the University of Central Texas. She holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Mississippi College School of Law and has also been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by Alcorn State University and the Mississippi Institute of Higher Learning.

The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to promote and encourage the economic development of the lower Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt.  DRA invests in projects supporting transportation infrastructure, basic public infrastructure, workforce training, and business development.  DRA’s mission is to help create jobs, build communities, and improve the lives of those who reside in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state region.

About the Author(s)
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Sarah Ulmer

Sarah is a Mississippi native, born and raised in Madison. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she studied Communications, with an emphasis in Broadcasting and Journalism. Sarah’s experience spans multiple mediums, including extensive videography with both at home and overseas, broadcasting daily news, and hosting a live radio show. In 2017, Sarah became a member of the Capitol Press Corp in Mississippi and has faithfully covered the decisions being made by leaders on some of the most important issues facing our state. Email Sarah: