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Wife of Miss. governor joins Community Bank board

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Deborah Bryant, the wife of Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, is now serving on the board of directors for privately held Community Bank of Mississippi.

The bank announced Thursday that she was elected to the board March 21.

The board had 15 members, and Deborah Bryant became the 16th, said Tony Sims, marketing director for Community Bancshares, Inc., the parent company of Community Bank. He said she is one of three women on the board. He said no elected officials serve on the board.

All of the board members, including Deborah Bryant, are compensated for their work, Sims said, but information about the amount of compensation was not immediately available.

A spokeswoman for the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration said Friday that a search of electronic records showed Community Bank currently has no large contracts with state government.

Gov. Bryant told The Associated Press this week that his wife had retired from St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson after about 39 years in quality assurance and medical records. He said she's doing "community outreach," including working with charitable organizations, for Community Bank.

The governor has been sharply criticized for saying Tuesday at a forum sponsored by The Washington Post that American education outcomes had declined since "both parents started working, and the mom is in the work place." He later told the AP he meant families feel pressured because both parents are busy.

Gov. Bryant also acknowledged in the AP interview that his wife had worked while their two children were growing up, and that his mother had taken jobs in a bakery and as a grocery store cashier when he and his two brothers were young. The governor's father was a diesel mechanic.

The Republican governor took office in January 2012. Although it has been unusual for governors' wives in Mississippi to have outside employment during their husbands' time in office, Deborah Bryant told the AP last year that she kept working because she enjoyed her job at St. Dominic. She has an associate's degree in medical records from Hinds Community College.

Deborah Bryant is honorary chairwoman of the 2013 Susan G. Komen Central Mississippi Race for the Cure and honorary chairwoman of Volunteer Mississippi, according to a Community Bank news release.

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