MOSS POINT — The day he’s sworn in to the state House, Jeramey Anderson of Moss Point will turn 22.
Mississippi’s youngest legislator will be balancing education with legislation — he’s finishing his final year at Tulane University’s Gulf Coast campus in Biloxi, where he is studying homeland security and public relations.
The dean is very supportive and the university plans to work with him online from January to August, while the Legislature is in session, Anderson told The Sun Herald.
“I’m going to do what needs to be done,” he said. “The people of this district come first and I will manage the two.”
Anderson defeated former Moss Point Mayor Aneice Liddell with nearly 61 percent of the vote on Tuesday to win the District 110 seat vacated by Billy Broomfield. Liddell had the local Democratic Party’s backing, even though Anderson led the five candidates in the Nov. 5 primary.
“The people had … voted against my opponent and for the party to portray, I guess, its own agenda against the people, in my opinion, was very undemocratic,” he said.
He said he’ll be listening to area residents. During his campaign, he said, they always had ideas of how to deal with issues =they brought up.
“My goal is to bring all these concerns together and all these solutions together and sort out the best way to fix the problems we’re facing,” he said. “My vote is going to be the vote of my constituents, not myself.”
Anderson got interested in politics as a sophomore at Moss Point High School, and was class president for three years. He sees education — and getting more money for it — as a top issue.
“We focus too highly on standardized testing,” he said. “We teach students to memorize the answers to specific questions and ideas, but what we don’t teach them is how is they got those answers. We need to get back to the foundation of understanding why things are what they are.”
After graduating from Moss Point in 2010, he attended Pearl River Community College on a soccer scholarship and earned an associate degree in criminal justice.
Learning to navigate the mostly Republican state Legislature as a freshmen Democrat will be an education in itself.
Dirk Dedeaux, who was 22 when he was elected and 23 when he was sworn in to the House in 1996, had some advice.
“The legislative process is a learning process,” he said.
Dedeaux, who narrowly lost an election for a fourth term in 2012, compared committee assignments to college courses.
“There’s so much you have to become familiar with to be knowledgeable about the system to be able to pass judgment on the issues that are before you,” he said. “My advice would be to devote a great number of hours to learning the process and learning the subject matter.”