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I talked with politician with a mind of his own

September 30th, 2011 Comments off

Toeing the party line has gotten to be the way we do business these days.
But it was refreshing to hear there are some, at least one, that is bucking the trend to follow along like a herd of cattle.
I was talking to someone this week who is running for office. He was giving me the general breakdown that he feels good about where he is in the campaign and that he thinks he can win when Nov. 8 rolls around.
The thing that was refreshing, though, is that when his party tried to manhandle him into running his campaign in the same cookie-cutter format it was having the rest of its candidates run, he said no.
Apparently, the dinosaurs in charge were not particularly happy with his decision.
“When all is said and done,” he said. “I have to make decisions based on the overall good of my district. If I start cowtowing now to the will of the established system, we will never move forward, as a district and then as a state and a society.”
He is absolutely right.
One-size fits all really doesn’t.
What works in New York doesn’t necessarily work in Mississippi and what works in Gulfport doesn’t necessarily work in Greenville or Hattiesburg or Columbus.
We need more people in office who will think for themselves and make decisions based on the good of the people and the state and not, specifically, (Dean Kirby) on the impact said decisions might make on their colleagues during the next election cycle.

Contact Mississippi Business Journal editor Ross Reily at ross.reily@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1018

I don’t want no Democrat coroner touching my dead body

November 5th, 2009 Comments off

The reason for party affiliation in local politics, particularly in Mississippi, serves no purpose whatsoever.

The only thing I can figure is that it gives the people holding office an opportunity to rub shoulders with state and national politicians. Otherwise, there are very few issues on the local level that hold any importance in regard to political affiliation.

All local candidates are for education. They are for police and fire protection and good roads.

There is no political dividing line on those issues.

So, when a bunch of elected officials showed up in Jackson to announce their intentions to switch to the Republican Party, it made me scratch my old bald head.

There was a sherriff, a district attorney, a supervisor, a justice court judge, a constable, an alderman and a coroner.

Forgive me, but what in the name of Sam Hill does politics have to do with these positions, particularly in rural Simpson County?

Is there anyone out there that is concerned about the party affiliation of the local coroner?

“Hey honey, if I start to have a heart attack, make sure to take me to the next county, because I don’t want no Democrat coroner working on my dead body”

Give me a break.

Then there are judges.

Judges of any kind shouldn’t have political affiliation. Isn’t that a given?

And when supervisors are getting potholes filled in your area, make sure the Republicans get their roads fixed first; is that the way it works?

The recent announcement by the Simpson County officials is weak and self-serving, at best.

At worst, it shows they are worried more about political affiliation rather than serving the people of their community.

Issues the same in Indianola

October 25th, 2009 Comments off

Issues are issues no matter where you end up in Mississippi.
That’s one of the things I learned last week while moderating a mayoral debate in Indianola.
This Sunflower County town in the heart of the Mississippi Delta is battling the same problems that everyone is battle whether there or West Point or Natchez or Pascagoula.
Indianola needs better streets and schools, safer neighborhoods and more businesses.
The residents seem to be wanting a change of leadership, and they came to the Sunflower County Courthouse looking for answers from four candidates vying for the Democratic nomination.
Mayor Arthur Marble has been in office for the last eight years and is fighting to keep his office.
The challengers are a local businessman (Steve Rosenthal), a retired military officer (John Matthews) and a retired businessman (Clanton Beamon).
All of this came the same day that Alan Canning Company in Sunflower County announced that 140 jobs would be eliminated.
That was big news as the vast majority of the jobs are filled by folks from Indianola.
Sunflower County already has an unemployment rate of 11.8 percent, and the loss of another 140 jobs will be a tough pill to swallow.
Yet, none of the candidates really had an answer about what to do about unemployment.
“We have to try and recruit more business to town,” one candidate said.
“We need to bring businesses like a Red Lobster, something Greenville and Greenwood don’t have,” another said.
“We have to look for businesses that are willing to relocate to Indianola,” still another said.
Heard those answers before?
That could have been at the mayoral debate in most any small town in Mississippi.
But no one had a solution.
We need better schools, they all said.
Another said he will hold the school board accountable.
Still another said parents need to get more involved.
Yet, no specific answers.
When it came to the tax base for Indianola, none of the candidates new the exact number for sales tax numbers.
They all had a general idea, but facing uncertain times, no one had really done their homework.
They all want to work with other communities to bring more jobs to the area.
But there were no specifics.
Likely, there are two candidates that have a better understanding of the issues than the others, but, like so many communities in our great state, a specific plan needs to be in place.