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Southwest Mississippi Legislators: Rep. Mims credits family for success

Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat — Rep. Sam Mims.
Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat — Rep. Sam Mims.

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories profiling the legislators who represent southwest Mississippi.

NATCHEZ — District 97 Rep. Sam Mims says he credits his father for the interest Mims took in politics early in life.

Mims’ father, Sam Mims IV, was city administrator for the City of McComb for nearly 20 years. The position was appointed, Mims said, but “very political.”

“I will have to give him all the credit,” Mims said. “I admired how he was able to do his job and be a true public servant.

Mims said his mother, Betty Sue, who was heavily involved in the community, taught Mims how important it was to give back to his community.

Mims graduated from McComb High School and received a bachelor’s degree in business from Delta State University in 1994.

Mims said he remembers watching a presidential debate among Democrat Bill Clinton, Republican George H.W. Bush and independent Ross Perot during the 1992 presidential election campaign.

“I’ll never forget watching that and figuring out and learning which side I believed in and what approach I think is the wrong way,” he said.

While in college, Mims drove from Cleveland to Greenville to hear George H.W. Bush speak at a campaign event.

“The political bug was happening, and then I was getting very interested in politics,” he said.

In 1994, after graduating college, Mims moved to Atlanta, where he was employed with a storm door manufacturer until he returned to McComb in 1999. Mims is currently a marketing representative with a health care company.

Mims, a Republican, was first elected to the House in 2003 and is serving third term.

“When we campaigned in 2003, it was just my wife and our two young children,” he said. “Many people would say, ‘Who is helping you campaign, and who is helping with the decision-making?’ It was truly my wife and children. It started with just a few of us, but we campaigned very hard.”

At the beginning of the 2012 legislative session, Mims was appointed chairman of the Public Health and Human Services Committee.  He also serves on the Appropriations, Conservation and Water Resources, Judiciary B committees.

Mims describes himself as “very conservative,” socially and fiscally.

“I believe we ought to have a very limited role in government, period,” he said.

Mims said he also believes in more individual responsibility and the promotion of family values.

“I think one problem we have is the lack of the family unit,” he said. “I think we have to get back to a day where families are taking responsibility for their actions, and mom and dad are taking responsibility for their family.”

Reflecting on his political career so far, Mims said he is proud of the 2004 tort reform legislation that was hard-fought. He is also proud of the establishment of the Office of Mississippi Physician Worforce and the rural scholarship programs for physicians and dentists, both of which address Mississippi’s medical service provider shortage.

It is a “tremendous privilege” serving the residents of southwest Mississippi, Mims said.

“My goal in all this is to try to make Mississippi a better place to live,” he said. “I think we’re heading in the right direction.”