Coroner hopefuls tout experience

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 14, 2003

Experience and budget cuts are among the issues the three coroner candidates are running on for Tuesday’s primary election.

Incumbent James Lee and challenger Rosie Sullivan will face off in the democratic primary while a third candidate, John Pullen, will not be on the ballot for the primary election because he is running as an independent. His name will only appear on the general election ballot.

James Lee

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Incumbent James Lee said he is running on his seven years of experience as a coroner &045;&045; nearly seven years, with the three years he interned under the Pike County coroner and now as his four-year term ends.

Lee said the coroner’s office has made plenty of progress in the past three-and-a-half years. &uot;I made a promise to the citizens of Adams County we will make a difference in the coroner’s office, and I have,&uot; Lee said.

Along with this, Lee has spent 23 years as a health care provider, is a Mississippi certified coroner and is a certified respiratory therapist &045;&045; nationally and in Mississippi and Louisiana.

Lee said he has done a

&uot;tremendous amount of counseling to people that have lost loved ones&uot; in his 22 years as a pastor and &uot;that carries over to his job as coroner&uot; since the coroner not only deals with victims but also their families.

&uot;I’m there to help the people in times of bereavement,&uot; Lee said.

Rosie Sullivan

Rosie Sullivan said she has always been interested in the office of coroner, and that is why she ran previously and is running again. Sullivan said she sees the coroner’s office as an extension of her profession &045;&045; nursing.

Sullivan said she has many qualifications for the job. She has been a registered nurse for 27 years in emergency and intensive care. Also, she has served as a deputy coroner in the past.

She said she is a very professional individual and feels she has the compassion for the job.

&uot;When you look at tragedy, I think I would be the individual to not only serve in that capacity but be a benefit to the families,&uot; Sullivan said.

Sullivan said she works well with all the physicians in the community and the law enforcement agencies, two sets of people the coroner works closely with.

But Sullivan is not only concentrating on her experience as a qualification for the job but feels her knowledge of budgets can help the citizens of Adams County. &uot;I can make a lot of cuts that can benefit the taxpayers,&uot; Sullivan said. Sullivan had two ideas already in mind &045;&045; using the county vehicle for business purposes only and using her own cell phone and beepers instead of making the county pay for them.

John Pullen

John Pullen said the main issues in the coroner’s race are money and cutting costs.

Pullen said he has medical experience from when he served in the Army, being attached to medical units when he served. But he said since the coroner is not a medical examiner, medical experience is not the most important thing in the coroner’s race.

Pullen said the most important thing for Adams County is for the coroner to cut costs.

First, Pullen said he would shut down the coroner’s office downtown and move it to his house, like coroners used to do.

Also, he said the coroner’s vehicle would be parked at his house and only used when responding to a call if he is elected. Pullen said it is important to not raise taxes on the people of Adams County, and cutting costs will help the county prevent tax increases.

&uot;You cannot raise taxes on people that don’t have jobs,&uot; Pullen said.

Pullen also said he would cut down on the number of autopsies in the county, only asking for an autopsy when necessary. And, if the coroner handled a case of a person from a parish or another county, the body would be taken back to that county or parish for an autopsy so Adams County would not pay bills for residents of other places.

A second priority for Pullen is to re-establish a relationship with Concordia Parish.

In addition to budget cuts, Pullen said he would release quarterly reports from the coroner’s office to show the number of deaths in the county and the amount of money the coroner’s office has spent.