Mims hopes to create legislative team to help Southwest Mississippi

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 9, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; When Sam Mims goes to Jackson in January to represent House District 97, he intends to be a team player.

In fact, creating a legislative caucus to serve the interests of Southwest Mississippi is a priority Mims took time to talk about during a telephone interview from his home in McComb on Saturday morning.

&uot;Northeast Mississippi has a voice in the legislature.

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The Gulf Coast has a voice. We need a voice in Southwest Mississippi, too,&uot; Mims said.

Mims, a Republican, defeated Democratic opponent Derrick Dahl, capturing over 60 percent of the vote in the general election. Since then, he has been busy making contacts throughout the region.

&uot;I’ve talked to members of the Natchez-Adams Chamber of Commerce and to Wirt Peterson at the Southwest Planning and Development District.

I’ve spoken with most of the elected and appointed officials in Southwest Mississippi. I’m excited about working with them all,&uot; Mims said.

And the married father of two has no problem reaching across party lines to build that coalition.

&uot;I’m the lone Republican from Southwest Mississippi, but I represent parts of six different counties in the region. I want to work with them (Democrats),&uot; Mims said.

A bipartisan effort in the legislature will be critical to rebuilding the district’s economy &045; hurt by the loss of over 1,000 jobs in the area timber industry during the past year.

&uot;It’s a matter of finding those industries and jobs that are willing to come here. The governor-elect has made it clear that he’s committed to helping,&uot; Mims said.

A Delta State University graduate with a degree in marketing, the 31 year-old Mims worked five years in sales for Croft, Inc. and will soon be employed as a sales representative for Southwest Health Systems in McComb.

&uot;I realize what it takes to make a paycheck and pay the insurance and buy the kids dresses. I understand what people are going through,&uot; he said.

To stimulate small business growth, Mims wants to cap non-economic damage awards at $250,000 and make some changes to the state’s product liability laws.

&uot;If a hardware store owner sells a product made by a corporation in New Jersey, then he shouldn’t be liable for damages arising from the use of that product. Tort reform is an essential piece of legislation,&uot; he said.

Despite the tough economic times, Mims is optimistic about that a recovery will come.

&uot;The people of the region are its greatest strength. Even in Adams County, where so many jobs were lost, the people are still ready to work and they have committed leaders,&uot; Mims said.

Mims will join Gov.-elect Haley Barbour, U. S. Rep. Chip Pickering and other area officials at the annual dinner of the Natchez-Adams Chamber of Commerce on Dec. 4.