State, district races round out ballot

Published 12:20 am Saturday, August 4, 2007

NATCHEZ — In addition to the nearly 50 candidates running for county positions, Tuesday’s primaries will also give voters a chance to choose statewide and district candidates.

If Sen. Bob M. Dearing (D) wins, this will be his 28th year in the legislature in Senate District 37.

“I will continue to represent the people with the pledge I have made since the first time I elected — I will represent you in a manner you expect and deserve,” Dearing said.

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Promoting a program that will four-lane highways in southwest Mississippi is a key goal of Dearing’s. He also would like to see Natchez’s port used to attract industry, he said.

If he’s reelected, Dearing, a Natchez insurance agent, will be top dog in the senate, which would be good for Adams County, he said.

“I’d be number one in seniority, and that’s important,” Dearing said. “When you have seniority in any branch of government, a lot more things can happen for your district.”

Dearing’s opponent, William “Bill” Guy (D), wants to tackle the problems of drugs, education, taxes and jobs.

“The main reason you all should vote for me in Adams County is that I’m going to bring your jobs back to Adams County,” Guy said. “I want to coordinate with other counties around us and have a partnership and go out and solicit industry.”

A practicing attorney, Guy served in the state House of Representatives from 1968 to 1976 and in the Senate from 1976 to 1980.

“My opponent has been there (in the Senate) for 28 years, and I think someone else should have a try,” Guy said. “I think he’s a good man, but I think it’s time for a change.”

Rep. Angela Cockerham (D), District 96 is a practicing attorney in Magnolia who serves on the House’s Medicaid and Universities and Colleges committees, among others. She could not be contacted.

Her only opponent, Larry Lee (D) said his interest was in what the public wanted.

“Education is going to be my first priority,” Lee said. “I’m also looking at what I can do for the district form an economical standpoint.”

Healthcare, workers’ compensation and crime reduction also topped his list, he said. Industry could also improve the area, he said.

“Crime is going up, and I think a lot of that comes from the fact that we don’t have a lot of economic opportunities here,” he said.

A newcomer to the state race, Lee said he has always been interested in politics.

Lee currently works as a Mississippi Department of Corrections compliance officer at the prison in Woodville, making sure MDOC policies are followed.

Senate District 38 incumbent Kelvin Butler (D) said he wanted to continue the relationship he had with his constituents.

“Even though I only represent 8 percent of Adams County, I feel I represent all of Adams County,” Butler said. “When you do things for one area, it affects everybody.”

Butler, from Magnolia, said industry was top on his list of priorities.

“We’ve got plenty of land in southwest Mississippi,” he said. “We’ve just got to join together to show people that we want that kind of a plant (like Tupelo’s Toyota plant) down here.”

Butler said he has proven himself in his first term.

“Everything I said I would do, I’ve done it,” he said. “I worked hard to build a relationship and let people know what I’m dong and why I’m doing it.”

Butler’s sole opponent, Spencer Nash (D), has considered running for the position for a number of years, he said.

“I’m at a point in my life where I could retire and run for this office,” Nash said.

With a history in grant writing, teaching and healthcare, Nash said he thought he had a good background for the job.

“I can do a better job of representing the people,” he said. “What it’s all about is improving the equality of life for the people.

“The key issue is I love people. I’m a people person. When you care about people, you do what’s right for them.”

Other state races include:

Governor: Haley Barbour (R), Frederick L. Jones (R), William Bond Compton Jr. (D), John Arthur Eaves Jr. (D), Elmer “Louis” Fondren (D) and Fred T. Smith (D)

Lt. Governor: James R. “Jamie” Franks Jr. (D), Phil Bryant (R), Frederick L. Jones (R)

Secretary of State: Delbert Hosemann (R), Mike Lott (R), Jeffrey Rupp (R), Gene Sills (R), Robert H. “Rob” Smith (D), Jabari A. Toins (D), John O. Windsor

Attorney General: Al Hopkins (R), Jim Hood (D)

State Auditor: Todd Brand (D), Jacob Ray (D), Mike Sumrall (D), Stacey E. Pickering (R)

State Treasurer: Shawn O’Hara (D), Tate Reeves (R)

Commissioner of Agriculture & Commerce: Ricky L. Cole (D), Max Phillips (R), Lester Spell (R)

Commissioner of Insurance: Gary Anderson (D), George dale (D), Michael Chaney (R), Ronnie D. English (R)

Southern District Public Service Commissioner: James M. Buckhaults (D), Mike Collier (D), Leonard Bentz (R), Ray “Two Bits” Crawford

Southern District Transportation Commissioner: Wayne Brown (D), Paul B. Stewart (D), Chad Toney (D), Larry Benefield (R), Dwayne R. Bonner (R), E. Spencer Garrett(R), Arlin Regan (R)