Dearing gets Senate appointments

Published 1:55 am Saturday, January 12, 2008

NATCHEZ — New Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant made his Senate committee appointments Friday and Sen. Bob Dearing, D-Natchez, found himself in familiar territory. Dearing was appointed to the same seven committees he served on last term. And just like last term, Dearing will head up the Oil, Gas and Other Minerals Committee.

“Those were the committees I requested from Lt. Gov. Bryan,” Dearing said. “He said he would get the best people possible. He knew some would be upset and some would be happy and I’m happy.”

Dearing was also named to the Appropriations; Public Health and Welfare; Insurance; Highways and Transportation; Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks; and Economic Development committees.

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Dearing said the Oil, Gas and Other Minerals Committee was by far the most important to his district, which includes Adams, Amite, Franklin and Pike counties.

“A lot of bills we look at come from the oil and gas commission,” he said. “All ideas for bills that deal with oil, gas and other minerals come through our committee.”

Along with the chairmanship appointment, Dearing said he also expects to be named to the Energy Council, which will deal with several energy issues, including nuclear energy, oil and gas, electric energy and environmental issues dealing with energy. Dearing has served on the Energy Council for the past 12 years.

In a press release, Bryant said he made the assignments based on what he thought was best for maximizing the Senate’s ability to make positive changes.

“There are so many capable leaders in the Mississippi Senate it was encouraging to see just how many senators said they would serve wherever they were assigned — to rise above their own self interests for the people of Mississippi,” Bryant said in the release. “I think the people of this state are more interested in what we accomplish than what position we hold.”

Sen. Kelvin Butler, D-Magnolia, who also serves Adams County, was appointed to the Business and Finance; Finance; Highways and Transportation; Judiciary A; Municipalities; State Library; and Local and Private committees. Butler will serve as chairman of the Local and Private Committee.

Dearing, a 29-year Senate veteran, said anything from local governments, such as a tourism tax hike, will come through Butler’s Local and Private Committee.

“Our area did very well,” Dearing said. “ I was very pleased. I thought the lieutenant governor’s appointments were very well given out”

Newly elected speaker of the House, Billy McCoy, is expected to make committee appointments for the House of Representatives next week.