Three candidates vie for Senate District 37 seat

Published 12:04 am Friday, July 29, 2011

NATCHEZ — The three Senate District 37 hopefuls know there will be a lot of work involved in the job, but each candidate said he or she couldn’t wait to get started if elected Aug. 2.

Bob Dearing

A lot of exciting times are ahead for Southwest Mississippi, Dearing said, and he wants to continue to be a part of it.

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Dearing has been serving in the senate since 1980, and his experience qualifies him for the job, Dearing said.

“I think one of the most important things is to be a good listener,” he said. “I’ve learned that it’s important to return your phone calls, and nowadays to answer your e-mails. I’ve learned that the other 51 members of the senate are basically just like I am as far as representing their senatorial district, and I want to be a quote-unquote team player.”

Some of the biggest responsibilities of the job are making sure the state has a balanced budget each year, he said, as well as introducing issues important to the people he represents.

Stephen Oglesby

Oglesby said while he can’t create jobs, he could get out of his hometown of Meadville and go to Jackson and attract industries to Adams County.

“I’ll vote the constituents way, and I just want to go (to Jackson) and represent the people we have here and their desires,” he said. “I believe a lot of politicians have gone to Jackson for political reasons and political reasons only.”

However, Oglesby said, he would listen to his constituents and use common sense when voting.

“I’ll represent the people instead of myself,” he said. “I certainly won’t go (to Jackson) for my own personal benefits, I’ll go up there for this area’s benefits.”

Oglesby said his forestry degree from Louisiana Tech University and the fact that he won’t promote a personal agenda qualify him for the job.

Oglesby currently works in logging in private construction and with Allstate Land and Timber.

Melanie Sojourner

Improving the economy is high on Sojourner’s list of priorities, she said.

“I’m a sixth generation resident of Adams County, and I moved away to pursue a career,” she said. “I returned home to find our economy failing compared to where it was when I moved away.”

Sojourner said she wants to improve Adams County so that Natchez would attract her children and others to stay, if that’s what they decide they want to do.

Because she is a working professional and has children in school, she said, she’s very in tune with Adams County residents.

“I’ve spent my life working in public service oriented positions, and I’m very excited and energetic and looking forward to getting in and doing what we need to do to move Natchez and Southwest Mississippi forward.”

Sojourner said some of the primary job duties would be helping to make sure Mississippi laws provide for a favorable business environment for small business growth. With that, she said, it’s important to make sure the government doesn’t overstep its boundaries.

“We have to make sure we limit government and we keep government regulations to a minimum and allow people to make business choices, and that’s one of the key things that helps provide for favorable business climates to improve jobs in the economy,” she said.