Politics Blog


April 14, 2015

Two Charter Schools in NOLA Closing

By Todd Stauffer

Looking for evidence that charter schools don't offer a panacea for education because they're "run-like-a-business" solutions for education?

The churning waters of economic reality are bubbling over in New Orleans this spring; two schools, Miller-McCoy and Lagniappe Academies are both facing failure of their management, resulting in a great deal of turmoil for parents and students.

Interesting in the Lagniappe Academies case, the problem seems to be so dire that they may have to close the school early this year to "save money."

“I’m going to suggest that the school closes post state testing to save…money,” Bishop said.

Bishop said he recently learned the board may not have been receiving truthful information about the school’s finances and other matters from leadership. McCormick assumed leadership after CEO Kendall Petri and Chief Operating Officer Ninh Tran left mid-March. He said ending the year early could save the organization money and give the leadership the time needed to shut down the campus.

It sounds like the plan now is for management to give up completely and hand the school over to teachers.

The room broke out in applause when the board voted to put teachers in charge. Many members of the audience also voted ‘aye’ when the board voted on a motion calling for McCormick to resign by Friday.

Now, clearly, New Orleans has even greater challenges than Jackson when it comes to its schools and the failed school district they're trying to piece back together. But it does seem to offer some interesting case-studies for what happens when charters implode.

March 26, 2015

Yarber Pulls A HOC-Style Trick From His Sleeve, Declares State of Emergency

By R.L. Nave

In Season 3 of House of Cards, the Netflix dark political drama, President Frank Underwood devises a plan to circumvent Congress and fund his sweeping jobs plan dubbed America Works.

The plan involved Underwood's declaring that soaring unemployment created a state of emergency, which let him tap into the coffers of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide jobs for out-of-work Americans.

Not saying Mayor Tony Yarber is Frank Underwood, but I wouldn't be surprised if HOC has been marathon-streaming on the Yarber family Roku in the past few weeks considering the announcement Yarber made this afternoon.

During a press conference in his office, Yarber, said that his administration has been "talking out loud as a team about declaring a state of emergency" for the city's infrastructure woes.

"Over the last 24 hours, we've seen more breaks than we'd like to see in our water mains," Yarber said.

The declaration enables the city "to use a different form of procurement in order to get the supplies and resources we need," the mayor added.

The winter weather and heavy rains of the past few weeks likely caused shifts in the soils that created potholes and weakened already brittle and deteriorating underground pipes.

Yarber stressed the quality of the water coming out of the city's water-treatment plant remains high, but some residents might see boil-water notices, which the city is legally required to issue when busted pipes cause drops in water pressure. The Red Cross and Salvation Army could be called upon to provide bottled water to area dormitories for students who cannot boil their water, Yarber said.

Yarber added that Gov. Phil Bryant and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality support the declaration.

Council President De'Keither Stamps said he and his fellow council members are getting up to speed on the emergency-declaration processes.

"If the governor is supporting this, they've obviously identified resources," Stamps told the Jackson Free Press.

In recent weeks, the city council has expressed frustration with Yarber for not providing final budget numbers for fiscal-year 2013-2014 so that budget writers have a clear picture of the city's fiscal health.

Council Vice-President Melvin Priester Jr., who presides over the council's Budget Committee, said Yarber's declaration put the city in unchartered territory and he wants to see the details of the plan.

"If you can declare an emergency about aging infrastructure when there hasn’t been a tornado or hurricane or breakdown at the water-treatment plant, and magically be able to draw from a big pool of money with no strings attached, every municipality in Mississippi would have done it," Priester said.


March 18, 2015

Lt. Gov. Reeves Blasts Dems for Blocking GOP Tax Breaks

By R.L. Nave

The following is a press release from the office of Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves:

JACKSON – One day after nearly half of Senate Democrats joined all Senate Republicans in passing the largest tax cut in state history, House Democrats voted almost unanimously to kill the same bill.

“Fifty-two House Democrats believe they can spend your money better than the 1.23 million Mississippians that this bill would have benefited,” Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said. “The Senate passed this bill in a large, bipartisan vote in an effort to simplify the tax code and encourage long-term economic growth. Hopefully, a few House Democrats will hear the cries of the people back home that need a little more money in their pockets to provide for their families.”

On Tuesday, the Senate voted 40-11 to amend House Bill 1629 to include additional income tax cuts proposed by Speaker Philip Gunn plus relief for small businesses proposed under Lt. Gov. Reeves’ Taxpayer Pay Raise Act.

The $555 million tax relief plan earned praise from Americans for Tax Reform. It would have:

· Eliminated the 3 percent and 4 percent tax brackets levied on income, · Reduced the overall tax burden on small business owners, and · Removed the investment penalty, or franchise tax, on businesses’ property and capital.

Eliminating the franchise tax alone would have grown the state’s GDP by $282 million and added 3,514 jobs within 10 years, according to a Mississippi State University study.

February 27, 2015

Whitwell is In for MS01 Congress Race

By R.L. Nave

Former Jackson Ward 1 City Councilman Quentin Whitwell will run for the seat left vacant by the recent death of U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee.

He wrote on Facebook: "With the outpouring of support and the blessing from my family, I am pleased to announce that I am running for US Congress. As a native of Southaven and current Oxford resident, I am ready to run a strong campaign. My business background and legal training distinguishes my candidacy from the field. I hope you will join me in fighting to bring America back to its finest moment!"

Whitwell left the Jackson City Council in October to move back to Oxford so that his son could be trained under tennis coaches at the University of Mississippi.

February 26, 2015

Joce Pritchett, Cristen Hemmins to Take Aim at GOP Incumbents

By R.L. Nave

Well-known in progressive political circles, Cristen Hemmins and Joce Prtichett today announced that they would run for elected office.

In 2012, Jackson Free Press readers opined that Hemmins should seek public office. Hemmins, chairwoman of the Lafayette County Democratic Party, will challenge state Sen. Gray Tollison, R-Oxford, for the Senate seat he has held since 1996. Tollison, a one-time Democrat who switched over to the GOP in 2012, had been eyeing late U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee's House seat but announced this week that he wouldn't run for Congress.

Joce Pritchett, an engineer who lives in Jackson with her wife, Carla Webb, and their children will make an announcement Friday at the Capitol that she will run for state auditor. So far, two Republicans have announced intentions to run, incumbent Stacey Pickering and Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler. Charles E. Graham has also said he would run as a Democrat; Pritchett did not indicate which party primary she would run in.

Pritchett and Webb are plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit challenging Mississippi's same-sex marriage ban. That case is pending in a federal appeals court.

February 24, 2015

Familiar Jackson Faces Still Lining Up for State Democratic Primary

By R.L. Nave

Ahead of the Friday deadline to qualify for state and county offices, several Jacksonians have qualified as Democrats in several races. That includes some old faces from local politics trying their hands at new, higher seats.

Bruce Burton of Jackson has qualified to run for the Central District seat on the Public Service Commission; Democratic state Rep. Cecil Brown has been actively campaigning for the seat for months.

Robert Amos, who has run for Jackson City Council and mayor, will compete for the Mississippi Department of Transportation's Central District post.

Democratic Party records show that Stan Alexander, a former Hinds County prosecutor now with the attorney general's office, has qualified to seek the Hinds County district attorney's seat. DA Robert Smith as of this morning has not qualified for reelection, party information shows.

Plavise Patterson, a businesswoman and community activist who ran for Jackson city council's Ward 5 in 2013, has qualified to run in Mississippi House District 69 along with incumbent Alyce Clarke. Corinthian Sanders, another perennial name on local ballots, will run for House District 72 against incumbent Kimberly Campbell.

And Charles E. Graham of Jackson qualified to contend for state auditor in the Democratic primary as well. Republicans in that race include incumbent Stacey Pickering and Madison Mary Hawkins Butler.

February 13, 2015

City: Public Works Director Orders Temporary Halt to New Water Meter Installations

By R.L. Nave

From the office of Mayor Tony Yarber:

City of Jackson Public Works Director Kishia Powell has issued a stop work order to Siemens, halting the installation of new city water meters. Powell also postponed the start of a new online billing system that was set to go-live this weekend.

The action comes after the discovery that Siemens had installed at least seven meters that were not configured to properly measure water usage, resulting in unusually high water bills. A review found that the company had installed gallon meters. The city measures water usage in cubic feet. Those meters have been changed out and adjustments are being made to the customers’ accounts.

The company must provide the city with an approved corrective action plan before installation work can resume. Siemens was awarded a $90 million contract in 2012 to install a new water meter system in Jackson.

A media availability with Powell is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13, in the Mayor’s Ceremonial Office at City Hall.

The city has been responding to customer complaints about higher water bills. In many cases, higher bills result from a more accurate reading of properly installed meters.

“While we believe there may be other gallon meters in the system that are contributing to the high bills, it has been found that some of the high bills have stemmed from leaks on private property,” Powell said. “Once those leaks are identified and fixed, adjustments are made to the accounts.”

Customers with questions about their bills are asked to contact the Water and Sewer Business Administration at 601-960-2000.

February 5, 2015

Jarvis Dortch to Run for House Seat

By R.L. Nave

Jarvis Dortch, a health-policy expert and advocate, said today that he will run for the Mississippi House of Representatives.

"There are a number of policy concerns that I hope to address during this campaign. Our state's failures in healthcare, education, and wages are all issues that keep too many Mississippians in poverty," Dortch, who is running as a Democrat, wrote in the announcement.

"To be completely honest, many of our local legislators are not doing the job of engaging the public and truly representing our needs. Our problem isn't that we have poor people that aren't working hard, but we have poor leadership working against them."

Dortch is competing in District 66, which Democratic Rep. Cecil Brown now serves. In the last round of redistricting, however, Brown's district was combined with that of Republican Rep. Bill Denny. Brown is running for Public Service Commissioner from the Central District. The new District 66 serves south Jackson, Byram, Terry, Raymond and Utica.

"Unless you have your own personal lobbyist, the game is rigged against you. And there are way too many legislators willing to play the game. I'm not naive but I'm also not so cynical that I don't believe it's worth fighting for change," Dortch wrote.

A previous version of this story misstated that Jarvis Dortch is running against Rep. Bill Denny, R-Jackson.


December 16, 2014

Jackson Advocate: Kenny Stokes Going After His Old Ward 3 Council Seat After All

By R.L. Nave

Tonight, the Jackson City Council is scheduled to discuss a date for a special election to replace former Ward 3 Councilwoman LaRita Cooper-Stokes, who will be heading to the county's judges' bench.

The Jackson Advocate, one of two local newspapers highlighting news of interest to the African-American community, reported that Cooper-Stokes' husband, Kenneth Stokes, will indeed run to recapture the Ward 3 seat he held until 2011.

There had been wide speculation that Kenny Stokes, who represents District 5 on the Hinds County Board of Supervisors, would run for his old seat after having his power on the board greatly reduced in the past year.

Stokes, whose mother recently passed away, told the Advocate that he wanted to keep the seat in the family because of such traditions in the near-west-side ward, such as the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration. His mother blessed the decision before her death, he said.

"We've got to continue taking to the streets to encourage people to stop the violence. And it's not a little thing that they can't afford to to pay their water bills. Our people are struggling just to get by," Stokes told the Advocate.

With a Stokes get-out-the-vote machine that should be studied in political sciences, the announcement is likely to make Kenny Stokes the front-runner in the field.

Albert Wilson, who ran for the seat in 2013 and competed in the special election for mayor this year, reportedly already has campaign signs up.

Another question mark is Pam Greer, the founder of a nonprofit that promotes violence prevention and supports families of violent-crime victims. Greer also ran for the Ward 3 post in 2013 and has remained a vocal critic of city government on social media. She told the Jackson Free Press that is fasting and would make up her mind when the fast concludes.

Going back to the referendum on the 1-percent sales tax, 11 elections have taken place somewhere in the city of Jackson, since January 2013.

December 15, 2014

Hinds GOP Plays 'Obama Card' Against Carson in Ward 1 Race

By R.L. Nave

A mailer is going around northeast Jackson attempting to link Dorsey Carson, a Ward 1 Jackson City Council candidate, to President Barack Obama.

Obama, an African American Democrat, is very unpopular among Mississippi Republicans.

The mailer, reportedly produced by the Hinds County Republican Party, depicts a photoshopped Obama with his arm around Carson even though the color of the president's hands in the photo don't match.

The Ward 1 race concludes with a runoff between Carson and Republican investment manager Ashby Foote tomorrow, Dec. 16, and is officially nonpartisan. Carson is a Democrat who contributed to Obama's election campaign and ran for the state Legislature as a Democrat, both facts that the direct mailer point out.

The push card also claims that Carson "criticized Mississippi to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder" over the state's redistricting plan. In addition, the flyer purports that Carson donated $500 to former Congressman Travis Childers over Sen. Thad Cochran in the recent U.S. Senate race.


December 11, 2014

LaRita Cooper-Stokes Resigns. What's Next for Ward 3?

By R.L. Nave

As expected, Ward 3 Councilwoman LaRita Cooper-Stokes last night tendered her resignation from the Jackson City Council to take a seat on the bench as a county judge.

Cooper-Stokes' departure makes the second mid-term resignation of a sitting council member in less than four months. In August, Ward 1 Councilman Quentin Whitwell left unexpectedly to move his family to Oxford. Whitwell's replacement will be determined by a runoff on Dec.16 between attorney Dorsey Carson and investment advisor Ashby Foote.

Now that Cooper-Stokes has officially vacated the seat, the currently five-member council will have to set a special election for Ward 3, which could happen as early as the next regular meeting on Tuesday Dec. 16, the day of the Ward 1 runoff.

Ward 3's special election could prove very entertaining.

Albert Wilson, who ran for the seat in 2013 and competed in the special election for mayor this year, reportedly already has campaign signs up.

Another question mark is Pam Greer, the founder of a nonprofit that promotes violence prevention and supports families of violent-crime victims. Greer also ran for the Ward 3 post in 2013 and has remained a vocal critic of city government on social media.

The most interesting possibility is that Cooper-Stokes' husband, Hinds County District 5 Supervisor Kenneth Stokes could seek his old seat. Stokes held the seat until he joined the county board in 2011; Cooper-Stokes replaced him in 2012 after a contentious special election that wound up in court. Stokes hasn't been very happy on the relatively quiet county board lately and could want to go back the higher profile city council.

Going back to the referendum on the 1-percent sales tax, 11 elections have taken place somewhere in the city of Jackson, since January 2013.

November 13, 2014

Roger Wicker to Lead NRSC, but For How Long?

By R.L. Nave

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, the junior senator from Mississippi, will now be in charge of keeping the Republican's newly won majority in the upper chamber of Congress.

Senate Republicans, who will hold a majority for the first time since 2006, picked Wicker over Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, the home state of the outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to lead the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

“I am thankful for the confidence and the support of my colleagues,” Wicker said in a statement released Thursday from his office. “I intend to roll up my sleeves immediately to ensure that we have the resources available to preserve our Republican majority. This Senate Republican leadership team is ready to go to bat for the American people, and I am proud to be a part of it.”

The role of the NRSC came into play during the Republican Senate primary in Mississippi this year. A media-buying firm that placed racially charged ads for a pro-Thad Cochran super PAC, All Citizens for Mississippi, was also used by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Some members of the Republican party, including U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, cried foul arguing that the NRSC should remain neutral in primary contests. Cochran went on to defeat his opponent, state Sen. Chris McDaniel of Laurel, in a run off and went on to win a seventh term in the general election.

By all accounts, Wicker will have his work cut out for him to keep the Senate from slipping back into the hands of Democrats in 2016 when several Republican seats are up for grabs in states where President Obama has done well the past two cycles.

If Democrats field a strong presidential candidate who can excite the base, Wicker's chairmanship could be short-lived.

November 10, 2014 | 1 comment

Reeves, Bryant Giving McCrory Donations to Charity

By R.L. Nave

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves will make a donation to a Mississippi charity in the amount his political campaign received from indicted Rankin County businessman Cecil McCrory.

McCrory was indicted last week along with former Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Christopher Epps in an alleged bribery and kickback scheme.

A former Rankin County Republican lawmaker turned businessman specializing in corrections consulting, McCrory has donated $1,500 to Reeves over the years. Reeves will donate that amount to the Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi, his office said today. McCrory also contributed at least $1,300 to Gov. Phil Bryant, who told the Associated Press that he would give that sum to the Salvation Army.

Several other Republican elected officials have received similar donations from McCrory, including Public Service Commissioner Lynn Posey, Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall, Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney. Former Gov. Haley Barbour and former Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck also received contributions from McCrory as well.

A search of state campaign-finance records show that Epps made two contributions totaling $225 to Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, who appointed Epps to MDOC's top post in 2003.

November 4, 2014

5 Things I Wonder About this Election Day

By R.L. Nave
  1. What happened to Thad Cochran's black-vote turnout machine?

After the incumbent made it into a runoff against state Sen. Chris McDaniel, Cochran's campaign launched an all-out blitz aimed at getting African Americans who did not participate in the Democratic primary to vote in the GOP runoff. It worked then. But with the exception of a poorly attended rally in downtown Jackson and some ads in the Mississippi Link, Cochran isn't going as hard for blacks to show up at the polls today. Makes you go hmmmmm.

  1. What was Travis Childers thinking?

When he talked at the Neshoba County fair this summer about raising the minimum wage, equal pay for women and expanding health-care access, I thought those were solid populist issues that could appeal to traditional Democratic voters—blacks, women and young folks—as well as blue-collar whites. All he really needed to do was to go around the state hammering those three talking points into the heads of sensible people who'd tuned out the Cochran-McDaniel legal shenanigans. Childers didn't even need much money to do that. And as a successful businessman, could have driven around the state on his dime. Instead, he remained silent; his campaign ignored interview requests from reporters. And when it became clear that his opponent would be Cochran, all Childers wanted to do was talk about debates, which almost never works.

  1. Could there be a tea party 'Bradley Effect'?

When Tom Bradley, the first black mayor of Los Angeles, ran for governor of California in the 1980s, some polling organizations projected that he would win. After he lost, narrowly, the term "Bradley effect" came to describe where people tell polltakers they will support a minority candidate because it seems politically correct, but then vote for the white candidate in the booth. A lot of McDaniel supporters claims they won't vote for Cochran under any circumstance and are looking at Childers as viable alternative. I wonder, though, if we'll see some version of the Bradley Effect, where tea-partiers vote for the Republican Cochran, but tell people they cast a protest vote for Childers or another candidate.

  1. Why is Chuck C. Johnson so quiet?

Remember when Johnson, a California-based blogger, blew into Mississippi and got the whole state all a-twitter during the Republican Senate primary? Remember how local media spent weeks chasing anti-Cochran "stories" that Johnson broke on his website. Apparently, Johnson got bored with us and headed up to Ferguson, Mo., to write about the protests surrounding the shooting death of 18-year-old Mike Brown. After that, he got really interested in Ebola. So interested in fact that he was booted from Twitter for publishing the home address of a nurse who had worked with an Ebola patient. Considering his heavy involvement—some might even say influence—in #mssen, it's a mystery why has yet to weigh in McDaniel's once-and-for-all defeat at the Mississippi Supreme Court.

  1. Maybe Blacks should just vote in GOP primaries from now on

If Thad Cochran returns ...

October 9, 2014

Ashby Foote in Ward 1 Contest

By R.L. Nave

Ashby Foote sent the following verbatim news release:

Today, Ashby Foote announced his campaign for the Ward 1 Jackson City Council seat vacated by Quintin Whitwell.

“I want to make Jackson stronger: a stronger Jackson economy, better working infrastructure, and safer streets and communities,” said Foote, President of Vector Money Management, an investment advising firm he founded in 1988.

Foote continued:

“This isn’t about political aspirations. I’d never entertained the idea of running for office before now. This is about serving my neighbors and city. I love Jackson. My wife and I have made it our home for thirty years. We want Jackson to succeed and Jacksonians to prosper.”

“Jackson is a great city, but like many cities we face economic, infrastructure and crime challenges and it is not easy to simply shrug one’s shoulders and sit on the sideline. I believe my extensive background in finance and economics can bring value and private sector vision to the decision making process at City Hall.”

“I want Jackson to perform up to its economic potential. That takes leadership at the neighborhood and city level. Strong neighborhoods are crucial building blocks for successful cities. It requires reliable infrastructure. It requires safety for citizens and businesses; crime is an economic killer. But business safety is more than just crime. Jackson must be hospitable to new enterprises looking for places to locate and good neighborhoods and schools for their employees. Businesses want a transparent, limited government that plays by the rule of law the same for everyone; cronyism is an economic wet blanket. We need a city government that focuses on the essential roles of government and does those efficiently while freeing up other areas for free markets and the private sector. This will help city government to live within its means and improve tax rates. Economic capital, intellectual capital, and creative capital flow to where they are well treated and safe. Jackson can be just such a place.”

Foote said he would be rolling out his campaign in coming days and said he looked forward to an active and vigorous campaign.

Ashby Foote is President of Vector Money Management, an independent registered investment advisory firm he founded in 1988. Foote graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1974. He served our country as an artillery officer and in the Army Reserves for over 10 years. Foote is recognized as a leader in economic development and economic growth, having held leadership positions on numerous boards in Mississippi as well as serving as a member of the investment committee for the West Point endowment funds. Ashby and Suzie Foote have been married for 30 years and have four children, Turner, Sarah Ashby, Stuart and Tommy. The Footes are members of Christ United Methodist Church.

October 7, 2014

Charles Barbour Joins Jackson Ward 1 Race

By R.L. Nave

Charles Barbour

September 22, 2014

Richard Sellers Latest Entry to Ward 1 Race

By R.L. Nave

Here is the full, verbatim release on Sellers' candidacy:

Jackson is moving forward, but without strong conservative leadership on Jackson City Council the strides we have made will come to a halt. Jackson must be the thriving capitol city Mississippi deserves. Considering Jackson’s needs, and after much prayer and discussion with local leaders, I am proud to announce my candidacy for the Jackson City Council to represent Ward 1.

Service is an integral part of my life. As a special education teacher in our local public schools I strive to make a difference for each student I teach. As a high school baseball coach I serve my players as a positive role model and mentor. As an officer candidate in the Army National Guard I serve our state and nation by defending our freedom. As a member of our community I feel the same call to serve the city of Jackson.

I grew up in Picayune, MS, in a wonderful Christian home. My parents pushed me to set my goals high and to never give up. I graduated from Mississippi College with a degree in Education, while my wife, Amanda, attended Millsaps College and earned a degree in Biology. Amanda and I married and moved to Blacksburg, Virginia, where she attended medical school at Virginia Tech. Today, Amanda is a physician at UMC, and I am an educator, coach, soldier in the Army National Guard, and lifelong Republican. Amanda, and I own our home in the Heatherton neighborhood of Northeast Jackson and are members of Grace City Church.

There are three major issues I will fight for at city hall. First, I will address crime and public safety. Police Chief Lee Vance needs our support, and I will make sure he has the resources needed to win back the streets of Jackson. Second, I will tirelessly support our public school system. Dr. Cedrick Gray’s leadership in Jackson Public Schools assures me he has a plan for success. With groups like Alignment Jackson helping to fulfill his vision of strong education in our city, I will be an advocate for these changes in our schools’ achievement. Our children must have great schools to help them be successful, and I will make sure we take steps as a city to see JPS succeed. Finally, Jackson must continue to grow its business base. No longer should businesses gravitate to Madison, Flowood, or Pearl instead of making their home in the capital city. These businesses can provide jobs, services, and tax dollars, which are all things our great city must have to grow. I will make sure Jackson is a place for businesses big and small to succeed. I love the city of Jackson and will serve our citizens as a conservative voice on City Council.

Thank you for your interest, and I humbly ask for your support! You can find more information about me and how to join my campaign for a better Jackson at www.electrichardsellers.com, www.facebook.com/ElectSellers, or on Twitter @ElectSellers.

August 25, 2014

Amile Wilson Throws Hat in Jackson Ward 1 Ring

By R.L. Nave

Editor's note: In the interest of full disclosure, Jackson Ward 1 city council candidate Amile Wilson formerly wrote a column and has worked as a freelance photographer for the Jackson Free Press. Dorsey Carson, the other Ward 1 candidate who has officially announced, is an attorney for the JFP. Below is the full, verbatim release from Wilson about his candidacy:

Amile Wilson Announces Campaign for City Council

After much prayer and discussion with friends, family and members of the community, I am proud to announce my candidacy for Jackson City Council Ward 1.
Northeast Jackson has a tradition of sending strong leaders downtown: Dent Anglin, Ben Allen, Jeff Weill, and Quentin Whitwell. They have been a voice of reason and responsibility over the years regardless of who was Mayor. I want to continue that tradition and help Jackson forge a new path with Mayor Tony Yarber.
I am a homeowner and want to protect the value of my home just as you do. We need to empower the homeowner associations to use covenants to protect our neighborhoods as our neighboring cities do. We need to set standards for rental housing in Northeast Jackson as too often such housing lowers property values and brings in more crime.
I am a life-long conservative who has worked with leaders of both parties. Republican, Democrat, Conservative, Liberal, it doesn’t matter. The people expect us to fix the problems and get things done. As the owner of two businesses in Jackson, the city’s prosperity impacts my bottom line just as it does yours. I share Mayor Yarber’s vision to bring businesses back to Jackson and stop taxing small business out of existence. We’ve made a good start with the District at Eastover and the expansion at Highland Village. We need to keep the momentum going and grow Northeast Jackson.
Controlling crime is key to protecting Northeast Jackson. Crime forces families to leave and businesses to move. My home has been robbed and burglarized. Instead of moving, I’m staying and fighting back. We can fight crime. I will work with the Mayor to cut more fat out of the budget so we can put more cops on the street and put judges on the bench who don’t treat bail as a free get out of jail card.
I humbly ask you for your support and your vote. I will be honored to represent Ward 1 and continue the tradition set by those who have held that seat. Together, we can build a better Jackson.


August 8, 2014

WLBT: Quentin Whitwell Retiring Oct. 31

By R.L. Nave

Jackson Ward 1 Councilman Quentin Whitwell will retire this fall, WLBT reports.

Whitwell told WLBT's Cheryl Lasseter today that he would submit a letter of resignation to the city clerk; the resignation would be effective Oct. 31, the station said.

Lasseter: "Whitwell cites family commitments in Oxford and increasing demands from his professional life as reasons for his decision. He tells us he has tremendous respect for the City of Jackson and its leaders, and he believes the city deserves a Ward 1 Councilman who can dedicate maximum time and resources to the position. He is currently in his second term with the City Council."

After he steps down, the city would have to hold a special election to fill his northeast Jackson seat. Ward 3 Councilwoman LaRita Cooper-Stokes is also running for Hinds County judge in the November general election.

Jackson has already held one special election this year to fill the Ward 6 council seat that Tony Yarber vacated when he won election to Jackson mayor.

August 6, 2014

MS GOP Response to McDaniel: Er ... Try Court?

By Todd Stauffer

The Mississippi Republican Party has responded to the McDaniel campaign in the form of a statement to the public and a letter to Chris McDaniel's attorney, Mitch Tyner, from Joe Nosef, MS GOP chairman. (Here's the letter in PDF format.)

The upshot is that the MS GOP is suggesting to Tyner that they go ahead and take their fight to court, in part because the MS GOP's executive committee would only have 24 hours starting Aug 13th (once the requisite seven days notice for a meeting was circulated) to figure out whether it makes sense to overturn a U.S. Senate primary result. That's just one day before McDaniel would be forced by law to go to court on Aug 14th.

So, they're punting. (Which sometimes makes sense on Fourth and Forever.)

Jackson, MS. –– Joe Nosef, Chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party, issued the following statement today regarding a challenge to the results of the June 24th primary runoff and a letter sent today by Chairman Nosef to Mitch Tyner, lawyer for the Chris McDaniel campaign:

"Our 52-member volunteer Republican State Executive Committee has been asked to spend just five hours listening to legal arguments and then overturn a United States Senate primary in which over 360,000 Mississippians cast votes.

It is neither prudent nor possible in a single day for any political committee to process and review the significant amount of complex evidence necessary to make such a decision, and attempting to do so would be prejudicial to both candidates.

Under these circumstances, the only way to ensure that the integrity of the Mississippi Republican Party and our election process remains intact is to have a proper, public review of this matter through the judicial system in a court of law. Both candidates have said they look forward to such a review, and now is the time. "


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