The field of candidates to replace former mayor A. J. Holloway is set for the April 28th special election:
- Victor Ainsworth: ran against Councilman David Fayard for council in 2013
- David Bull: owns Bernie’s Restaurant in Biloxi, ran against former mayor A.J. Holloway in the last election
- Cono Caranna, II: former district attorney, said he will serve the two-year term without pay
- Andrew “FoFo” Gilich: software engineer ran against Holloway for mayor in past elections
- Felix Gines: Councilman, serves in the Air National Guard
- Kenny Glavan: Councilman, manager of Sheraton Four Points hotel in Biloxi
- Pat Morris: assistant to the director at Keesler’s Fisher House, member of former Gov. Haley Barbour’s and Holloway’s commissions after Hurricane Katrina
- Dixie Newman: Councilman, rallied public and private support to revitalize Hiller Park
- Windy Swetman, III: Harrison County supervisor, organized and opened a senior center in East Biloxi
- Paul Tisdale: Councilman, former superintendent of Biloxi School District
The Neshoba Democrat posted the following background information on Chancery Court judges and their opponents in the upcoming general election on November 4th:
Eight Chancery Court District (Hancock, Harrison, and Stone Counties):
In Place 2, incumbent Jennifer Schloegel, daughter of former Gulfport mayor George Schloegel, is seeking a second term. She defeated four opponents in 2010 with 51 percent to avoid a run-off. She faces a challenge by civil litigation attorney Stephen Benvenutti of Bay St. Louis. Schloegel made headlines this year presiding over the open records lawsuit against Auditor Stacey Pickering by the Sun Herald seeking documents from the Department of Marine Resources that state and federal officials were using as part of their investigations.
In Place 3, incumbent Sandy Steckler, a former state senator, faces a challenge from former Biloxi city attorney Ronnie Cochran. Steckler was appointed to the bench in 2001 by Gov. Ronnie Musgrove.
Sixteenth Chancery Court District (Jackson, George, and Greene Counties):
In Place 1, incumbent Neil Harris, Sr. is being opposed by Jackson County Board of Supervisors Attorney Paula S. Yancey. Last year, the Mississippi Supreme Court ordered a public reprimand and $2,500 fine for Harris for violating the due process rights of three people he charged with contempt. Yancey has served as Jackson County’s Board Attorney and formerly as county administrator.
Place 3 incumbent Chuck Bordis, IV is being challenged by Michael Fondren and Gary Roberts. Bordis was appointed by Governor Haley Barbour in 2009 after his predecessor, Randy Pierce, won election to the Mississippi Supreme Court. Bordis was unopposed in 2010. Fondren is an attorney in Pascagoula and Roberts is a Gautier city judge whose now ex-wife was involved in a scandal which resulted in the resignation of American Red Cross President Mark Everson.
For more information:
News Mississippi commemorates the state’s 10th anniversary after passing tort reform in Looking Back at Mississippi Before Tort Reform.
The Wall Street Journal reported in 2008 that prior to tort reform, doctors were seeing 25% annual increases in malpractice insurance. Jones County had more plaintiffs than residents. And doctors were fleeing the state. Haley Barbour, who was elected governor in 2003 on a tort-reform platform, stated that Toyota and several Fortune 500 companies would not consider coming to Mississippi under the conditions prior to tort reform.
The 2004 tort reform law did not limit the amount a plaintiff could get for lost wages, medical bills or other quantifiable costs but only limited the subjective elements such as “pain and suffering.” The state passed a $500,000 cap on these subjective, non-economic damages although business in the state lobbied for a $250,000 cap.
Medical liability insurance in Mississippi has dropped 60% as medical liability suits dropped by more than 90% in one year. Overall, tort cases have dropped from 10,600 in 2002 to about 3,500 in 2012 according to the Clarion-Ledger.
For more information:
As the campaign heat intensifies and garners national attention, so does internal party strife. The Republican Primary contest between incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran and state Sen. Chris McDaniel is not only stressing the candidates but also the Republican Party.
Tea Party Republicans within the state are calling for state GOP chair Joe Nosef to resign after he spoke to NBC News and provided the media with marginalizing comments about U.S. Senate challenger Chris McDaniel. The press release illustrates the growing divide in the state’s Republican Party between so-called establishment Republicans such as Sen. Cochran and former Gov. Hale Barbour and Tea Party supporters which endorse McDaniel.
For his part, Nosef defended himself with the following statement:
Anyone who has paid close attention to our US senate primary knows that I’ve not only stayed neutral with regard to the candidates but also worked relentlessly against efforts to divide our party. I continue to receive encouragement in this effort to promote unity from our GOP elected officials, voters across the state, members of both campaigns, as well as very active, long-term tea party members. I also appreciate the good people across our state who make up the lifeblood of the tea party and have enjoyed working with them for years. I am grateful for their support. I have a great working relationship with them in all corners of our state and look forward to working together in this year’s campaigns and into the future.
For more information:
Bobby Harrison of the Daily Journal runs down the significant events of the 2014 legislative session with a two-part series:
- Teacher pay, justice reform biggest achievements
- School districts still in budget hole
In his first story, Harrison provides a recap of the following issues that the legislature tackled during the session:
- Teacher Pay: Initially promoted by Speaker Philip Gunn (R-Clinton), the bill provides $2,500 pay raise over 2 years. The senate finalized the language which, under Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves’ leadership cut out performance requirements.
- Criminal Justice Reform: Sweeping reforms resulting from recommendations of judges, prosecutors, district attorneys, law enforcement and local officials. Estimated to save $266 Million over 10-years.
- Special Needs Payments: Promoted by Sen. Nancy Collins (R-Tupelo), the proposal failed largely due to objections over giving “education vouchers.”
- Religious Freedom: Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed even after firestorm in Arizona. Legislation changed to prevent the government from being able to force someone to take action against their religious beliefs.
- Bonds: $199.9 Million in new bonds were approved for Cooper Tire in Tupelo, a Tammy Wynette Museum in Tremont, the William Faulkner/Union Heritage Museum in New Albany, and renovations to Okolona College.
- Texting: After looking like ban on texting while driving would pass, Rep. Bill Denny (R-Jackson) entered a motion to reconsider which effectively killed the bill since efforts to table the motion were defeated.
- Medicaid Expansion: Republican leadership continues to oppose medicare expansion. Both the House and the Senate rejected federal funds to expand Medicaid as is allowed under Obamacare (to cover those earning 138% of the federal poverty level).
- Judges, Law Enforcement: Added 16 assistant district attorneys, 50 new Highway Patrol troopers, added funds for the state Crime Lab.
The second story focuses on the budget. According to Harrison, the $2.4 Billion public education budget was an increase of $85 Million over the previous year. The current education budget is $255 Million short of the funding formula based on the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP).
In all, the 2014 $6 Billion general fund budget was an increase of about $200 Million over 2013.
For more information:
Bobby Harrison wrote a background article on state Sen. Chris McDaniel in October 2013 for the Daily Journal. The article, McDaniel has made waves in Senate, provides a glimpse into McDaniel’s stances and history as a state Senator.
On March 25th, state Sen. Chris McDaniel appeared on the Glenn Beck Radio program. The audio of the interview is below followed by a summary of the interview. A transcript of much of the interview is provided here.
According to McDaniel, Cochran voted for:
- Bail-outs for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
- Increase debt ceiling 11 times for $7.2 Trillion
- Higher Income and gas taxes as well as George H.W. Bush’s famous tax increase
- Tax-payer funded abortions
Debt Ceiling: Beck pushed McDaniel on raising the debt ceiling and the troublesome politics that come with not voting against it. McDaniel replied by saying that the Republican party has stopped standing with courage and principle. To oppose such things he would stand with Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz.
Eminent Domain: Beck asked about the fight against eminent domain in the state. Driven by his support of private property rights, McDaniel fought on the floor of the senate to change the law to protect property owners. Gov. Haley Barbour was not in favor of reforming the law and vetoed legislation that would reform eminent domain to protect property owners. Because of principle, McDaniel continued to fight in the Senate but failed to override the Barbour’s veto. However, shortly thereafter, the state constitution was amended to protect private property rights and so private property rights won the day.
Other issues discussed:
- Common Core: Objections to Common Core are based on there not being a constitutional basis for the federal government to be involved in education which is violated by tying federal funding to it.
- Immigration: No to amnesty, close the borders, enforce the law.
- Obamacare: McDaniel was the state’s lead attorney in the lawsuit against Obamacare and performed pro bono. He doesn’t want to make it better, he wants to repeal it.
- 2nd Amendment: Keeping and bearing arms is an individual right that McDaniel supports.
When asked about how he will fight the Republican establishment that will expect him to compromise his principles to obtain positions of power, McDaniel responded that his “allegiance is to the constitution and the people.”
Beck asked about the status of his soul and McDaniel immediately replied that he is “saved by the grace of God.”