Good Choice for Senator Cochran’s New Chief of Staff

Keith Heard is Sen. Thad Cochran’s new chief of staff. Another veteran Cochran staffer, Adam Telle, has been named deputy chief of staff and will also continue as legislative director. Heard was a good choice after Cochran’s previous of chief of staff, Bruce Evans, moved over to the Senate Appropriations Committee where Cochran is again chairman. Heard is a Mississippian and after Cochran served in the U.S. House for six years and was then elected to the Senate to replace Jim Eastland, Heard joined Cochran’s senate staff. He later moved on to work with a couple of trade associations before becoming a lobbyist. Heard was very active in Cochran’s most recent re-election campaign. After the Republican first primary when state Sen. Chris McDaniel almost defeated Cochran and had the veteran senator on the ropes, Heard assumed a more active role during the runoff and general election. There is no doubt that Cochran had a poorly managed campaign during the first primary and a number of changes were made that made a difference during the runoff. An increased role by Heard was one of them.

During his long congressional career that started in 1973, Cochran has been blessed with many first-rate staff members. Most of them have achieved a great deal after they left his staff. Mark Keenum is now president of Mississippi State University and Haley Fisackerly is president of Entergy’s Mississippi division. At one time both served as chief of staff for Cochran and both of them are first rate.

Heard is personable and very capable. There is no question that he is making a financial sacrifice to go back to work for Cochran. He is someone Cochran can trust but most important of all, he will be a fierce Cochran loyalist. Heard is loyal to Cochran because he wants to help Mississippi’s senior senator and our state. It is not because, as it is with many others, how much they might personally benefit from their relationship with the powerful chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

A stupid headline and stupid news story

Early each morning I look forward to home delivery of The Wall Street  Journal and the Jackson Clarion Ledger. On Tuesday I was amazed when I saw the following large headline and story prominently featured on the front page of the Clarion Ledger: “Study – Same sex marriage could garner $10.6 M for Mississippi.”

The story reported a study by The Williams Institute at UCLA that said legalizing same sex marriage would have a $10.6 million economic impact for Mississippi. Now, there’s no question that the national media is pushing, for all its worth, a gay agenda, but a story like this on the front page of the state’s largest newspaper is not almost laughable, it is laughable. I wonder why the Mississippi Development Authority and the Mississippi Economic Council did not push this great idea for economic development and job creation?

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