No, it’s just the money rush by legislators to tap lobbyists and other special interests in Jackson
While the casual observer may not be taking notice, political types in Mississippi might not be faulted if they think the next statewide and legislative elections are right around the corner. The statewide primaries and general elections are more than a year and a half away, but you would not know that if you are paying attention to the fast and furious political fundraising events that are being held in Jackson at various venues. Candidates for statewide office, incumbents and would be statewide candidates, seldom slow down in their efforts to raise money. It is a fact of political life and something any serious candidate who is not spending his own money must do. What has been amazing in recent months is the almost non-stop fundraising by incumbent state legislators. One lobbyist rolled his eyes when talking about it and another commented, “They (legislators) are wearing me out.” There are several reasons for this fast and furious fundraising. First note most of it is taking place in Jackson, not in the home districts of the legislators. Jackson is the gold mine of lobbyists and other special interests for legislative candidates. The most obvious reason for the fundraising rush, of course, is when an incumbent state legislator builds up a huge campaign war chest, it discourages possible opponents. Another obvious reason is legislators see non-stop fundraising by their legislative colleagues. The last push for campaign fundraisers comes from the hired guns, professional campaign fundraisers who usually get a healthy percentage of the money they raise for the candidate. Unlike political fundraisers for congressional candidates in Washington, D.C., there are even a couple of Mississippi lobbyists who have had no qualms raising money for both Republicans and Democrats. And there’s another perception about lobbying the U.S. Congress and the Mississippi Legislature that might surprise some people. The press and other so-called good government organizations most often paint D.C. lobbyists and the cash they dole out as soldiers of the evil empire. More often than not, political action committees and other campaign contributions flows to Senate and House members whose voting record reflects the interests of those organizations. Too often in Mississippi the reverse in true. Money usually flow to legislators and many votes on various issues is reflected in the lobbyist and special interest contributions.
Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes would be very serious primary opponent for Congressman Steven Palazzo, but ……..
An often discussed political rumor in Mississippi is that highly regarded Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes might make a primary challenge to incumbent U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo of Biloxi. Some speculate Hewes will oppose Palazzo in 2018. Others suggest Hewes
Goofy suggestions about changing our state flag
At the end of November it was announced that distinguished Mississippi author Greg Iles of Natchez will be the featured speaker for the seventh annual Statehood Day celebration on Dec. 10 at the Old Capitol in Jackson. The story in the Clarion.Ledger that best-selling author Iles will headline Statehood Day quickly evolved into one of the newspaper’s favorite drumbeats – removal of the Confederate battle flag from the state flag. The story noted that Iles and another best-selling author, former Mississippian John Grisham, drafted a full-page newspaper ad calling for removal of the emblem.
From that point, the story was more about the state flag than any celebration of Mississippi’s entry 198 years ago into the United States. Clarion.Ledger reporter Sherry Lucas quoted Iles as saying, “It’s hard to believe that we’re so far behind the rest of the South on his issue.” Then Iles really jumped off into the deep end of the pool. He said, “As for whether – or when – the state flag will be changed, I’ll tell you this: on the day that the football teams of Ole Miss, Mississippi State and USM say they won’t play another game until the flag comes down, we’re within five days of the change happening.” As we often see from other celebrity types, especially those of the Hollywood variety, fame does not always come with a heavy dose of common sense. As in the case when some members of the University of Missouri football team threatened to boycott football practice and even Tiger games if the president of the school did not resign, it was a clear case of the inmates taking over the asylum. Yes, I agree that if the Rebel, Bulldog and Golden Eagle football teams refused to play games until the state flag is changed, it would certainly prompt action on the flag. It will also cause a deeper division of people in our state and would be a stupid plan of action to force change. Iles then advocated an even more extreme position. He added, “Same thing if the NCAA refuses to allow other SEC teams to play sanctioned games in Mississippi. The Legislature is probably willing to lose a few $30 million movies over the flag, but this state is all about college football. Football is likely to be the final agent of change.” In the article, Iles goes on to make even more absurd and derogatory statements about the state he calls home. The NCAA makes enough bad decisions without
Calls for campaign finance reform
Allegations have been made that State Auditor Stacey Pickering, State Treasurer Lynn Fitch, Attorney General Jim Hood, State Sen. Will Longwitz and others have used their campaign finance accounts for personal use instead of legitimate campaign expenses. In the wake of all that a number of politicians have called for next year’s Mississippi Legislature to consider campaign finance reforms. Why now? Nothing has changed about the need to make improvements in the state’s very weak and unenforceable campaign finance reporting laws. Anyone who has ever reviewed state campaign finance reports could easily determine that they are a farce. Transparency and good government would make it obvious that reform legislation is needed. I guess it is better to have the bandwagon now than not to have any action. We’ll see what happens with the new legislature in January of 2016.
Clear conflict of interest by Pascagoula reporter
April Havens is a reporter for the Mississippi Press newspaper in Pascagoula. The newspaper was formerly a daily. Today it is a pathetic excuse for a newspaper, publishing a print edition three days a week and being an online edition for the rest of the week. Among Havens’ duties at the newspaper is covering the Jackson County Board of Supervisors. As many of you know, the Jackson County Board of Supervisors are in the middle of the rotten situation at the Singing River Health System. Paula Yancey is the attorney for the supervisors. Doug Handshoe is a CPA from Wiggins who is a blogger. His website is called “Slabbed” (http://slabbed.org/) and he frequently writes about corruption on the Gulf Coast and also in Louisiana. Despite the excellent reporting by The Sun Herald regarding the Singing River Health Systems and the previous reports about the corruption at the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, Handshoe has done some solid reporting about these two scandals and other issues in South Mississippi and Louisiana. But back to April Havens. Handshoe recently pointed out a social media post by Havens. Havens was