Twas’ A Month Before Qualifying: Year 2

By: Mike Biggs

Twas’ a month before qualifying, all across the Magnolia State, Candidates have been fretting, whether to jump into the race. Tate Reeves was flip-flopping and drinking the TEA while Hosemann was yet again plotting, this time to be the LG. Thad held on and his days appear sunny, thanks to Scooby and Bishop and Barbour’s “walk around money”. But don’t count out McDaniel whose knives seem to be sharper for he may just go after Bryant or Wicker or even Gregg Harper.

State Democrats are still figuring out how to get out of their hole but fret not fellow Dems cause’ all roads still lead to Rickey Cole. The party of Winter and Ronnie and Ray are hoping Brandon Presley will soon show them the way. Be not dismayed for there is still plenty of lower chamber action thanks to Jeramey and Snowden and yes, Lataisha Jackson. House Republicans are bolstered by an air tight majority and yet are still poised to pick off a few of the remaining House RWD’s.

State Democrats are active and out convincing too, Project 1776 is still working as it goes into year number two. House Dems have set their sights back on the speaker’s gavel; They’ll have rough terrain to defend if they can manage not to unravel. Twas’ a month before qualifying and no pols seem to be slumbered though one thing is certain, Kenny Wayne’s day’s as chair of the Black Caucus are numbered. If you think this session is going to be a bore all’s you’d have to do is look at the pandering around common core.

Now Blackmon and Bryan and Busby and Bain. On Watson and Doty and don’t forget Fillengane. To Hood and Pickering and Chaney with glee. To Sojourner and Aldridge and the lump of coal under your tree. So, Bob Evans and Cecil and Sen. Hill you can’t hide and let’s not forget Randall and Jason and Nickey “party-switchin’ to glide. With the session and election season soon to be in full bloom, the capitol is sure to be the place to see the biggest elephants in the room. Don’t forget the donkey’s for they will be in the mix; and at the receptions and at the podium and on the floor shaking their fists.

So to all of you who love a good political hob-knob, let’s focus all of our energies on pay raises for teachers, state employee’s and Better Schools, Better Jobs. The PULSE wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! and the defeat of the Heritage campaign and it’s vestiges of yester-year!

Pulse’s Mover’s and Shaker’s: Byram Alderwoman Diandra Hosey

Former U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neil coined the phrase “all politics is local” and how true it is. In most cases, our legislators and members of congress typically start out serving on the local city council or board of alderman. For our latest Q&A segment we decided to look at municipal officials who are making a difference and who are relative newcomers with bright futures ahead of them.

Alderwoman Diandra Hosey, who represents Byram’s Ward 2, was elected to office this past June. Diandra decided to run for the post because in her words “Ward 2 was unrepresented on the Board of Aldermen and thus had no voice.” Her platform was simple: she wanted ensure safe families, safe property and economic development for the city.

Hosey holds a law degree from Mississippi College School of Law and a Masters degree in Political Science Public Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi. Diandra’s impressive credentials along with her keen understanding of the issues enables her to be a very effective member of the board of alderman.

Check out our 7 Questions Series with Alderwoman Diandra Hosey

1) MSPOLITICALPULSE: What prompted you to run for the board of alderman?

Alderwoman Hosey: I ran for the Board of Alderman because there was a need for new ideas and new energy in our city. The city was newly reincorporated, but with the incorporation, it was also stagnant.

The prior Board was appointed, and in my opinion the city was being operated with no accountability, as most of the residents didn’t even know who was on the Board of Alderman. Furthermore, not a single member of the prior appointed Board of Aldermen lived in Ward 2. My ward was virtually unrepresented.

2) MSPOLITICALPULSE: What would you say are the top 3 priorities for your Ward?

Alderwoman Hosey: My top three priorities are the issues that are important to my constituents: fair water rates, street repairs and bringing quality businesses to the city.

3) MSPOLITICALPULSE: Who is your political role model? And why?

Alderwoman Hosey: I actually do not have a particular political role model, but being one of 2 African-American women elected to the Board of Alderman, my fellow-Alderman Tereasa Mack and I, in some ways, broke barriers. Prior to our election there were no African-Americans serving on the board.

Needless to say, I aim to represent my ward with the common sense that brought us legislation such as the Affordable Care Act, the New Deal and the Civil Rights Acts, with the courage of Dr. Martin Luther King, the gusto of Jennifer Granholm, combined with the grace and poise of First Lady Michelle Obama.

4) MSPOLITICALPULSE: How will you work across the aisle to gain support for your initiatives?

Alderwoman Hosey:In a position on the local level, such as the Byram Board of Alderman, party preferences should never be an issue. It’s all about the people who elect us. What is in the best interest of my constituents is the main question I ask myself. I seek to govern with that philosophy in mind.

5) MSPOLITICALPULSE: In what way(s) will you take the lead in working to bring economic development and jobs to your Ward?

Alderwoman Hosey:I’ve sought advice from notable individuals with experience in bringing major businesses to cities. They advised me to first develop committees within the Board of Alderman for that purpose. Hence, on my motion, the Byram Board of Alderman recently implemented legislative and economic development committees, where we will work towards the goal of bringing businesses to the city.

6) MSPOLITICALPULSE: Were you satisfied with this past legislative session as it related to the needs of the City of Byram? What would you like to see accomplished next session?

Alderwoman Hosey:In this past legislative session, Senator David Blount fought very hard for legislation that would have brought relief to the people in my ward in terms of the water rates. I would have loved for him to have been successful at that. Next year, I would like to legislation that encourages economic growth for small cities like Byram.

7) MSPOLITICALPULSE: Tell the PULSE readers something unique about Ward 2.

Alderwoman Hosey: My ward is very diverse and family-oriented. Ward 2 also contains the only public lake in the southern part of Hinds County.

Alderwoman Diandra Hosey currently represents Ward 2 in Byram, Mississippi. She is a licensed attorney and member of the Magnolia Bar Association.

After Bravado Rhetoric, Hosemann Walks Back SOS Role in Tuesday’s Election

After vowing in a September 17th press release that ” Secretary of State Hosemann’s presence in Hattiesburg and the presence of his designees at our polling places next Tuesday will help assure our community that the special election will be properly conducted”, now Sec. Hosemann seeks to clarify his office’s role in Tuesday’s mayoral election in Hattiesburg. Hosemann Sept. 17 Press Release

He released the following Press Release today:

“As we have repeatedly said, this election is for Hattiesburg and conducted by its citizens. Mississippi law does not allow the Secretary of State to conduct any municipal election. Our Agency provides the training and the election manuals.

The Secretary of State’s Office provided training to Municipal Election Commissioners. State law requires Municipal Election Commissioners to train the poll workers. The Secretary of State’s Office provided training to Hattiesburg Municipal Election Commissioners on August 28, 2013 and September 13, 2013. This training is the same training received by Municipal Election Commissioners statewide. The copy of the Mississippi Poll Manager Guide that was provided to the Election Commissioners and to the poll workers on Election Day is on our website at http://www.sos.ms.gov/elections5.aspx. Our Office addressed every question posed to it by the Elections Commissioners and offered additional training if the Commissioners required or requested it.

All precincts opened on Election Day and our observers acted as a conduit for election issues with our Staff Attorney. If an issue arose from a citizen, the issue was immediately transferred to the Election Commissioners, who were addressing them directly with the Poll Managers. Press releases were issued with any issues. Numerous Federal, State and candidate representatives observed the process.

Unfortunately, our initial Agency Observer Reports again point to failure to follow the training provided after the polls were closed. These issues include failure to properly seal the ballot box and failure to properly mark absentee ballots. Further, there has also been reported a case of voter impersonation for Hattiesburg Municipal voter Marvin Allen. We are compiling all Observer Reports and will release those to the Election Commission and the public.

The Attorney General is to answer any election issued raised by the interpretation of State law. The Election Commissioners are currently corresponding with the Attorney General’s Office.

The proper resolution of all of these issues under Mississippi law now rests with the Municipal Election Commissioners appointed by the City Council who are and who represent the citizens of Hattiesburg. Candidates will again have the opportunity to contest or accept any result. The Election Commission must certify the results to the Secretary of State by Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 5:00 P.M.”

DuPree Lives to Fight Another Day!

Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree looks on as the vote count continues

Incumbent Mayor Johnny DuPree is trailing Independent challenger Dave Ware in Hattiesburg by 32 votes. As it stands, the unofficial count shows Ware with a marginal lead of 6,848 to DuPree’s 6,816.

The election commission will resume counting the 1,055 absentee ballots in the morning. We will update.

Mike’s Missive: Mississippi Political Pulse Supports the Re-Election of Johnny DuPree for Mayor of Hattiesburg

Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree in a fight for survival.

If you had asked me back in January which was going to be the hottest contested mayoral election this cycle, I probably would have shrugged and said Starkville and my second and third guesses would have likely been Ocean Springs and Meridian. When the smoke cleared, incumbent Democratic mayors in Starkville, Ocean Springs and challenger, now Mayor Percy Bland in Meridian all cruised to victory on June 4th with relative ease. In reality, Hattiesburg has emerged as the next partisan battleground in Mississippi with all of the usual trappings. Mayor Johnny DuPree initially was declared the winner after all of the ballots were counted holding on by a razor thin margin of just 37 votes over his opponent, Ward 4 Councilman and Independent Dave Ware. The results of the June 4th showdown were wiped out by Judge William Coleman, who after hearing claims of voter fraud decided that the best way to settle this mayoral election mess would be through a special election. Immediately following his ruling and the time in which Gov. Bryant set the date for the September 24 special election some 2,000 voters have been added to the voter rolls and an untold number purged.

Although Ware is running as an independent, note the small “i”, Ware’s campaign has been bank-rolled by the Mississippi Republican Party elite and his campaign operation has been ran by Hinds County GOP operative Pete Perry and Cory Wilson who is a few months removed from working for Sec. of State Delbert Hosemann. Gov. Bryant did his part by strategically taking nearly 2 weeks once Judge Coleman ruled to set the special election allowing the Ware campaign to register hundreds of new voters. Sec. of State Hosemann has stated that he and the full weight of his office will be monitoring all 14 precincts on Election Day and yes, Mississippi’s Voter ID Law is in effect.

Mayor DuPree is a man fighting against a well connected, well financed machine but under his watch, Hattiesburg has prospered during these tough economic times. While most municipalities had to layoff and furlough workers, slash and cut spending and had stagnant growth and economic development, Mississippi’s 4th largest city has flourished with development projects taking shape all over the city. Opponents, including some Pine Belt area Democrats, have tried paint Mayor DuPree as a corrupt “Boss Tweed” style politician who has betrayed the public trust and disregarded his constituents.

I know Johnny DuPree and I stood with him in 2011. Under his leadership, Hattiesburg has moved forward. The partnership between The University of Southern Mississippi and the Office of the Mayor has been made stronger. Cooperation between Forrest County government and the City of Hattiesburg as well as relationships with neighboring municipalities have been strengthened under Mayor DuPree’s leadership. While Dave Ware has offered innovative solutions to some of the complex issues that urban centers face, he is interconnected with part of the problem. Ware and his cozy relationship with a Republican Party that will shut down the government, slash food and nutrition benefits from poor children, veterans and the elderly and would allow a default on the full faith and credit of the U.S. government is inescapable and is not the type of leadership that will enable Hattiesburg to stay on a prosperous path.

This is why the Mississippi Political Pulse endorses Mayor Johnny DuPree!

De’Miktric “Mike” Biggs

Hosemann and DOJ to Observe Hattiesburg Mayoral Election

All fourteen (14) precincts for the Hattiesburg Mayoral Special Election will have observers from the Secretary of State’s Office, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann announced today. The Agency has election staff in the Municipal Clerk’s Office between today and Election Day and will be present to observe the vote tabulation at City Hall after the polls close.

“The reports from the previous election are troubling, to say the very least,” says Secretary Hosemann. We are going to have an election conducted by the election commissioners, not a circus. While we are not the election police, we will be watching in every precinct. Any voting irregularities observed by our Staff will be immediately forwarded to the Attorney General and the local District Attorney.”

“I want to thank Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann for his attention to the issues our community is facing related to the previous mayoral election and the upcoming special election,” says Forrest County District Attorney Patricia Burchell. “The citizens of Hattiesburg deserve a fair and clean election on September 24th. Secretary of State Hosemann’s presence in Hattiesburg and the presence of his designees at our polling places next Tuesday will help assure our community that the special election will be properly conducted.”

“It is time for the Pine Belt to move past the negativity and focus on moving the City of Hattiesburg forward,” says Hosemann.

It is worth noting that Hosemann’s former chief of staff, Cory Wilson as well as GOP electioneer Pete Perry are part of Dave Ware’s team. With this latest development, the full weight of the Mississippi Republican Party machine will be in force across the Hub City on Sept. 24. State Democrats requested that the Justice Department provide monitors and according to Chairman Rickey Cole, there will be representatives in Hattiesburg on election day.

Former Vicksburg Mayor Paul Winfield Pleads Guilty to Bribery Charge

Former Vicksburg Mayor Paul Winfield pleads guilty to bribery charge: Clarion Ledger

Former Vicksburg Mayor Paul Winfield pleaded guilty Monday to bribery for seeking $10,000 in cash in exchange for a city contract. Winfield pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Natchez. He faces up to 10 years at sentencing, scheduled for Nov. 19 before U.S. District Judge David C. Bramlette III.

The plea deal prohibits Winfield from running for elected office in the future or applying to work for any government entity, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Gregory Davis. He also agreed to forfeit the bribe money.

Winfield, a Democrat, completed his first term as mayor this year and lost his re-election bid.

Takeovers Set for 2 of 3 Failing Miss. School Districts

Takeovers set for 2 of 3 failing Miss. school districts: Clarion Ledger

The Mississippi state Board of Education is seeking to take over the Claiborne County and Leflore County school districts, but will grant the Yazoo City system a reprieve. The board voted Friday morning to ask Gov. Phil Bryant to declare states of emergency in Claiborne and Leflore. Byrant could act as early as Friday.

Under an agreement with Yazoo City, the district would lose accreditation and the state would appoint consultants to oversee improvements. The district would maintain local control, however, and would have until March 2014 to remedy its problems. “I think we have a team in place now to move forward,” said Yazoo City Superintendent Arthur Cartlidge. “I believe we can make it happen.”

State officials said their lawyers would work out the agreement, but that they intended to negotiate only minimally with Yazoo City and would seize control at any time if unsatisfied with the progress.

1,500 Newly Registered Voters Added to Rolls in Hattiesburg

1,500 newly registered voters added to rolls in Hattiesburg

Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree in a fight for survival.

One thing is likely about the next election for mayor of Hattiesburg: many new voters will be counted. More than 1,500 people had registered to vote by Friday, with noon Saturday the deadline to register for the special election ordered by Judge William Coleman.

DuPree led five candidates with 4,775 votes. Independent Dave Ware, who had 4,738, challenged the results.