(DeSoto County, MS) When Mississippi State Senator Merle Flowers resigned in July, it created an opening for four prominent DeSoto Countians to campaign for the job.
Among the first to jump in the race was freshman Representative Pat Nelson who says his experience is his biggest asset ”I’m the only person that can go down there on day one, know what I’m doing, won’t need any training wheels on my bicycle. January second, I feel like I can contribute and represent the people of this County in a way they would be proud”.
Nelson worked for years as community relations representative for Entergy for going into politics.
The race also drew long-time Repubilcan officials like Kevin Blackwell, who once led Baptist DeSoto Hospital before starting his own business.
He says it’s that business experience that gives him a leg up in the race ”I’m not a politician. I’m a small business owner. I sign the front of a paycheck. Occasionally I get to sign the back, which is always a pleasure”.
Blackwell has also been active in Southaven and Olive Branch Rotary and Chambers of Commerce.
Dr. David Parker of Olive Branch felt the need for an East DeSoto Countian to replace Flowers, who was from Olive Branch, and counts his community roots as his strength ”Well, I grew up in this district. I’ve been here my whole life, started a practice here. I built a business here, continue to build new businesses here and I’m in the community. I’m gonna continue to be in the community”.
The only Democrat in the race is also another long-time DeSoto Countian.
Students at Hernando High in 1972 voted Michael Smith Best Citizen and Most Talented two years running.
He brings experience as a Memphis school administrator ”District 19 needs that ‘terra nova’, a person that can break new ground, a person who has a new direction who can move the County to a new direction”.
All agree, education and jobs are the County’s top priorities.
The qualifying deadline for the special Senate election occurred after absentee voting had already started. So, if you’ve already voted, the Clerk’s office recommends you call, or come in to cast your ballot just for the special election. They don’t recommend you show up on election day if you’re already cast an absentee ballot.