August 4, 2020 10:20:32 AM
A total of seven candidates filed qualifying paperwork for two vacant seats in the Golden Triangle delegation to the state Legislature before the Monday deadline.
The special elections for the two seats -- House District 37 and Senate District 15 -- are both scheduled for Sept. 22. The seats are respectively vacated by former Rep. Gary Chism (R-Columbus) and former Sen. Gary Jackson (R-French Camp), both of whom retired June 30. The nonpartisan elections will not include party primaries.
Vicky Rose, a Libertarian who has lived in West Point for 13 years, is running for the House District 37 seat to finish Chism's unexpired term, which lasts through 2023. The district covers parts of Lowndes, Clay and Oktibbeha counties.
Rose, who ran for the same seat last year and lost to Chism, told The Dispatch she decided to run again because she wishes to bring Libertarian ideas to the table under a political climate that is divided between Republican and Democratic parties.
"On both sides of the aisle, they have been on a pursuit to legislate morality," she said. "They only hurt Mississippi families."
Rose said she would be focused on an array of issues, including education, criminal justice reform and deregulation of the government. Stronger teacher pay and chances for parole among inmates with non-violent charges are both on her list of priorities, she said.
"All of these things, and more, are significant issues that can be changed with solutions that haven't been thought of before," she said.
Rose is running against former Lowndes County School District Superintendent Lynn Wright and David Chism, cousin to Gary Chism and owner of Greenway Pool Service in Lowndes County.
In District 15 -- which covers western and southern Oktibbeha County and parts of Choctaw, Webster and Montgomery counties -- a four-way race is underway among a cadre of candidates running to complete Jackson's unexpired term, which also runs through 2023.
Joyce Meek Yates, former director of the Health Promotion and Wellness Program for students at Mississippi State University, announced her candidacy Thursday on Facebook. A Eupora native, Yates said she was raised in a family well-tuned to politics, because her father, W.B. Meek, was a state representative in the 1960s. If elected, she said, she hopes to share her knowledge in health and education with Mississippians during the pandemic and motivate them.
"A lot of times I'm a catalyst for people to make changes. I'm a motivator," she told The Dispatch. "I think that's what we need right now because people are walking around with gloom and doom."
Levon Murphy Jr., owner of Murphy Motors in Ackerman and a Democrat, also joined the race for the Senate seat. As a small business owner, Murphy said experience in customer service encouraged him to run for office to serve his district voters and help grow small businesses. He also hopes to decriminalize the use of marijuana in the state.
"I've always wanted to be a voice for people here in town," he said.
The two candidates joined Oktibbeha County District 4 Supervisor Bricklee Miller and Starkville businessman Bart Williams in a four-way race in September.
The State Board of Election Commissioners will meet Wednesday to rule on the qualification of those candidates, The Dispatch reported.
Yue Stella Yu is the local government reporter for The Dispatch. Reach her at 662-328-2424 (ext 106) or follow her on Twitter @StellaYu_Mizzou
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