Rupert Howell column

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 22, 2011

McBride exit graceful after distinguished service to county, state

Representative Warner McBride’s decision not to run for another term in the Mississippi House of Representatives causes mixed emotions about a man with whom my family has had ties that extend for four generations.

Coming from common soil sometimes offers a deep comfort not found in other relationships.

When another neighbor called to complain about McBride’s stance on a particular matter, I asked, “Did you call Warner and talk about this?”

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“No,” the neighbor replied.

“Then why in the h____ are you calling me?” I further asked.

Yes, there is somewhat of a bias in my opinion of the current District 10 Representative. I know how he was raised and I know he will do what he believes is right whether I agree with it or not. I felt that he was someone with whom any citizen could have a civil conversation and come away knowing they had been heard—conversations didn’t go in one ear and out the other.

The fact that McBride is telling his constituency now that he will not seek re-election is good for two reasons.

One is that it gives others interested plenty of time to make a decision to qualify before the June 1 deadline.

The other is that it will probably keep the District intact. Had the announcement come earlier, the House redistricting committee would most likely have carved it up to better suit remaining incumbents.

McBride cites as his proudest accomplishments in the Legislature:

—working to attract funding for GE in Batesville and the Winchester expansion in Oxford, together adding 1,500 jobs to our local economy;

—fighting for increased funding for K-12 education;

—promoting increased access to better and more affordable health care, particularly mental health care;

—providing leadership as Chairman of the Transportation Committee to push a plan to 4-lane Highway 6 between Batesville and Clarksdale; to 4-lane Highway 7 South of Oxford; to construct a new, safer Jackson Avenue/Highway 6 Interchange in Oxford;

—crafting $300 million in transportation bond issue that will allow  improvements to several unsafe bridges in the area.

McBride also stated that he is proud to have been in the position to promote the Christian values of the community.

As friend and neighbor I think of McBride’s constant position on the two issues of funding education and the people’s right to know. McBride consistently voted in favor of  K-12 education legislation knowing that Mississippi’s school children needed a better opportunity while competing in an international economy.

He also consistently voted in favor of the peoples’ right to know, voting in favor of open meetings and accessible public records and laws governing them.

For that he is a friend to all Mississippians.