Nolan Mettetal

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 20, 2011

Longtime state senator bows out

By Rupert Howell

District 10 Senator Nolan Mettetal announced Wednesday that he will not be seeking re-election to the post he has held for 12 years but did not rule out seeking another position or possibly running for the District 10 House seat being vacated by Representative Warner McBride.

“The time has come for me to step aside and allow someone else to pursue this position in the Mississippi State Senate. Therefore I will not seek re-election,” Mettetal said in a prepared statement.

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“However, I do encourage others to seek election to this wonderful position because public service and helping others is a rewarding experience,” his statement read.

Mettetal went on to say, “Hopefully I will see you in a different role in public service in the near future,” and confirmed the House seat being vacated by McBride as a possible option.

Mettetal mentioned redistricting of his current district as a consideration but said that the large Senate district was keeping him away from home and family more than he wanted to be.

A three-judge federal panel ruled this week that redistricting should take place in 2012, agreeing with the position of Secretary of State Delbert Hoseman. Redistricting takes place following each 10-year census to assure equal representation under the one-man one-vote rule.

Mettetal won an aggressive party primary in the 2007 campaign that ultimately went to the courts against Batesville attorney Mona Pittman who is currently serving on the State Democratic Executive Committee and is secretary for the state Democratic Party.

Senate District 10 includes Panola and  a large portion of Tate County while House District 10 includes southeast Panola County, northwest Lafayette County and the Teasdale area of Tallahatchie County.

A longtime Panola Countian, Mettetal’s and his wife Kay’s ancestrial homes are both located in House District 10.

“ (House) District 10 is ‘our folks’ where we grew up,” Mettetal said before noting that the constituency was small in number compared to a Senate district.

Mettetal changed from Democrat to Republican following the last election and emphasized that he is a pro-business conservative who is concerned about the House’s redistricting plan.

He currently serves as chair of the Senate Public Utilities committee, vice-chair of Interstate and Federal Cooperation and numerous other committees.

He said Tuesday, “I served on more oversight committees last year than in the prior 12 years combined.”

Although Mettetal hasn’t made a formal announcement of his intentions he said Tuesday, “I do know I’m going to take a little more time off.”

Candidates for the Mississippi House and Senate have until June 1 to qualify. They will run with the current district lines in the August primaries and November General Election.

Candidates qualify for Senate and House

Qualifying this week to seek the Senate District 10 seat was former Senatobia mayor Steve Hale, 57. Hale is director of the Tate County Planning Commission. He is a Democrat.

Two candidates have qualified to run for the House seat being vacated by McBride.

Republican Doug Jones of Panola County’s Mt. Olivet Community and Democrat Jordan Bankhead of Oxford have announced their intentions to represent District 10 in the Mississippi House.

Jones, a volunteer fireman, has identified himself as “the Blue Collar candidate,” and voiced opposition to House Speaker Billy McCoy.

Bankhead, a real estate attorney and business owner, has pinpointed job creation as his top priority, also emphasizing the value of a well-trained workforce.