Mt. Olivet hosts well-attended rally 7/28/2015

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Mt. Olivet hosts well-attended rally

By Rupert Howell
As they close in on the August 4 primary elections candidates were mostly cordial with opponents Saturday when the Mt. Olivet Fire Department hosted what several candidates said was the best attended political rally of the season.

The District Four supervisors race and the Second Judicial District Justice Court race drew the most candidates, both on the ballot and at last Saturday’s rally held in the firehouse that had air conditioning units and fans doing all they could to keep  hot air moving.

Representative Nolan Mettetal may have scored the most points by passing around campaign hand fans left over from a previous election. Nobody complained that they were originally for use when Mettetal was seeking re-election to a Senate position eight years prior.
“I’ll provide you with a fan but you’ll have to supply the motor,” said Mettetal’s wife, Kay, as she gave away the fans.

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Mettetal is being challenged in November by independent candidate Ken Daughtery who referred to Mettetal as a life-long politician.

“I didn’t know I was a life-long politician — I was 49 when I ran for office.”

“What you have allowed me to do in the Legislature has been a life-long experience,” he said.
“We put more money in public education than any other year ever in the history of Mississippi. . .,” Mettetal continued. “We expanded Medicaid more than 10 percent . . . we meet in conferences all over the South and the people are envious of our Medicaid. We are proud of our Medicaid system and we are taking care of the people.”

The first term representative and former state senator also reminded voters that physicians were leaving the state a few years ago but said that now Mississippi is the number one state in the nation in which to practice medicine.

Mettetal’s remarks were not so much made toward what Daughtery had said, but toward remarks made earlier by Georgio Proctor,  Democratic candidate for Senate District 14, a position currently held by Republican Lydia Chassaniol. The recently redrawn Senate District 14 includes three Panola precincts. Chasinol was not at Saturday’s rally.

Proctor called for additional spending on Medicare and more money for infrastructure and education.

Representative Gray Tollison, whose district doesn’t include Mt. Olivet but does include other areas east of Highway 6, said although his district doesn’t include all of Panola County, he wanted to represent Panola County as District 9 Senator.

Tollison listed infrastructure and educational improvements made through the legislature and drew applause when he mentioned the $30 million bond purchase to help Panola and other north Mississippi counties retain rail service.

Democratic District Four supervisor challenger Don Phelps stressed economic development and stated that creating jobs would have a big impact on the county leading to additional growth.

Former supervisor Jerry Perkins said he thought economic development, “was a big deal. And so are potholes and gravel roads,” and later stressed keeping taxes “down.”

Democratic challenger Keith Moore, who serves as South Panola School District’s Maintenance director, said, “Keeping the school districts up to par,” was what would benefit the county most in the area of economic development.

Incumbent District Four Supervisor Kelly Morris said that leadership was important in the position of supervisor. In his second term, Morris is currently president of that board and said that as supervisor he must often put his feelings aside and do what is best for Panola County.
Candidates for Justice Court Judge were cordial with each giving a list of qualifications or biographical data.

Incumbent Circuit Clerk Melissa Meek-Phelps and Democratic challenger  Latessa Salter said they would follow the law concerning same sex marriage, while both noted conflicts in their religious beliefs concerning the ruling.

Incumbent Sheriff Dennis Darby whose name will be on the November ballot with another independent candidate, former Sheriff Otis Griffin, and the winner of the Democratic primary between Roger Vanlandingham and Mark Whitten, spoke of record drug arrests and quality staff.

Whitten also spoke, citing former law enforcement experience with the city of Batesville and the sheriff’s department.

Constable Raye Hawkins and challenger Albert Perkins also listed law enforcement experience while exchanging pleasantries after their time at the microphone.