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▣ Report on DeSoto County meeting 2/21/08 - Commercial Appeal

posted by admin on February 23rd, 2008 at 9:38 AM (MST)

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DeSoto Dems draw crowd
About 100 hear from congressional candidates
By William C. Bayne (Contact)
Saturday, February 23, 2008

DeSoto County Democrats had their biggest meeting in perhaps two decades Thursday night to hear candidates for congressional races.

The meeting at the Courthouse in Hernando drew former governor Ronnie Musgrove in his bid for the Senate seat vacated by former senator Trent Lott; Erik Fleming, campaigning for his party's nomination to run against Sen. Thad Cochran; House candidates Travis Childers, Marshall Coleman and Brian Neely, and Gloria Holland, the wife of House candidate Steve Holland.

"This (crowd of about 100) blows me away," beamed party chairman Samuel Williams. "But it's not enough to show up. We need to roll up our sleeves and work."

The parade of Democratic Party hopefuls through the county is being mirrored by Republican Party candidates, who are suddenly facing two elections back-to-back: The primaries for the General Election on March 11 and the special election for the House seat vacated by Sen. Roger Wicker April 22.

"The American dream has hit a ceiling," said Musgrove, after likening a visit in DeSoto County to being at home.

He said the federal deficit has passed the $9 trillion mark, with annual interest of $450 billion.

"I balanced the budget each year I served as governor," he said. "We kept our finances strong, but we kept our priorities intact."

Musgrove promised to "fight for fiscal responsibility and to stop fiscal insanity" if he is elected.

Fleming did not mention Cochran's name, but he referred to him as "the king of pork."

He said that increases in the minimum wage are not sufficient. "We need a living wage."

Fleming called for Democrats to go to work to elect a slate from the party.

"We're serious about this election," he said. "You are supposed to help those who can't help themselves. This battle is for real. We're hurting. We have real pain. But we're the ones who must act to do something about it."

Childers, the Prentiss County Chancery Court clerk seeking the 1st District House seat vacated by Wicker, described his tough times as a child and pledged to help bring an economic boost to Mississippi if he is elected.

"The people in Washington have dropped the ball," he said. "I have helped create hundreds and hundreds of jobs and I will fight to create jobs here. They're not going to drop out of the sky."

Childers said, "I am a member of the working class party. I am a member of the party that cares about people."

Gloria Holland was speaking on behalf of her husband who was working in the Legislature Thursday night.

She said Steve Holland "wants to go to Washington to work for the average family." And she said he had had 25 years' experience in the Legislature working for his constituents in northeast Mississippi.

Neely was in an attack mode. "What are we doing with all these resources?" he asked angrily.

"What are we doing sending billions of dollars to Iraq to build schools when we won't build schools for our own people?"

He said the people of Iraq are destined to resume civil war or tribal conflicts once the American military presence ends.

"Those people (Iraqis) need some love and they don't have it," he said.

Coleman touted an endorsement from James Ken Hurt, who has dropped out of the four-way race for the Democratic Party nomination for the 1st District House seat.

He said his campaign formula is "accessibility plus dependability plus accountability equals possibility."

He said he also favors a balanced budget.

While DeSoto County has enjoyed relative affluence, Coleman said most of the 1st District is stagnant.

"We have a stagnant economy and everything is stagnated."

He said illegal immigration is a problem in Mississippi, but he said those immigrants must be required to pay taxes, learn English and have a way through which they could earn their citizenship.

Williams asked that party members pledge to personally contact 25 other Democrats to ensure a strong turnout March 11. He also asked for cash donations to help with party finances.

"We need your help," he said.

-- William C. Bayne: (662) 996-1408


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