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Board of Health Nomination Causes Capitol Controversy

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 28 Mar 2013 06:29pm | comments

The Governor's nomination to the Mississippi state board of health is causing some late session controversy. -PB's Jeffrey Hess reports Governor Phil Bryant has nominated an outspoken anti-abortion activist to sit on the board.

Terri Herring, the state director of Americans United For Life, has been one of Mississippi's most outspoken and visible anti-abortion activists for more than two decades.

Her past activism could now be a source of controversy since the governor has selected her one of the eleven seats on the state board of health.

Herring's spokesman Keith Plunkett says she is honored to be selected and he believes that what he calls 'pro-abortion forces' will try to use her activism against her.

"So I understand that will probably be turned into that but it is not all about abortion it is about women's health. Certainly no one is more passionate about that than Terri Herring," Plunkett said.

Governor Phil Bryant says he admires herring's pro-life efforts, but does not want her nomination to be single issue.

"She is a hard working woman. A professional woman that I have seen involve herself over the years in many different areas. And I just believe that she will be a good edition to the board of health," Bryant said.

Herring will have to be confirmed by a senate committee and the full senate.

The chair of the committee says he will bring up her nomination following a state review of her qualifications.

Some Democrats on the committee are reluctant to talk in depth about her nomination likely because of her connection to the intense fight over abortion in Mississippi.

Kenny Wayne Jones is the Democratic senator from Canton.

"The only thing I can say, there are some questions that a whole lot of people have about that nomination that they probably won't say anything to you about.  Just from a personal stand-point, with me being a Senator, I am probably going to have to take the approach that my momma taught me; if you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all. And that is where I am going to leave it at," Jones said.

Herrings nomination could also face problems from the Lt. Governor who oversees the senate and whom she spent much of the past year lambasting.

If confirmed, Herring would serve a six-year term, starting July 1.

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