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Northern District Transportation Commissioner’s Special Election Outlook

By Sandra Knispel | Published 05 Jan 2011 09:44am | comments
Dem. House Representative Warner McBride, one of the frontrunners of the seven-candidate race

No fewer than seven candidates are currently trying to persuade voters that each of them is the right man for the job. A special election next Tuesday may decide who will replace the late Northern District Transportation Commissioner Bill Minor. But, as MPB’s Sandra Knispel reports, that may not be the end of the story.

With seven guys vying for at least half the pie, the mathematical odds are against anyone's winning outright the Northern District Transportation Commissioner's race, making a runoff election on February 1st likely. One of the frontrunners with good name recognition is Democratic House Representative Warner McBride, whose strongest asset is the fact that he serves currently as chairman of the House Transportation Committee.

“I’m really interested in maintaining those 50,000 private sector jobs that are associated with the transportation industry," McBride said. "And I think with the experience that I have, both practical and governmental, that I can begin doing that job on the first day, making sure that those jobs are maintained and protected.”

But don’t discount a Department of Transportation 17-year veteran, say political pundits, pointing at Minor’s former special assistant Joey Hood.

”I’ve become accustomed to the position that I have of helping the people in north Mississippi and our employees here at MDOT," Hood explained. "Commissioner Minor had us heading in the right direction and I want to see that the thigs he had going are carried out and then move on to some more issues that we have.”

Tippah County District 4 Supervisor Dennis Graham also plays a key role in the race, say political observers and even some of his competitors.
One who already made a run at the job in 2003 but then was called to military service in Iraq for six months is DeSoto County Schools transportation director John Caldwell.

“Listening is probably the most important part of this job and I’m a good listener," Caldwell describes his candidacy. "We’re representing the public, we’re representing the people of this community and I think that’s where we’ve really been lacking.”

Also running are Bill Minor’s younger brother and business partner Ray Minor, Grenada business owner Larry Lee, and Mike Tagert, president of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Authority.

Sandra Knispel, MPB News, Oxford.

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Dem. House Representative Warner McBride, one of the frontrunners of the seven-candidate race


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