Nine of the 13 First District Congressional candidates for the May 12th election to fill that vacant seat spoke Monday night, March 23, in New Albany. Two other candidates did not attend but sent representatives to speak for them.
The Union County Republican Women’s Club was the host for the event held at the Magnolia Civic Center, and Sue Morrison, president of the club, presided at the meeting. About 75 individuals attended the event.
Although he had been battling brain cancer since May of 2014, Alan Nunnelee of Tupelo ran for and was re-elected to a third term in the First District House of Representatives seat in the November, 2014, general election. Congressman Nunnelee died of the disease in February, creating the vacancy.
The special election to fill the remainder of Nunnelee’s term is non-partisan, but all of the candidates running for the post are believed to consider themselves Republicans
In alphabetical order the following candidates made brief speeches at the Monday night event:
Boyce Adams is a Columbus businessman and previously served in a White House staff position during the George W. Bush administration.
Boyce Adams of Columbus, age 29, is president of TheBiz, a computer software company. A graduate of Vanderbilt University, Adams served as a presidential appointee at the Federal Aviation Administration and in the George W. Bush White House. He ran in the 2011 state elections as the Republican candidate for the Northern District Public Service Commission, but was defeated by Democrat Brandon Presley.
Sam Adcock, age 53 of Columbus, was until recently General Manager of the Eurocopter Corporation manufacturing plant in Columbus and a vice-president of the corporation. Adcock previously worked on the staff of former U.S. Senator Trent Lott. A graduate of Mississippi State University, Adcock said support for national defense would be a major focus if he is elected to Congress.
Nancy Collins, age 67 of Tupelo, has held the District 6 seat in the Mississippi State Senate since 2011 and is running for re-election to that position as well as running for Congress. She is a nurse, a speech therapist and was founder of Sanctuary Hospice House in Tupelo.
Ed Holliday, age 54, is a Tupelo dentist. Holliday, who operates a political website, said he would work to abolish the Internal Revenue Service if elected. As did several other candidates, Holliday said he wanted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.”
Trent Kelly, age 49 of Tupelo, is the District Attorney for the First Circuit Court District of Mississippi, which includes Lee, Alcorn, Itawamba, Monroe, Pontotoc, Prentiss and Tishomingo counties. Kelly is a Colonel in the Mississippi National Guard and served two combat tours in Iraq. He emphasized his military leadership experience as well as his legal career as factors making him suitable for service in Congress. Kelly is also running for re-election as DA.
Chip Mills, prosecuting attorney for Itawamba County addressed the Monday night gathering.
Chip Mills, age 30, serves as Prosecuting Attorney in Itawamba County. He was formerly an assistant district attorney and also serves currently as attorney for the City of Fulton and for the Town of Mantachie. Mills earned a degree in mechanical engineering at Ole Miss before attending and graduating from its law school. He and his wife Jada have two sons.
Greg Pirkle, age 53, is a native of Union County. He lives in Tupelo where he is a partner in the Phelps Dunbar law firm. He is a member of the BNA Bank board of directors. Pirkle emphasizes that he is “a fourth generation North Mississippian, conservative, family man, attorney and political outsider.”
Tupelo attorney Greg Pirkle, a Union County native and one of 13 candidates for the vacant First District seat in the U. S. House of Representatives is shown speaking. Candidate Sam Adcock is pictured at right.
Henry Ross, age 58 of Eupora, served a partial term as a Mississippi Circuit Court judge in the 1990s and later served as Mayor of Eupora. He has run twice previously for the First District Congressional seat.
Daniel Sparks, age 40, is an Oxford attorney and a native of Tishomingo County. His law degree is from the University of Mississippi, and he also holds a Master of Taxation degree.
Two candidates who did not attend the Monday night meeting sent representatives:
Mike Tagert did not attend the meeting but was represented. He is the Northern District Transportation Commissioner. He was elected to that job in 2011, carrying 25 of the 35 counties in the district, and is therefore considered a strong contender for the congressional seat. Tagert lives in Starkville and actually lives a few miles outside the First Congressional District. However, that is not a legal impediment to his seeking the job. The U.S. Constitution only requires that members of the House of Representatives be “an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.” Tagert is simultaneously running for re-election to his transportation commissioner job.
Quentin Whitwell did not attend the New Albany meeting but was represented. He is an attorney with the Jackson law firm Gibbs, Whitwell & Travis. It is not clear whether he is a First District resident, but, as is the case with Mike Tagert, that is not required by the constitution. Whitwell formerly served on the Jackson City Council and was president of the Ole Miss student body while enrolled there.
Candidates Danny Bidwell and Starner Jones did not attend the Monday night meeting nor did they send representative.