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Democrats, Republicans vie for transportation commission

August 3, 2019

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Two candidates are running for the Democratic nomination for Public Service Commission in Mississippi’s central district, while two candidates are running in the Republican primary. Five Republicans are running for their party’s nomination in the northern district, while Democrat Joey Grist is unopposed there. Two Republicans are challenging GOP incumbent Tom King in the southern district, where no Democrat has qualified. Runoffs will be held, if necessary, on Aug. 27. The winners of the other Aug. 6 primaries will advance to the Nov. 5 general election:

CENTRAL DISTRICT

DEMOCRATS

— Willie Simmons, 72, of Cleveland

Political Experience: State senator for 26 years.

Professional Experience: Consultant, restaurant owner, former state Department of Corrections employee, former teacher, Army veteran.

— Marcus Wallace of Edwards

Political Experience: Mayor of Edwards since 2014.

Professional Experience: Owns construction firm M.A.C. & Associates.

REPUBLICANS

— Butch Lee, 63, of Brandon

Political Experience: Twice elected mayor of Brandon, previously elected as Brandon alderman

Professional Experience: Firefighter, worked at state fire academy.

— Ricky Pennington of Vicksburg

Political Experience: Not Available.

Professional Experience: Not Available.

NORTHERN DISTRICT

REPUBLICANS

— Trey Bowman, 33, of Ackerman

Political Experience: First run for office

Professional Experience: Former Choctaw County Republican chairman, has owned environmental company in the pipeline industry, timber mat manufacture and other businesses

— John Caldwell, 58, of Nesbit

Political Experience: Two terms as DeSoto County supervisor. Ran for transportation commissioner in 2003 and 2011.

Professional Experience: Retired as colonel from U.S. Marine Corps in 2013. Ran DeSoto County school district transportation department.

— E.A. Hathcock, 71, of Starkville

Political Experience: Unsuccessfully ran for Webster County supervisor, U.S. Senate.

Professional Experience: Military veteran.

— Jeremy Martin, 40, of Tupelo

Political Experience: Ran unsuccessfully for state House in 2003.

Professional Experience: Assistant secretary of state, former teacher.

— Geoffrey Yoste, 55, of Oxford

Political Experience: Ran unsuccessfully for U.S. House in 2000.

Professional Experience: Consultant for companies that sell to defense contractors, retired Army engineer, worked for U.S. Sen. Trent Lott and Gov. Kirk Fordice.

SOUTHERN DISTRICT

REPUBLICANS

— Tom King, 72, of Hattiesburg

Political Experience: Eight years on Transportation Commission, 12 years in state Senate, seven years in state House.

Professional Experience: Historic restoration contractor.

— Tony Smith, 56, of Poplarville

Political Experience: Current Poplarville alderman, won election to state Senate and Picayune school board.

Professional Experience: restaurant and food service owner, property developer.

— Chad Toney, 67, of Smithdale

Political Experience: Unsuccessfully ran for transportation commissioner in 2015.

Professional Experience: Real estate agent, retired Mississippi Department of Transportation employee.

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