Clay County, as well as portions of Lowndes, Monroe and Oktibbeha Counties are mourning the loss of two great community leaders this winter.
State Senator Bennie Turner, who represented District 16 at the state’s capital passed away at 64 in early December.
On Sunday, constituents represented by David Gibbs in District 36 learned he too had died in Tupelo.
The two men were known locally as family men who used their talents to better their community at home as well as in their respective political offices.
The two deaths also represent a tremendous loss at the state level.
Last Tuesday began a 90-day legislative session in Jackson that is said to be top heavy with education reform, among other issues that affect everyone in the state.
Today, voters will go to the polls to decide who will fill Turner’s vacant seat. As of Monday, however, Gov. Phil Bryant had not set a date for a special election to decide who will fill Gibbs’ seat in the house.
He has 30 days, and the election must take place at least 40 days from the time it is set.
In the event of a runoff, the election to fill the District 36 seat may last beyond the current session, leaving the district without an open vote.
District 37 Representative Gary Chism, who represents portions of Clay, Lowndes and Oktibbeha Counties said on Monday that Clay County will be well-represented, even if seat 36 is not filled this session.
“I represent a large part of Clay County,” Chism said. “Even though we may not have that extra vote, we will do our best to make up for it. I think we will be able to take care of Clay County.”
Chism says that even though it’s possible a vote on the open floor may be lost this session, he is a member of the private committees in the house and will represent Clay County in those committee meetings.
Chism has been the District 37 representative since 2000 and he serves on the following committees: Insurance – Chair, Conservation and Water Resources, Education, Fees and Salaries of Public Officers, Judiciary B, Judiciary En Banc, Local and Private Legislation, Rules and Ways and Means.
Chism says that if anyone in Clay County or any constituent has concerns or questions, they may contact him at 662-386-6619.