Gordon, Kilgore exchange blows
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 11:30 AM
The political punches and news from the Pavilion Wednesday came from local elected officials with state Senator Giles Ward (R-Louisville) announcing his retirement and Circuit Court Judge Marcus Gordon and his challenger Don Kilgore taking sharp blows at each other.
Ward called the Pavilion at Founders Square "the Mother Church of Mississippi politics" and said it had been an honor for him to speak there, and serve the voters of Winston, Neshoba and Leake counties in the legislature. (See story on page 17A.)
Kilgore, currently serving as the Attorney General of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, said he is running to unseat Gordon who he accused of failing to show respect to lawyers and victims in his courtroom. Kilgore suggested that Gordon believes the judgeship belongs to him. Gordon, who sat on stage during Kilgore's remarks, grew red-faced and steely-eyed as Kilgore criticized his judicial temperament.
When Gordon took the podium, he said never in three campaigns for judge had an opponent made such accusations. Gordon said he is running on his record as judge and district attorney and was surprised when Kilgore qualified 10 minutes before the deadline without a courtesy call. He said Kilgore had never raised these issues to him before, and hasn't been in circuit court since 1985 so would have little knowledge of his court demeanor.
The rest of the speeches were tame in comparison.
Central District Public Service Commissioner Lynn Posey said Mississippi Power Company's Kemper County coal gasification plant has serious costs overruns, but that the company - not ratepayers - would pay for those out of their corporate pockets.
Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshall Mike Chaney presented a new CoreControl cooling glove system to the Meridian Fire Department. The device allows quick temperature recovery by fire fighters, similar to the technology used by the German National Team in this year's FIFA World Cup.
Auditor Stacey Pickering said he would be releasing the annual exceptions report this Friday detailing public money recovered from misuse, misappropriation and theft this year. Pickering said his office has recovered more than $20 million in public funds since he took office in 2008, and Mississippi would be receiving a national award for accountability and transparency.
Attorney General Jim Hood praised his cybercrime unit and noted a coming concern for prosecutors is the misuse of 3D printing. He was critical of the recent Republican senatorial primary for its incivility and said a political blogger paid someone to lie on a video to falsely make claims involving voter fraud. Hood said he hopes voters will take a look at Democrat Travis Childers and consider him in the election.
Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves closed out the day praising Ward for his service, "Neshoba County's loss is Giles and Kay's grandkids' gain." Reeves said Ward supported his opponent in the 2011 Republican Primary, but after he won, they immediately began working together and Reeves spent the day before the general election that year in Philadelphia campaigning for Ward.
Reeves said he will continue his conservative agenda of a balanced budget with less bond debt, cutting spending, and education reforms focused on students.
Reeves said, "I have been told...the Democrats want to beat me, the moderates are trying to find a candidate, and even some of my fellow conservatives might run against me. Now, does this surprise me? Not at all. In every political campaign I've had, I've run against the powers that be and their chosen candidate. In every battle in the Legislature in the last three years, I have been in the middle of the fight. I have never been the favorite of the political elite, but the voters seem to like it...I ain't scared of a fight. You may not always agree with the stands I take, but you will never wonder where I stand!"
Earlier in the morning, Judge Vernon Cotton, who is unopposed for reelection, said the new criminal justice legislation this past session expands the options in his judicial took-kit to make sure the sentence fits the crime to both punish offenders and rehabilitate them. He said this particularly applies to addicts, the homeless, those with mental health issues or post-traumatic stress disorder.
State Representative C. Scott Bounds gave a legislative update and noted about the cool weather, "if this is climate change; I'm for it."
District Attorney Mark Duncan stressed his intention that everyone receive equal treatment under the law, and he will continue aggressive prosecution even in cases difficult to get a conviction. He noted he consults with victims before making plea-deals with those he prosecutes.
Central District Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall was scheduled to speak but was not able to make it due to back surgery. In a prepared statement read from the podium, he said he intended to be back at the Fair next year.
Political speeches resume Thursday morning at 9:00.