Reeves, Gunn Make Early Decisions
While the story to this point has been how tight-lipped Tate Reeves and Philip Gunn are being regarding their picks for chairmanships, a few selections have been made, while plenty speculation has certainly occurred. Of course Gunn still has to be voted on as Speaker of the House, and there is no reason to think that won’t happen. But he, along with Reeves, who still has to be inaugurated before he takes over, have both been pretty quiet.
We do know who Gunn wants to be his number two man. He has tapped Greg Snowden to serve as the pro tempore. With Billy McCoy as Speaker, this position was last held by J.P. Compretta who retired rather than run for re-election. Compretta had been around forever, dating back to 1976, while Snowden is set to begin his fourth term. The Meridian native first won election in 1999 defeating incumbent Democrat Norma Bourdeaux. His closest election occurred this past November when he defeated Democrat Gary Houston by about eight points in a three-way race.
Snowden has been in the GOP leadership while they were in the minority, he is a very strong conservative, and when he is described you will most likely hear how smart he is and the knowledge of House rules and procedures that he has. Needless to say, this is well deserved for Snowden, who was speculated to be a Speaker candidate but didn’t throw his hat in the ring, and it will be a benefit to the new House majority.
A couple other fun facts on Snowden: His ancestors were some of the original settlers in Lauderdale county, with his paternal great-great-great grandfather and his wife relocating to the Center Hill community in the mid-1830s. Later on, his great-great grandfather, William Burnice Snowden, would serve in the House in the 1870s, while his great-uncle, Tom Snowden, served in the House in the 1940s and 1950s.
On the Senate side, Terry Brown has been tapped to serve as pro tempore, and will be Reeves number two in command. Billy Hewes, who lost a bid for lieutenant governor this year, was the most recent pro temp. For Brown, he served in the House for three terms before being elected to the Senate in 2003 where he won a close four-man race. He has been unopposed in 2007 and 2011.
And another point worth mentioning: Brown is a Columbus native, meaning he will be the highest serving legislator from Northeast Mississippi. There has been talk of the region’s loss in political power, particularly with Billy McCoy retiring, but Brown will have a significant role in shaping the chamber’s agenda. Names like McCoy, Holland or Franks are gone or insignificant, but new leaders from the region have and will emerge.
Like Snowden, Brown is experienced, knowledgeable, and conservative.
Both Brown and Snowden have to be voted on by the members of their respective chambers. This is essentially a formality. But as the GOP begins their first session with a majority in the House and Senate since Reconstruction, they are certainly helping themselves with quality leadership choices.