The beautiful people have spoken. Y'all Politics rolled out its list of the 50 most influential people in Mississippi politics. They had their fun. Now it's time for JJ to have its fun as well. Here is JJ's list of the top 50. Some are beautiful, some are not.
However, there are a couple of modifications made to this list. Actual firms are included. The beautiful people list did not mention anything about Lord Snow yet the Mississippi Rose is somehow missing from that list. There are some other modifications as well but The Kingfish is not going to take the fun out of the game for you so you will have to figure them out for yourself. Here we go.
First of all. It must be assumed that whoever holds the real political positions are influencers. Those would be:
1. First Consul Phil Bryant
2. Leftenant Governor Tate Reeves
3. Speaker of the House Eddie Munster
4. Lord Protector Jim Hood
5. Secretary of State Gibbit Hosemann
6-9: All four Congressmen
10: Haley. He still has it.
11-12: Both Senators
13-14: Appropriations Chairmen of both chambers. They are the purse strings. Nuff said.
So our list has shrunk from 50 to 36. Who are those 36? They are listed below in no particular order.
15. Grant Callen of Empower Mississippi. He got out from under Forest Thigpen's wings, stretched his own and soared. When you knock off several sitting legislators and help reform state education policy, you definitely have some stroke.
16. Clare Hester: The powerhouse of Capitol Resources Group. While some lobbyists think its all about wining and dining, Ms. Hester and her staff run a mini-CIA and have a reputation for getting things done.
17. Steve Holley. The leader of the bond cartel. Look at every bond deal in Mississippi. Mr. Holley's Government Consultants will appear on most of them. He who controls bonds controls officials and governments.
18. Geoff Pender: His political reporting at the Clarion-Ledger is widely read. His columns always provide new facts and can change the political debate at times.
19. Andy Gipson. A Chairman who runs the House at times. 1523 and gun bills can be blamed on him.
20. Josh Gregory and Quinton Dickerson of Frontier Strategies. This earlier post says it all.
21. Clyde Muse. He gets what he wants and everyone leaves him alone. Period.
22. Haley Fisackerly (Entergy). Young and proactive, he makes his presence known at the capitol.
23. Clifford Thompson & sons. They know the legislation and procedures better than almost any other lobbyist (Rest assured, the ones on this list are all at his level.).
24. Hu Meena of C-Spire. Helped start the charter school movement. They have to battle the likes of AT&T so Mr. Meena makes it a point to know the game quite well.
25. Chris Gouras. Need at TIF? Want some sales tax rebate money? Need to make that pie in the sky development project reality? Chris is the man. He makes the public-private partnerships work. Politicians need him so they can make the schemes of their pet developers work - at least for the short term. He who controls the purse strings controls the power and Mr. Gouras controls a few purse strings.
26. Lord Snow. Perfect example is MDE. Lord Snow represents the Board of Education. Lord Snow represents vendors who have contracts with MDE. Lord Snow is part of the Bond Cartel. Lord Snow is connected to the Governor's office.
27. George Malvaney: Quiet but connected. He moves quietly behind the scenes, never tooting his own horn or making sure everyone knows who he is. Specializes in helping those with MDEQ problems and is known for getting things done.
28: Paul Gallo of Supertalk (97.3 FM): GOP radio. The mouthpiece for the Republican establishment. The Governor, the Speakers, and other such guests appear on his show. Nothing goes out without Davenport's approval.
29. Beth Clay of the Clay Firm. Look at the client lists of Clay, Hester, and Thompson. Those client lists alone command attention from politicians. However, you don't get those lists unless you are damn good.
30. Baker-Donelson. A platinum member of the Bond Cartel.
31. Forest Thigpen of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy. Defender and creator of 1523. Mr. Thigpen and his think tank provide the policy heft for many Republicans.
32. Mayo Flint of AT&T. Always a force to be reckoned with at the capitol.
33. Nancy Loome of The Parents Campaign. The defender of the education faith. She stopped charter school legislation in a Republican legislature in 2012. She is the leader of the educational establishment and funded by Barksdale and Molpus.
34. Marshall Ramsey. What every politician fears: Becoming the subject of a Marshall Ramsey cartoon. However, it is funny how many of them want autographed color replicas once they cool off. His Facebook page is closely followed by more than a few people.
35. Jay Moon of Mississippi Manufacturers Association. MMA? Nuff said.
36. Rick Barry. Chairman of the Board for the Mississippi Department of Mental Health. Respected and feared at the legislature. He is the power behind an agency that has the largest share of state employees.
37. Balch & Bingham. B&B is the bond cartel.
38. David Baria: He is the leader of the opposition in the legislature. Smart but arrogant, he makes the most out of a weak hand and isn't afraid of a fight.
39. Mike McCormick of Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation. Want to make animal cruelty a first offense felony? Forget it. He is the leader of the rural farmers in a rural state. Ag is big bidness in Mississippi and Mr. McCormick does not just have a seat at the AG table, sometimes he is the table.
40. Greg Snowden. Phi Beta Kappa. He is the brains of the House leadership. More than a few people who criticize the House leadership give thanks he is there.
41. Jim Barksdale. The Governor hires one of his staff to be his Education Policy Advisor. He funds Initiative 42 campaign. He creates Mississippi Today. Then there is Costco.
42. Worth Thomas. He makes the most out of playing bad hands, the bad hands being his clients. One of the few black lobbyists who can work with both GOP and Democrat leadership.
43. Dewayne Boyd of APAC.
44. Jason Dean of Tenax Aerospace. Put "Aero" in anything and eyes are going to glaze over in awe at the capitol. ;-)
45. Derek Easley of the Business and Industry Political Education Committee (BIPEC). Mr. Easley is the business community of Mississippi.
46. Anita Lee of the Sun-Herald. Old-fashioned gumshoe reporter. Her investigative reporting has broken more than a few stories of public corruption and at other times completely changed the coverage on an issue.
47. Kenny the Elevator Operator (until they kill him, the bastards.) at the Capitol.
48. Bobby Harrison of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. He is the source of capitol news for most of North Mississippi. He has practically a whole region of the state to himself.
49. Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs. Still one of the club even though he left the capitol.
50. Mr. Sam. You'd be surprised at how much he knows and who he talks to.
Honorable Mention: Whoever the SAC is for the FBI office in Jackson.
Now that JJ has made everyone mad, fire away.
One note: Sad that there are no more representatives of the media on this list. No one from TV. Bert is missed.