Sunday, January 21, 2018

Bill Crawford: Loss of seniority hurts Mississippi

Powerful seniority has given small, rural Mississippi significant clout in Congress. That clout looks to dwindle sooner than expected.

Since 1940, the state has elected and re-elected U.S. Senators and Representatives for multiple decades to allow them to accrete seniority. For example, Rep. Jamie Whitten served 53 years, Bill Colmer 39 years, John Rankin 32 years, and Tom Abernethy and Sonny Montgomery 30 years in the House. John Stennis served 41 years and Jim Eastland 36 years in the Senate. All rose to chairmanships of powerful committees.

Currently, Thad Cochran is in his 40th year, ranks third in seniority among 100 senators, and chairs the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. Bennie Thompson is in his 25th year, ranks 47th in seniority among 435 representatives, and is the former chairman and current ranking member of the powerful House Committee on Homeland Security.

On the verge of significant seniority are Roger Wicker, in his 11th year and ranked 41st in Senate seniority, and Gregg Harper, in his 10th year and ranked 167th in House seniority. Wicker chairs the Armed Services Committee's SeaPower Subcommittee and the Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet. Harper chairs the Committee on House Administration and the Energy and Commerce Committee's Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.  

Still with years to go before reaching significant seniority are Rep. Steven Palazzo, in his 8th year and ranked 227th in seniority, and Rep. Trent Kelly, in his 3rd year and ranked 370th.

Rep. Gregg Harper suddenly announced in December he will not seek reelection for another term. And rumors continue to circulate that Sen. Thad Cochran may retire before his term is up in January 2021.

Both would greatly diminish Mississippi seniority.

As names emerge about who may run for Harper's seat, or Cochran's should it open up, voters should take note of how long it takes to acquire meaningful seniority. As you can see Harper and Wicker, after a decade, are just on the verge of power. If voters continue to want powerful senators and representatives, they should look for candidates with the right temperament and experience plus commitment to put at least 20 years into the job.

Harper, age 52 when elected in 2008, is calling it quits after 10 years. Cochran, age 41 when elected to the Senate in 1978, is hanging in there after 39 years. Whitten was 31 when elected, Rankin 37, Eastland 38, Abernethy 39, Colmer 42, Thompson 45, Stennis 46, and Montgomery 47. Wicker was 56 when Gov. Haley Barbour appointed him to Trent Lott's senate seat, but was 43 when elected to the House of Representatives where he served 12 years.

Names and approximate ages of people mentioned for Harper's seat include Jason McNeel, 38, Joey Kilgore, 39, Whit Hughes, 42, Michael Evans, 42, Michael Guest, 47, Sally Doty, 51, William Shirley, 51, Perry Parker, 52, Mitch Tyner, 54, and Katherine Tate, 61. Names and ages of people mentioned for Cochran's seat include Phil Bryant, 63, Tate Reeves, 43, Delbert Hosemann, 70, Mark Keenum, 56, David Baria, 55, and Chris McDaniel, 45. FYI, Philip Gunn is 54, Steven Palazzo is 47, and Trent Kelly is 51.

Upcoming elections will show if seniority remains important to Mississippi voters.


Crawford ( is a syndicated columnist from Meridian.


Anonymous said...

We need term limits, not seniority to control more pork and debt than we can never repay.
All of those mentioned with "seniority" have been in Washington long enough that the dog off the Potomac has rotted their brains and they are more worried about what helps them get re-elected instead of what is best for the people of MS. They are out of touch with the real world from be sequestered away with lobbyist funds and special interest groups.... drain the swamp!

Flake Geldman said...

There was an error in Bill's column. Correction below.

Para 8, last sentence should read:

If voters continue to want powerful senators and representatives whose only focus is Chinese financed pork, diversionary lip service, open borders and kissing Haley's ass, they should look for candidates with the right temperament and experience plus commitment to put at least 20 years into the job.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Crawford,If seniority has been such a powerful force for MS, why does MS remain last on every list of good things and at the top of the lists of negative things? Its more than clear that these "esteemed gentlemen" (eye roll) are only in it for themselves and their money masters and have never had plans for improvements for us or MS. It's quite obvious you haven't witnessed the way the other 89% of average Mississippians have suffered under YOUR congressmen.

Anonymous said...

Do you guys really want Mississippi to give up $3 in Federal tax dollars we receive for every dollar we pay.

Anonymous said...

Do you guys really want to continue to let these "beings" rule us who: make laws for EVERYONE else but exempt themselves from those same laws? They promulgate laws against sexual harassment in the workplace but have a special system to deal with any accusations against them, they escape liability by keeping everything confidential and cumbersome to the victim, while assassinating the victim's character and if the victim somehow IS victorious, the victim is compensated from an account funded BY THE TAXPAYERS and the congressman is allowed to retire with a very healthy golden parachute
These same esteemed congressmen have allowed childhood hunger and poverty to flourish while spending obscene amounts of OUR $$$ on perpetual war. It used to be 1 in 6 US children go hungry everyday,now it's 1 in 5. While the newest daily figure on the wars we're in costs us $2 Billion/day.
They can't even balance a budget evidenced by the "looming gov't shutdown" but they threaten us with some BS guilt trip manipulation that we'd be loosing federal funding if we decide enough is enough and want to send someone with new ideas to DC.

Anonymous said...

All of these men cited in your argument Mr Cratford were either in power when the Opertation North Woods was activated, 9/11 "went live" or the "Conquering 7 Countries in 5 Years" plan was given the green light activated or they have helped to further the war agenda.
But ALL of them have contributed to the rise of the MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX which is the most anti-humanistic entity on the planet. So no, I don't want any of them to rule anymore.

Anonymous said...

They all passed the act that allowed the NSA's warrantless surveillance and spying on Americans and even extended the power of the FISA court with only 1 material change: requiring the NSA to have a warrant for certain surveillance if the target happened to already be under criminal investigation. This ironically offers protections to suspected criminals that the rest of the public simply doesn't get.

Buffy Springfield said...

Paranoia Runs Deep....
Into Your Life It Will Creep....

Anonymous said...

Who the hell is Bill Crawford anyway?

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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