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 (crawfolk@gmail.com) is a syndicated columnist from Meridian.

9 comments:

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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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!!!

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