The Candidates Speak

80% of success is just showing up
-Woody Allen

These notes were sent in from an attendee at tonight’s Candidate Forum hosted by the Jackson County Republican Club.

No incumbent mentioned Singing River. Not even in vague terms.

Every new candidate for supervisor mentioned the pension crisis and called for restoration of the pension funds.

District 1

Barry Cumbest: not present

Gary Bell: Supervisor position shouldn’t be a family hand-me-down. Called for answers and restoration of the pension.

Sabrina Smith: Mentioned her mother is a retiree from SRHS after 32 years and all retirees deserve full pension restoration.

District 3

Mike Whitmore: Supported restoration of the full pension. He is in full support of transparency. Won’t hide behind executive session or lawyers. Will take calls from voters and speak for himself, won’t let a lawyer speak for him.

Ken Taylor: Supported restoration of the full benefits. Mentioned he was a past board member of the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation (JCEDF).  Editor’s note: JCEDF opposed Sen. Brice Wiggins’ hospital transparency bill.  Mr. Taylor supported the bill. See Mr. Taylor’s comments below.

Spencer Garrett: Mentioned the fact that a “quarter of a billion” dollars has passed through the hands of SRHS. Where is the money?

Mike Mangum: No mention of SRHS

District 4

Ed Reich: Not Present

Tommy Broadnax: Not Present

Troy Ross: No mention of SRHS. Did mention his three guiding principles: 1. Can I sleep at night? 2. Can my children be proud of me? 3. Can I be respected by fellow parishioners on Sunday morning?

District 5

Louie Miller: Not present

Randy Bosarge: Supported restoration of the pension.

John McKay: No mention of SRHS. Did mention his leadership and vision; his vision is about recreation: The horse arena and soccer fields in Gautier. Did also mention being a charter member of the JCFEDF, who opposed the hospital transparency bill.

Audience Question

A question from the audience was asked only to new candidates for supervisors: “Where will Singing River find the money to pay for the pension?” This isn’t verbatim, but it was asked and posed in such a way as if to say, “y’all are badmouthing the incumbents, how are y’all gonna do it any better?”

Mike Whitmore: I’m going to mention a name that no one is talking about. … Get Chris Anderson down here and you’ll find out what happened. Why he has been eliminated in all of the discussions by the hospital and Board of Supervisors, I don’t know. I can’t say how I would fix anything because I am not privy to the information. The hospital and the Board of Supervisors have lawyered up.

Spencer Garrett: Says one of the problems is so much secrecy in the county. That the county is in the same position as the city of Detroit and a bankruptcy judge was left to sort out the mess. The lawyers can force the hospital and county into bankruptcy. Decisions may be made by the courts that the county has no say in.  How to fix? We don’t know what we don’t know for a reason.

Ken Taylor: Says that in his talking to D3 residents there is overwhelming support for the retirees. Some he has talked to support an increased millage, others have opposed that in lieu of a sales tax. Overwhelming majority say we are willing to sacrifice to fix it. It’s fixable and we are going to fix it.

Randy Bosarge: There needs to be a full investigation into who/what caused this and make those parties financial responsible before the taxpayers. I am in favor of replacement of the entire Board of Trustees. It is upon the Board of Supervisors to replace the Board of Trustees. Figure out where it went wrong and hold those people accountable.

Of note: While not mentioning SRHS explicitly, Chancery Clerk candidate Chuck Fulghum mentioned the mess our governments, local, state, and national have gotten themselves into.  He read a few tenants from the book All I Really Need to Know in Life, I Learned in Kindergarten. “Don’t keep secrets, share, if it’s not yours don’t touch it, put things back where you found them” etc.


An earlier version identified Shane Langfitt as answering a question for supervisors candidates.  In fact it was Randy Bosarge; Langiftt is a candidate for constable.

An earlier version made reference to Ken Taylor’s membership of the JCEDF and their opposition to the hospital transparency bill. This has been clarified to note Mr. Taylor’s support for the bill.


4 thoughts on “The Candidates Speak

  1. Regarding District 3 Candidate Ken Taylor’s comments. You summarized my talk with this comment: “Mentioned he is a member of the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation (JCEDF) who opposed Sen. Brice Wiggin’s hospital transparency bill? Totally wrong. I would not have said that because I supported bill 2407 all the way. People who know me know that is true.

    What I said was I was a prior member of the Board of Directors. This was when I held public office in Gautier in the early days of the foundation. JCEDF has done a good job overall and is being emulated elsewhere as a great example of how to have an effective private/public partnership.

    Additionally in the Audience Question section of your post you identified Shane Langfitt as answering a question. That wasn’t Shane; it was Randy Bosarge.

    Ken Taylor
    Candidate District 3 Supervisor

    • Thanks. Will clarify your comments. Did not mean to suggest you personally opposed the bill, just noting the fact that the JCEDF did.

  2. I appreciate you sharing my comments very much. You are correct that I did not mention SRHS directly. My reference to those tenants was absolutely directed at every political scandal in recent past, especially on our gulf coast. SRHS, DMR, DMR fishing trips, Harrison County BOS corruption. The list goes on. I would however like to make my position clear by sharing with you my recent Facebook post. Also, please note that I am the only candidate for Chancery Clerk making my position known on this issue. There’s a reason for that, but in the interest of keeping my campaign positive, I’ll let y’all figure that out on your own.
    My Post:
    SRHS has proposed and the BOS are considering funding the retirement plan at 90%. I find it despicable that SRHS and the county can spend untold millions of taxpayer dollars on hospital expansion and doctors’ office acquisitions, but can’t fully invest in the assets that make the hospital system so great, its employees!
    I urge the retirees to continue fighting for 100%! You deserve every dollar you were promised.
    If elected, the public will be the first to know when these type of back door deals are attempted.
    Fight for your rights people! Help me break the cycle! I humbly ask for your support and vote on August 4th!

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