Supporters rally for Democrat Shows

Published 6:00 am Monday, November 4, 2002

Supporters of U.S. Rep. Ronnie Shows sang Friday in hopes of an”Oh Happy Day” Tuesday as the Democratic congressman aims forre-election in a hotly-contested general election contest againstRepublican Rep. Chip Pickering.

In between jokes and jabs at the GOP opposition, speakers at theLabor-Religious-Community Banquet stressed the importance onTuesday’s election on the national stage.

“On Tuesday, the eyes of the nation will be on this new 3rdDistrict,” said Wayne Dowdy, a former congressman from McComb, whointroduced Shows to the audience of about 160 supporters.

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Incumbents Shows and Pickering were put in the samecongressional district following redistricting after the 2000census. Tuesday’s general election outcome could determine whetherRepublicans retain or Democrats regain control of the U.S. House ofRepresentatives.

Ed Fire, international president of the IUE/CWA union, saidraces are extremely close across the country. He also mentioned therole the 3rd District’s outcome could have.

“As the 3rd District of Mississippi goes, so goes maybe theCongress and the United States,” Fire said.

Shows is one of four candidates to receive the endorsement ofthe AFL-CIO, said Robert Schafer, president of the state chapter.Others included incumbent 2nd District U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson,Court of Appeals candidate Jim Brantley and incumbent state SupremeCourt Justice Chuck McRae, who also attended and spoke at Friday’sevent.

“We’re looking at a working people’s agenda,” Schafer said intalking about union support of the candidates.

Rickey Cole, state Democratic Party chairman, was more blunt inhis assessement of Tuesday’s election. He said people have twochoices.

“You can be a Democrat or a damn fool…,” Cole said while alsowarning people of potential “dirty tricks” to discourage peoplefrom voting. “We don’t want to have Florida 2000 in Mississippi in2002.”

Speakers blasted Republicans for that party’s opposition tovarious Democrat-started program going back to President FranklinRoosevelt. Dowdy said Democrats had made a difference on issuessuch as child labor laws, minimum wage, a 40-hour work week, SocialSecurity and others.

“We can take credit that America is what it is today: thegreatest country on Earth,” Dowdy said.

Shows took opponent Rep. Chip Pickering to task for theRepublcan’s support of Bush administration programs such as tradewith China and a moratorium on Internet sales tax. The Democratcharacterized the programs as more examples of Republican programsthat have left the working class out of the plan.

“Everything they’ve ever done has cost this country and put usin the situation we have now,” Shows said.

Shows said Pickering and fellow Republicans were out to help”pharmaceutical companies, their insurance buddies andmulti-national corporations.” During his short speech, he alsotouched on his efforts to oppose a possible military base closingin Meridian, which is now part of his district, and opposition toSocial Security privatization.

“We have the right issues to run on and win on,” Shows said.