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Locals react to resignation

Lincoln County’s friends and supporters of U.S. Senator TrentLott received the news of his forthcoming resignation with heavyhearts on Monday, but most remain positive about the man and thepotential for party growth that will be left in his vacancy.

“It’s like the old saying, ‘All things must pass,'” said StanWinborne, a local businessman and member of the county’s RepublicanParty Executive Committee. “There’s a time in all mens’ lives forother things. I hold no ill will against him – if it’s time to go,then it’s time to go.”

Even though the loss of Lott creates a hole in the RepublicanParty’s national leadership, Winborne feels confident about thepolitical future.

“I don’t think it’s going to shift the balance of power,” hesaid. “It’s going to continue to be a Republican-held spot. We willbe at some disadvantage on the national level because he was adistinguished and long-serving senator, but with a great state likewe have, I’m sure there won’t be any problem finding a replacement.I’m sure that made his decision a little easier – knowing we’llhave no problem finding someone as capable as he was.

“But he will be missed,” Winborne added. “You can’t be themajority leader and the minority whip and not be missed.”

Alvin Smith, another Lincoln County Republican, was eyes-forwardon Lott’s resignation.

“This is an opportunity for a younger person to move in, takehis place and start building seniority,” he said. “I didn’t want tosee him go, but now that it’s a fact, there’s nothing we can do butmake the best of it.”

When asked to speculate on the short-list of replacements forLott, Smith declined to name names, but he did offer some insighton the senator position.

“I wouldn’t guess, but whoever (Gov.) Haley (Barbour) appointswill have a year of seniority over whoever runs at election time,”he said. “I believe that the appointee will end up winning theelection next year.”

Smith went on to say that, as for Lincoln County, Lott’sdeparture will have no effect.

“Our real friend has always been (U.S. Sen.) Thad Cochran,” hesaid. “Lincoln County helped put him in office in 1972, and he’snever forgotten that.”

Someone who might feel the local effects of Lott’s leaving isBrookhaven Mayor Bob Massengill, who, as a municipal official, hasstood on Lott’s doormat many times.

“He’s always been extremely helpful to our area,” Massengillsaid. “Whenever the city and the county has had to go to him forhelp, he has always received us graciously. We know what a busy manhe is, but he always took time to meet with us.”

Massengill offered no insight on Lott’s replacement or thedevelopment of the senatorial position, but he hoped that thenewcomer would have the same amiability as the outgoing seniorpolitician.

“We’d all love to know who’s going to take his place,”Massengill said. “I hope it will be someone who is as easy to workwith as Trent was.”