Nichols joins Senate race in District 39

Published 7:00 pm Sunday, February 20, 2011

Monticello Mayor Dave Nichols has announced his candidacy forthe Mississippi Senate.

The 50-year-old Republican who has run the county seat of LawrenceCounty since 1997 will run for the Senate in District 39, whichserves all of Lawrence and Lincoln counties and part of SimpsonCounty. He is the fourth candidate to qualify for the position,joining Brookhaven Republicans Bill Boerner and Sally Doty andBrookhaven Democrat Mike Smith in the race for the seat beingvacated with Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s run forCommissioner of Agriculture and Commerce.

“This is one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made because I lovebeing mayor of Monticello,” Nichols said. “I love serving thepeople, and that was the deciding factor. I can serve even morepeople in the Senate.”

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Nichols said he is a true Republican – he’s a member of the partycommittee in Lawrence County and has attended the state convention- but he’s not a true conservative.

“And I don’t mind saying that. I’m a moderate,” he said. “I like tomake sure we have money, but I also don’t mind spending money.We’ve done an aggressive road-paving campaign in my 14 years, ourwater and sewer system is in much better shape … and our policeand fire services have modern equipment. We’ve done it by beingconservative and running the city like a business.”

Nichols said the reason he would not run as a Democrat is becauseof the party’s positive stances on abortion and gay rights.

“I cannot give my money to a party that’s going to use that moneyto push that agenda,” he said. “I do believe in early education,and I do believe that, as the leader of the free world, we need tohelp people who can’t help themselves.”

The four key issues of Nichols’ platform are education, jobs,transportation and crime, he said. He touted transportation as ameans for attracting future industries that could bring jobs toSouthwest Mississippi, and wants to add a $1 fee to traffic andother tickets that would be held in a state fund and distributed tolaw enforcement agencies based on population.

Mississippi needs to implement early education and review the wayit funds public schools, Nichols said.

“I’m not necessarily saying we need to throw more money ateducation. Let’s take a look at how we’re spending those dollarsnow and make sure we’re getting a good return on our investment,”he said. “We keep throwing money at it, but we don’t improve thesystem.”

Nichols was born into a Navy family in Seattle in 1960. Hegraduated from Columbia High School in Mississippi in 1979 andattended Millsaps College and Southern Miss. He arrived inMonticello through his broadcasting career, working at and owningthe former WMLC AM station there.