In Moak, Dearing, area may see key legislative leaders

Published 6:00 pm Sunday, May 29, 2011

The political winds could soon be blowing favorably in SouthwestMississippi’s direction.

Pending the outcome of this year’s elections – and perhaps moreimportantly the outcome of a lingering redistricting feud – wecould see two of the Mississippi Legislature’s most powerfulmembers hail from this area.

Sen. Bob Dearing, D-Natchez, already has more than 30 years in theLegislature and his seniority will only increase with a successfulre-election campaign. Dearing is chairman of the Oil, Gas and OtherMinerals Committee and also serves on several other importantlegislative panels.

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In the House, Lincoln County’s own Bobby Moak, D-Bogue Chitto,announced this week his intentions to try and become Speaker of theHouse. That position, considered by many to be one of the mostpowerful offices in state government, is becoming vacant with theretirement of current Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi.

There has been little doubt that Moak, a longtime McCoy ally, wouldpursue the Speaker’s post. However, he delayed announcing his moveuntil McCoy formally announced his intentions.

Whether Moak can claim the lofty title remains to be seen, as muchwill depend on how a legislative redistricting battle shakes out.Republicans are battling to increase their influence in the Housewhile Democrats are working hard to hold on to their power base instate government.

Furthermore, what other representatives who also have their eyes onthe Speaker’s post could impact Moak’s fortunes.

Still, with Dearing’s ascension in the senatorial ranks and thepossibility of Moak’s Speaker race success, Southwest Mississippicould be in good stead when the next legislative sessionconvenes.