2 hope to represent area in Jackson

Published 8:06 pm Saturday, July 11, 2015

One District 53 resident is defending his seat in the Mississippi House of Representatives as a newcomer contests him this upcoming general election.

Democrat Bobby Moak, House minority leader, is running for re-election and Republican Vince Mangold will be seeking the seat as well.

Candidates are elected for four-year terms. According to them most recent data from 2013, Mississippi legislators are paid $10,000 per year.

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Mangold has a business background in lumber, insurance and farming, as he runs a farm as well. He said as his first entrance into the political realm, he has a no-frills, common-sense business approach to the duties of a representative. Mangold said a more common-sense approach is favorable over professional politicians, and that being the voice of one’s district is a representative’s sole duty.

“I just think it’s time for a change,” Mangold said. “I don’t personally know Mr. Moak [who is] currently holding the office. I know he’s been up there for a long time and I just think we need a better representative of the district.”

Mangold said the main thing he would like to see happen if elected is the full funding of education. Educating the younger generation is key to the success of the entire community, Mangold said.

“ They’re the future workforce and if they aren’t properly educated you’re not going to attract businesses,” he said.  “These days there’s more of a higher-technology focus [when it comes to employment]. You’ve got to be a better-educated workforce to do the jobs that are available today.”

“Everything I can do to stir new business growth to this district I’m going to pursue,” Mangold said.

Whatever can be accomplished, Mangold said he believes it should and can be done without raising taxes. He said less government regulation in business is what is best for businesses large and small.

If necessary to fund any of his efforts, Mangold said, he believes there are ways to eliminate waste and promote efficiency within government programs rather than raise taxes.

“ I think we probably could look around in some of the programs that we have across the state and see if there’s something that’s not being used or not working today,” he said. “If it’s not working, take that money to help with something that you’re trying to do differently. […] I’m not for raising.  […] Let’s do something different and try something new.”

Mangold graduated from Hazelhurst High School in 1982 before graduating from Copiah-Lincoln Community College in 1984. He then went on to University of Mississippi where he graduated with a business degree in 1987.

Mangold and his wife Michelle Loftin are members of Fair River Baptist Church where Mangold serves as a deacon. They have a daughter and a late son.

Moak, of Bogue Chitto, was elected to the House of Representatives in 1983. Since then, he’s served as a member of the Mississippi Supreme Court Drug Court Advisory Board appointed by the Chief Justice, legislative advisor to the Mississippi Oil and Gas Board and as a National Uniform Law Commissioner. He is serving on the board of the Lincoln County Forestry Association. He is the chair of a national committee that reviews and publishes state government’s emerging legislation and holds membership in a national 12-lawyer team that reviews and submits Amicus Curie Briefs on relevant state issues presented to the United States Supreme Court.

“I enjoy helping people and appreciate the honor of serving our community,” he said. “It’s definitely been a way for me to give back. I enjoy the give and take of various views that always arise when debating legislation and have become adept at the rules and procedures to successfully get legislation passed through the process.”

Moak said he believes it’s important not to just follow party lines, but legislators should study the issues and potential outcomes based on prior history.

“The job calls for daily constituent service,” he said. “It’s about helping folks navigate through problems they have with state government when they don’t know where to turn. It’s about being able to help folks and when you can’t help, to at least put them with someone that can.”

Moak’s plans if re-elected center on four tiers: education, healthcare, infrastructure and jobs. Moak said his education platform was the reason he was elected 32 years ago.

“I was first elected to save our local community schools when they were in danger of closure,” he said. “I did that job. Now a major focus of this election will be on not only keeping those schools but making sure they are funded at the state level.”

As for healthcare, Moak believes the federal tax fund would benefit local hospitals and providers if the state would accept it. He said Mississippians are already being federally taxed, but that money is being sent to other places like California, Arkansas and New York.

“Lincoln County will receive approximately $17 Million each year to be spent with our 67 healthcare venues and create 264 local jobs each year, if we just accept our federal tax funds,” he said.

Moak believes that infrastructure needs a maintenance program to not only improve roadways, but create jobs.

“I authored statewide legislation and made Bogue Chitto the first historical hamlet in Mississippi bringing home funds to fix roads and bridges,” he said. “We must do that on a larger scale.”

Finally, Moak said he believes if the first three goals are achieved new jobs will have already be created without any further tax dollars.

Moak graduated from Bogue Chitto Attendance Center, then attended Southwest Mississippi Junior College and received a BPA from University of Mississippi. He took short master’s course at Mississippi State University before completing Mississippi College School of Law.

Moak said his two sons are seventh-generation Lincoln County, Mississippians. He is married to the former Gerre Cumbaa, and they are Christians of the Baptist faith.