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Who will replace Harper in Congress?

With U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper’s announcement that he will not seek re-election, it looks like a possibility that two Brookhaven women could run for the seat.

Sen. Sally Doty and Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Cindy Hyde-Smith are being mentioned as possible candidates, along with a long list of others. Neither has confirmed or denied that they are running, but it is clear they are considering it. Our guess is they would not run against each other.

Either would make history for Mississippi since a woman has never represented the state in Congress.

Harper served his state well and we wish him well in whatever endeavors he undertakes. He currently serves as chairman of the House Administration Committee and pushed for sexual misconduct training for members of Congress. He also has been a champion of special needs while serving.

Both Doty and Hyde-Smith would have big shoes to fill, and both seem up to the task. Doty is in her second term serving District 39, which includes Lincoln, Lawrence, Copiah and Walthall counties. She was elected in 2011 to replace Hyde-Smith, who took the job as commissioner of agriculture.

Doty chairs the Senate Elections Committee and was a leading proponent of the divorce reform bill that passed during the last session.

Hyde-Smith served eight years as chairwoman of the state’s Senate Agriculture Committee when she represented District 39 before Doty. She’d held the District 39 Senate seat since 2000. She is the first female Ag commissioner for the state.

Brookhaven, Lincoln County and the 3rd Congressional District would be served well by either of them. It never hurts to have a congresswoman call your city home. Lincoln County won’t get any special treatment because of it, but we will at least have our congresswoman’s ear.