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Doty ‘seriously considering’ bid for seat in Congress

A Brookhaven woman is “seriously considering” a bid for a congressional seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Sen. Sally Doty, a Republican who has served District 39 — Lincoln, Lawrence, Copiah and Walthall counties — since her election in 2011, said she hasn’t ruled out a run for Congress to replace U.S Rep. Gregg Harper.

Harper announced Jan. 4 that he won’t run for another term.

Doty chairs the Senate Elections Committee and was a leading proponent of the divorce reform bill that passed during the last session. She played a key role in passing campaign finance reform last year, too, but killed House efforts to include early voting and online voter registration.

She is also vice-chair of the judiciary committee and serves on committees overseeing business and financial institutions, drug policy, economic development, energy, finance, highways and transportation and public health and welfare.

Doty, a Brookhaven attorney, was elected to replace another Brookhavenite, Cindy Hyde-Smith, who took the job as commissioner of agriculture.

Hyde-Smith’s name has also been bandied about the state as a Harper replacement.

Since the qualifying deadline for Harper’s seat isn’t until March, Doty’s giving the opportunity a lot of thought.

“I’m talking to different people, but have not made a final decision,” she said. “It’s wise to be slow and deliberate.”

Primaries are in June and the third Congressional district has long been a Republican stronghold.  She said she would not be required to give up her job as state senator unless she won in November.

Doty said she’s giving the post consideration because she believes she could better serve the state from Washington. As a senator, she’s keenly aware of an intrusion of government into her constituents’ lives.

“It’s from the experiences I’ve had serving in the state Senate that make me want to even consider the possibility of higher office,” she said.

Doty said she was surprised at Harper’s announcement but she is excited at the stir it has caused as she’s fielded calls, texts and emails from friends and constituents hoping for an inside scoop of whether she will run.

“It’s time to evaluate the pros and cons,” she said.

The 50-year-old senator is at a point in her life where she can pursue a congressional seat, she said. Her children are older and self-sufficient. Ellen is starting dental school, Sarah is in college and Ben is a senior at Brookhaven High School.

She also brings a wealth of experience to the table, she said.

“I offer something a little different,” she said. “I have a record of legislative experience that I feel speaks strongly of me.”

If elected, Doty would be the first female in Congress for the state of Mississippi.

Sen. Sally Doty, R-Brookhaven