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District 53 representative to be chosen

Several challengers are looking to unseat incumbents Tuesday and are hopeful voters will fuel their intentions at the polls.

Democrat Rita Goss, a former county department head, will face incumbent Vince Mangold for the House of Representatives District 53, which serves Lincoln, Lawrence, Franklin, Jefferson Davis and Pike counties.

Goss said her experience as Lincoln County’s Tax Assessor from 2012-2016 has given her the experience she needs to serve District 53.

“I feel like it’s time to step up and make a difference, and that’s why I’m running for representative,” she said.

Goss said she wants to expand Mississippi healthcare, improve public education and tackle roads and bridges. She has been endorsed by the Mississippi Public Education PAC and Mississippi Right to Life.

Goss said she is not in favor of raising taxes. Instead, she believes that money can be raised for projects by taking advantage of new sources of money like the tax on online purchases and the lottery, and reducing spending elsewhere.

“I believe that if we scrutinize the government and look into all the wasteful spending in our government today, we can find monies available for our roads and bridges,” she said.

Goss believes she would be a better representative for the district than her opponent because she believes she is more willing to communicate with constituents. 

“Every time I hear him speak, he says he didn’t ask for the job,” she said. “I’m asking for the vote. I’m asking for the job because I believe it’s important to communicate with the people of District 53. I want to represent District 53 and the people of Mississippi.”

Mangold said he continues to be in favor of conservative government.

He’s currently working on improving career technical education for young students.

“You’re going to see a push to bring more career tech stuff back down into high schools, where kids could get some king of dual opportunity to graduate high school,” he said. “Everything has been geared for them to go to college. Not everyone is cut out for college.”

Mangold said better training in trades on the high school level will help students get good jobs following graduation.

He believes his ability to represent the constituents of District 53 comes down to experience.

“I’ve got four years of experience. And experience matters. I learned that really quick when I got up there four years ago. Experience matters,” he said. “We just need for everybody to get out and vote. We don’t need them to take the day off.”

Supervisor District 1

In the race for District 1, Republican Dwayne Gill is going up against the incumbent Jerry Wilson, who has served on the five-member board since 2004. Prior to serving in the county, Wilson was a Brookhaven alderman for Ward 3.

Gill spent almost 21 years in the U.S. Navy where he was stationed at 12 different commands and served in multiple collateral duties such as a drug and alcohol program administrator, command career counselor, travel administrator, safety officer, building manager and education service officer.

He currently is the veteran service officer for the county, which is a part-time position. He is also an operator with Southern Sanitation Service.

Wilson has served as supervisor of District 1 since 2004.

Besides his longtime political career, Wilson serves with his wife, Ward 3 Brookhaven Alderwoman Mary Wilson, as pastor at Living Word Faith Ministry Church.

Supervisor District 2

With longtime District 2 Supervisor Bobby Watts retiring in December after 16 years on the board, three individuals hope to step into the position with a win Tuesday.

Republican Jerry McGehee has worked road and bridge maintenance for District 2 for seven years and believes that will give him the experience needed for the job as supervisor.

Democrat Cynthia Price has served as customer service manager of Sparklight (formerly Cable One) since 1990. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Southern Mississippi and has earned numerous certificates of achievement, she said. She has served as an a ambassador for Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce since 2003.

As an independent, Roland Robinson will appear on the ballot for the first time in the general election. Robinson has been an operator at Georgia Pacific in Monticello for 27 years. He believes supervisors should be more financially responsible to the public and be better stewards of taxpayer money.

He said he chose to run as an independent so he wouldn’t be obligated to a particular party.

Other races:

• Justice Court post 2 — Republican Roger Martin, the incumbent, faces Democrat Valerie Moore

• Constable post 2 — Republican W. Lavon Boyd, the incumbent, faces Democrat Mary H. Wilson, alderwoman for Ward 3 in Brookhaven.