Meet your candidates: Sheriff

Published 7:55 pm Sunday, April 16, 2023

Each Lincoln County candidate who will appear on the Aug. 8 Primary Election ballot has been contacted by The Daily Leader and asked to reply to a questionnaire.

The same set of questions was sent to each candidate, even those who are running unopposed.

The responses are offered in no particular order, and no candidate had the opportunity to see any other candidate’s answers prior to submitting their own. No edits were made for content.

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Each week, we will present responses from two candidates, along with reminders of who their opponents are.

This week we present the responses from two of the six candidates for Lincoln County Sheriff. Incumbent Sheriff Steve Rushing is running for another term. He will face challengers Kelly Porter and Troy Floyd in the Republican primary. The winner of that primary will face three independent candidates in the General Election — Willie J. “Meeka” Gayten Sr., Henry G. “Bub” Simmons Jr., and Leslie Falvey.

Previous articles can be found at

Responses from Porter and Floyd are as follows:


Kelly Porter, Sheriff

Porter lives in the Bogue Chitto/West Lincoln community and is the current Lincoln County Constable, Post 1.

What is your assessment of the previous or current occupant of this office, and, if elected, would you keep it in the same direction or change course?

The current Sheriff has been successful in many ways. However, there is always room for improvement and any successful leader has to be willing to change if the current plan of action is not successful. Serving and protecting our citizens is the #1 priority in law enforcement. I believe community outreach is key to gaining public trust and being successful at solving and even preventing crimes. This can be done by making our Sheriff’s office more available to the public through civic organizations, churches, schools and department sponsored community outreach events just to name a few.


How would you address transparency and accountability of this office?

The more transparent our Sheriff’s office is the more successful it will be. We can accomplish this by being accessible to the public in ways mentioned above, through social media, news media and having an open door policy. Any law enforcement agency is expected to be held accountable for their actions as the people they protect in their community. With complete transparency and accountability to the people we serve in every aspect, our county will thrive!


What are the most pressing issues in this office and how would you address them?

As in any law enforcement agency, the most pressing issues are crime and the use of illegal narcotics. Reinstating neighborhood watch programs throughout the county would be a good start to crime awareness and preventions. Reinstating the DARE Program is a top priority. This Program teaches our young school aged children about the dangers associated with drugs and violent behavior. As I said before, community outreach programs are the key to solving and even preventing crime and in return our county will thrive! Also, a strong narcotics enforcement division partnered with other local and state law enforcement agencies is necessary to combat illegal narcotic usage and sale in our county.


How would your role in this office improve Brookhaven and Lincoln County?

Taking into consideration my training and years of experience in various areas of law enforcement and emergency services, my plan of action for the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Brookhaven and Lincoln County, we will be one of if not the most successful law enforcement agencies in our great state.


What are your reasons for seeking this office and why should voters elect you?

I have worked in emergency services in some form for my entire adult life. 19 of those years has been in law enforcement. I have a passion to serve the citizens of Lincoln County and I feel like the most effective way I can do that is as your Sheriff. Taking into account my years of experience in law enforcement, 16 years as your Constable, countless hours of training and certifications and a passion to serve, I am the only choice for Sheriff of Lincoln County!


Please share any family, personal information you’d like to include. 

I am a lifelong resident of Lincoln County. I am the son of Maxine Smith Porter and the late John Kelly Porter, along with three older brothers. I am married to Beverly Brewer Porter and we are blessed to be the parents of five sons: Samuel 17, Gavin 14, Nash 8, John Mark 3 and Ross 1. We are active members of Bogue Chitto Baptist Church. I have served as a public servant in Lincoln County for over 23 years, as I started out as a volunteer firefighter with Hog Chain VFD at the age of 18, where I am still a member. In 2003 I went to work full-time with Brookhaven Fire Department where I currently serve as a Captain. In 2004, I began my service with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department when I went to work part-time and worked my way up to a deputy sheriff. In 2008 I was elected your Constable in Post 1, where I have always served and protected with respect and fairness. I look forward to meeting and talking to as many of you as I can in the coming months. Thank you for your support and most of all, your prayers!



Troy Floyd, Sheriff

Floyd lives in Brookhaven in the Clear Branch community and is a probation/parole agent.

What is your assessment of the previous or current occupant of this office, and, if elected, would you keep it in the same direction or change course?

Our sheriff has managed a good administrative office during his multiple terms in office. He has been re-elected to the office multiple terms by Lincoln County voters. I am not sure if any past election term for this office has faced this many candidates vying for the position. I would give the overall assessment grade a “C.” Part of the question which states “same direction or change course” is what I think is driving the voters of Lincoln County to put forth so many candidates for this office. The course has been in the same direction for too long. While there have been improvements in areas of administration, patrol vehicles, jail, and minimum equipment, there has been little change to other areas of crime fighting. The office seems to be reactive and not proactive. Sometimes we see things get into a groove or rut, so to speak, and the same-old same-old way of doing things causes you to become complacent and before long things sneak up on you and tragedies happen when this takes place in law enforcement. Not everything has to change and it is important to keep things that work well in place, but the voters have already spoken just by the field of candidates that have been forth to run for the office. The times to shift course in crime fighting is this election term. We will have a new sheriff. “Who?” is the question now. I plan to answer that question by being elected by the voters of Lincoln County.


How would you address transparency and accountability of this office?

Transparency can always be improved. While the current office plays everything so close to the vest to protect themselves, that is not always the correct answer. Transparency can be a deterrent to crime. Criminals pay attention to crime prevention. Lincoln County gets its fair share of outside criminals coming to soft targets or where they think committing crime is easy. When you have some transparency, the word gets out and being tough on crime can deter criminals from coming to Lincoln County. There is a balance that must be struck with transparency and accountability. Often the one accountability a sheriff cannot avoid is the election cycle. The voters can always hold the sheriff accountable at that point. The office and the personnel it employs is different. We need to keep strong accountability for the sheriff’s office. That is how you keep the trust of the people of Lincoln County and this is not just words to say, but it is the only way to run a proper sheriff’s office.


What are the most pressing issues in this office and how would you address them?

I think the most pressing issue of the sheriff’s office is the reputation of being GREAT crime fighters. From the sheriff to the deputies, to the jailers, to the district attorneys. We must earn and keep the reputation that Lincoln County and the City of Brookhaven is the last place a criminal wants to come to commit crimes. Where do we stack up against our surrounding county neighbors and the cities of this great state? Unfortunately we are not at the top of the list for the lowest crime rate. As a sheriff I want to earn Lincoln County that reputation, because that will have a trickledown effect on our neighborhoods, businesses, communities and schools. To get there we will have to overcome difficult issues and the newspaper does not have enough room to talk about them all, but crime fighting has to be at the top of the list.


How would your role in this office improve Brookhaven and Lincoln County?

What makes me the right person to be your next sheriff? I have been in law enforcement my whole adult life. Always involved in some aspect of helping Lincoln County with crime prevention. I started out in the jail. Then I moved to patrol. I have served as a parole agent. I have arrested people for all types of crimes including murder, narcotics, stealing, simple assault, drunk driving, property crimes and as simple as parole violation. I thin what is unique about me is I have relationships with people that I have seen overcome their problems and issues to continue to become productive citizens of Lincoln County. I believe that I have a higher calling on my life to serve in this capacity. I have stated that we must be known as a crime-fighting sheriff’s office, but as sheriff I think that includes knowing and keeping compassion for the broken and those who have lost their way only to find themselves on the wrong paths. There are multiple wrong ways to go about life and most of them are actually very hard on the individuals walking down those paths. I believe as sheriff it is important to create programs that start at an early age. Such programs as Sunday school and educational programs in elementary schools like the DARE program. As a certified DARE instructor I have firsthand knowledge that these programs work. The first part of crime prevention is to prevent the crime in the first place through education. Then we must have stronger, greater and multiple community programs for the teenagers and young people. To keep them from losing their way before they have a chance to become an adult. Gang prevention and educational programs must be a part of what we do and what we foster in this county and city. We must work with the Brookhaven Police Department to exercise greater prevention methods and be proactive and not reactive to gang issues and crime. We must improve all the areas of all law enforcement all over the county and city. We must work with our court system to figure out ways that allow our citizens to believe they are safe when they come in to report crimes. We must figure out ways to investigate crimes together and with cooperation that allows our citizens to know that their best interest is of the utmost importance. We will earn the reputation as the last place in Mississippi that a criminal wants to commit a crime.


What are your reasons for seeking this office and why should voters elect you?

I did not start out seeking the office of sheriff. I, like so many others, had heard the current sheriff was not running for re-election. I was approached by people who asked me if I was going to run for sheriff since that position would be opened. The office of sheriff is a great responsibility and I know that you have to prepare yourself in many ways to take a position of such great responsibility to the citizens of Lincoln County. The one thing I had not considered was that it might be a calling placed on me by God and that you just do not say “no” to that without consequences. I was approached by someone I hold in high regard and respect and they told me that while they were in prayer they had seen me as the sheriff. I immediately went to prayer and I was given confirmation after eight months. I believe running for sheriff is a calling and not a job opportunity. I believe that I must serve the citizens of Lincoln County and that if I keep faith and servitude in front, that I will ultimately bring good favor upon us all. Do I believe that evil will take flight? No. Evil always tries to destroy good. I do believe in the Bible and it says in 1 John 4:4, “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.”