Candidates for local offices, governor speak at Old Time Political Rally

Published 9:16 pm Saturday, July 8, 2023

LOYD STAR — Voters and politicians alike gathered around a gravel parking lot and Case’s Grocery for the Old Time Political Rally. Ben Chopin belted out songs by David Allen Coe, Jamey Johnson, Waylon Jennings and Hank Jr and Blake Shelton as he played a guitar between speeches. 

Two little girls ran around yelling and screaming with joy. One had red white and blue sunglasses and carried an American flag and the other had a sparking star headband. Boys from Lincoln County’s 6U All-Star team played with a foam red ball and went around asking for donations towards an upcoming trip. 

Case’s Grocery has held the political rally every year since 1957 as a celebration of local politics for both the voters and the candidates. Three candidates for governor were present at the rally.

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Republican candidate Tate Reeves stopped by and shook hands before leaving, democrat candidate Brandon Presley walked in and shook hands with people and stopped to chat before speaking on stage. Independent candidate John Witcher spoke with people and also took a turn on top of the trailer to address the crowd of people taking on the pandemic as one of his biggest issues. 

“We will investigate big pharma and big government and the COVID vaccines,” Witcher said. “We will take America back for God and it starts here in the bible belt. We must fight together.” 

Presley took to the podium and shared how he was from a small community in Nettleton. He expressed concern about the ballot initiative and corruption and how he plans to take those issues head on. Additionally, he took to the offensive attacking Reeves for not staying to speak. 

“He doesn’t care about our communities. He had a chance to speak tonight but I guess he didn’t want to stay,” Presley said. 

Presley’s campaign undertook a goal of visiting each of the 82 counties. Before he went on stage, Presley said he believed he needed to personally meet the voters and listen to the issues most important to them. He has been to Lincoln County before when the Public Service Commission came down for the “Bright Future” Solar Pilot in 2016. 

Medicaid expansion is an issue which could affect people in Lincoln County. Presley said local hospital King’s Daughters Medical Center would benefit from Medicaid expansion.

“Local hospitals like the one in Lincoln County could close if we don’t expand Medicaid. When someone goes to the emergency room to get healthcare and they are unable to pay it leaves the hospital uncompensated,” Presley said. “Medicaid expansion would compensate hospitals and allow Mississippi hospitals like yours to stay open. The first thing I’ll do in office is expand Medicaid. Tate Reeves doesn’t care if the hospital stays open.”