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PASCAGOULA — With campaigning for the Nov. 8 general election in its home stretch, candidates for House District 111 are focusing on direct interaction with constituents in hopes that will give them the edge.
The race features Democratic incumbent Brandon Jones and Charles Busby, a small business owner with the powerful Republican engine behind him. District 111 covers parts of Pascagoula, Gautier, Ocean Springs and Vancleave.
Despite being a newcomer to politics, Busby has the support of an array of key GOP elected officials, including Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, who made his endorsement official last week.
But Jones, who describes himself as an independent candidate, boasts a record of legislation to help stop Internet predators and get tough on domestic violence and stalking.
Jones recently received the endorsement of the state Police Benevolent Association as well as the National Rifle Association, which typically aligns itself with conservatives.
First elected in 2007, Jones said he has voted 40 times to lower taxes.
Rep. Brandon Jones, D-Pascagoula
Profession: Attorney with the Barton Law Firm
Family: Wife, Laurie, and children Ellen and Gray
Additional info: Earned a bachelor’s in English and history from Mississippi College; attended Wake Forest University Divinity School, where he was elected president of the Divinity School’s Student Government Association and received a master of divinity. Earned his law degree at Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law; teaches Sunday school.
Still, Busby supporters bring up the fact that Jones voted for former Speaker of the House Billy McCoy, a Democrat widely reviled by conservatives. They also contend that Jones misrepresents himself when he calls himself independent.
Jones has consistently said that the primary driver of his decisions is doing what’s best for District 111.
“If an idea works for the people of this district, I don’t care what party came up with it,” Jones said last week. “Party power struggles don’t interest me.”
He said that one of the challenges for south Mississippi lawmakers is to put aside partisan squabbling and strive for positions of leadership to bring about positive change, particularly in insurance.
When he was first elected, Jones said, there was no issue as important to Jackson County voters as insurance, and it remains that way today. He has served as the vice chairman of the House insurance committee.
But Busby said that he understands the insurance struggle as well as anyone. Should he win, he said, he will “move boldly to remove insurance as impediment to investment in south Mississippi.”
Hometown: Born in Laurel, and raised in Jackson County from the age of 3
Profession: Engineer, president and founder of Orion Engineering with offices in Pascagoula and Theodore, Ala., and Sirius Technical Services
Family: Wife, Felicia, and children Cayla and Teal
Additional info: Started his career as a wood-chipper at Ingalls before putting himself through both Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and the University of South Alabama; an avid outdoorsman who has taught hunter education classes, written columns and hosted television shows; coach and sponsor of Little League baseball; spearheaded campaign to put archery in Jackson County schools Â
Busby’s platform also calls for fostering a business-friendly climate that leads to job creation. That would include, he said, shrinking both taxes and government.
Those conservative essentials helped earn Busby the support of the Business and Industry Political Education Committee; the state manufacturers and poultry associations; and Mississippi bankers and physicians.
Jones’ endorsements include associations representing state Realtors, homebuilders, hospital, nurses and educators.
Jones’ campaign has raised $75,042 this year, and $156,521 since the last election. The campaign had $85,109 cash on hand, according to the campaign finance report from July. The next reports are due to the Secretary of State’s office this month.[eng: cq, this month is Oct.: ]
Busby, meanwhile, said his campaign has raised about $60,000 to date. His last campaign finance report showed about $39,234 cash on hand.
The candidates said they plan to spend their time between now and Election Day getting out and listening to voters.
via House District 111 race features Democratic incumbent and Republican newcomer | gulflive.com.