By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – Mississippi’s 2013 legislative session kicked off Tuesday with one new member being sworn in and another member announcing his resignation.
At the session’s outset, Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, announced that Rep. David Gibbs, D-West Point, was resigning.
“Due to health problems and the desire to spend more time with my family, I regretfully resign from a position that I love and respect,” said Gibbs in a resignation letter. “I thank God for the many years I have served the people of my district.”
Gibbs served in the House since 1993 and was especially active in issues regarding agriculture and county government. He was a farmer and former supervisor.
“He is an incredible resource on agriculture,” said former Agriculture Chair Steve Holland, D-Plantersville, pointing out Gibbs had served as vice chair of that panel in the House. “He had the best people skills – very slow talking and very methodical. But he always demanded results.”
On the same day, Rep. Bill Kinkade, R-Byhalia, was sworn in as the newest member of the House, representing portions of Marshall and DeSoto counties.
Kinkade replaces Rep. Tommy Woods, R-Byhalia, who resigned last year for health reasons.
Kinkade’s swearing-in ceremony was attended by his wife, the former Debbie Pritchard of Oxford, two grown children, Sarah and Joe, and three grandchildren.
Kinkade, who had never sought public office before the House race, said he ran because “I felt an absolute need to do service, and I saw an absence of qualified candidates to replace Mr. Tommy.”
Kinkade is a business executive in apparel and sports marketing.
Gov. Phil Bryant will call a special election to fill Gibbs’ seat. Special elections already are slated to replace two senators who died recently, Jan. 15 for Senate District 16 to replace the late Sen. Bennie Turner, D-West Point, and Feb. 5 for Senate District 28 to replace the late Alice Harden, D-Jackson.
Like Gibbs, Turner came to the Legislature in 1993 to represent Clay County. Turner’s vacant seat consists of all of Clay and portions of Oktibbeha, Lowndes, and Noxubee counties. Gibbs’ District 36 seat consists of portions of Clay, Monroe and Lowndes counties.
The changes in Clay County are not the only ones in the Legislature since the 2012 session ended in May.
Rankin County voters on Tuesday night elected Brandon resident Brent Powell to the Mississippi Legislature during a special House election to fill District 59. The seat was left vacant by former Rep. Kevin McGee, who resigned over ethics violations in November. DeSoto County also elected a new senator, David Parker, who was sworn in last year, but was serving his first day in session Tuesday, the opening day of a scheduled 90-day session.