By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – State Senate candidate Melony Armstrong got her first taste of politics five years ago.
The Tupelo hairbraider had waged a one-woman campaign to lift the state’s strict regulations on her industry. At the time, Mississippi hairbraiders had to complete 300 hours of cosmetology school to get a license and an additional 3,200 to get an instructor’s license – even though cosmetology classes don’t teach hairbraiding.
Her efforts paid off; Gov. Haley Barbour signed a bill into law April 2005 that lifted those requirements and ultimately created 300 new hairbraiding jobs statewide.
Now Armstrong wants to use her legislative experience as an insider. She’s running in the Jan. 11 special election for District 6 state Senate seat, which became vacant when Alan Nunnelee was elected to Congress in November.
Although it’s a nonpartisan race, Armstrong considers herself an independent. She faces five competitors, one whom also lists himself as an independent. The others affiliate themselves with the Republican party.
“I hope to continue what I’ve done to promote more entrepreneurial opportunities and help more people empower themselves,” Armstrong said Thursday at her hairbraiding shop, Naturally Speaking.
“My goals are reducing the size of government, promoting traditional family values, standing against all types of racism and fighting for the unborn.”
She wants to restructure the state’s welfare system, which she said has unwittingly shackled Mississippians to government handouts instead of empowering them to earn a living.
Melony Armstrong was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but has lived in Tupelo since 1993. She and her husband have four children and, together, founded an interdenominational church, Kingdom Seekers.
Both serve as pastors.
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or firstname.lastname@example.org.