By Michael Tonos/NEMS Daily Journal
Joey Hood, a 17-year veteran of the state Department of Transportation, officially announced Wednesday that he is running for Northern District Highway commissioner in the Jan. 11 special election.
The position became vacant when Commissioner Bill Minor died Nov. 1. Hood, a native of the Kirkville community in Itawamba County, had been Minor’s assistant since 2008.
According to a news release from Hood, his goals are to continue to work on converting U.S. Highway 78 to Interstate 22; continue construction on state highways 15, 25, 9, and 30, and U.S. Highways 45 and 278; and continue the progress on Interstate 269.
Hood said he believes “the people of north Mississippi deserve the advantages of four-lane highways that are evident in other parts of the state” and plans to work with legislators for funding to create them.
He also stressed the importance of a well-balanced transportation system to the state’s growth.
“Mississippi’s transportation system isn’t just about highways anymore,” he said. “With a commitment to rails, ports, public transit – our state is truly multimodal. But in moving our citizens and our goods, we cannot overlook the monumental impact that our enhanced highway system has made for the citizens of Mississippi.”
Hood joined MDOT in 1993 after graduating from Mantachie High School. He began as a general service employee and was promoted to bridge inspector before becoming the commissioner’s assistant, a job he still holds.
He said he will base his campaign on what he’s learned in those 17 years.
“I’ve got lots of hands-on experience,” he said. “I started my career at the very bottom and worked my up through the ranks. I’ve done everything as far as the commission is concerned except vote in a commission meeting. … I’ve seen it from the ground up.”
Other candidates who have qualified for the race are Tippah County Supervisor Dennis Grisham; businessman Larry Lee of Grenada; Ray Minor of Holly Springs, Bill Minor’s brother; and John Caldwell of Nesbit, transportation director for the DeSoto County schools.
State Rep. Warner McBride of Courtland is expected to make his formal announcement today.
Who: Joey Hood
Hometown: Kirkville community in Itawamba County
Family: Two children, 10 and 6
Education: Mantachie High School
Experience: 17 years at state Department of Transportation, served as bridge inspector and assistant to Commissioner Bill Minor