Notes on Northeast Mississippi Senate members

Nickey Browning, R-Pontotoc

BROWNING

BROWNING

Browning, 62, first was elected to the Senate in 1995 and serves as chairman of the County Affairs Committee. The longtime American Legion baseball coach switched to the Republican Party during the 2013 session. But before the switch, Browning often voted with the Republican Senate leadership.

He pledged when switching that he would continue not to vote along party lines, but on the issues.

Browning represents District 3, which consists of all Union, most of Pontotoc and a small portion of Calhoun.

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Hob Bryan, D-Amory

BRYAN

BRYAN

Bryan, 61, elected to the Senate in 1983, trails only Tommy Gollott of Biloxi in terms of seniority. Bryan currently chairs the Judiciary B Committee, but in the past has chaired a variety of committees, including the powerful Finance Committee and Elections.

Bryan, an attorney, is in many ways the most enigmatic member of the Legislature, often short-tempered. But Bryan, though in many ways the de facto leader of the Senate Democratic minority, is often turned to by the leadership of both parties to tackle difficult issues because of his intellect and his ability to find common ground.

Bryan represents District 7, which includes all of Monroe and smaller portions of Lee and Itawamba counties.

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Nancy Collins, R-Tupelo

COLLINS

COLLINS

Though Collins was elected in a 2010 special election to replace Allan Nunnelee after he was elected to the U.S. House, she has quickly become a trusted ally of Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves.

Collins, 66, is a registered nurse. She chairs the Accountability, Efficiency and Transparency Committee and is vice chairperson of the Education Committee.

Collins represents District 6, which consists of most of Lee and a tiny slither of Pontotoc.

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Russell Jolly, D-Houston

JOLLY

JOLLY

Jolly was elected in 2011 to replace longtime Appropriations chairman Jack Gordon, who died in office. Jolly, 58, a cattleman, is vice chairman of the Agriculture Committee and has been especially active in issues related to rural residents.

Jolly represents District 8, which consists of all Chickasaw, a portion of southwest Lee, and parts of Calhoun and Grenada counties.

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Rita Potts Parks, R-Corinth

PARKS

PARKS

Parks, 51, is a freshman and has been an ally of the chamber’s Republican leadership on most issues. She is vice chairperson of the Insurance Committee and in private life is a pharmaceutical director of quality and regulatory affairs.

Parks represents District 4, which consists of all Alcorn and portions of Tishomingo and Tippah counties.

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Bill Stone, D-Ashland

STONE

STONE

Stone, 48, is in his second term in the state Senate. The former mayor is vice chairman of the Municipalities Committee and is normally a solid vote for the Senate’s Democratic minority. He is a real estate agent.

He represents District 2, which consists of all Marshall and Benton counties and a portion of Tippah.

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Gray Tollison, R-Oxford

TOLLISON

TOLLISON

Probably no party-switch was more surprising than Tollison’s. Almost from when he was first elected in 1995, he was a leading voice for the Senate Democrats. But Tollison, 49, an attorney, switched days after being re-elected unopposed in the November 2011 general election.

Tollison, who had been active in education issues, was tabbed by Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves to chair the Education Committee and has been a key part of Reeves’ leadership team.

Tollison represents District 9, which consists of all of Lafayette and Yalobusha counties and a portion of Tallahatchie.

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Angela Turner, D-West Point

TURNER

TURNER

Turner was elected last year in a special election to replace her father, Bennie Turner, a well-respected veteran senator who died in office.

Like her father, Turner, 42, is an attorney. She entered the 2013 session late, but was placed on the Judiciary A Committee that her father once chaired.

Turner represents District 16, which consists of all Clay County and portions of Oktibbeha, Lowndes and Noxubee.

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J.P. Wilemon, D-Belmont

WILEMON

WILEMON

Probably no member of the state Senate has been more independent than Wilemon through the years. Wilemon, who seldom goes to the well of the Senate to speak, often votes with the Democrats, but has not feared parting with his party colleagues on key issues.

Wilemon, 73, a banker, was first elected in 2003, chairs the Municipalities Committee and is vice chairman of Business and Financial committees.

He represents District 5, which consists of portions of Tishomingo, Itawamba and Prentiss counties.