Nunnelee appears poised for shot at Congress

TUPELO – State Sen. Alan Nunnelee of Tupelo is waiting for the right time to announce that he’ll run for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010, a Daily Journal Editorial Board conversation revealed Tuesday.
“I do think now, I’m ready to step up things a notch to begin the planning process,” the Tupelo Republican said, noting the encouragement he received during a series of “listening” sessions throughout the region this spring.
Nunnelee is one of several Republicans mentioned as opponents for conservative first-term Democrat Travis Childers of Booneville.
He also is mentioned among possible candidates for statewide office in 2011, but Tuesday he set that speculation aside with obvious interest in Congress.
“Over the next several months, we will get in a more formal process,” Nunnelee noted.
While he sidestepped direct criticism of Childers, he said he’s disturbed by what he sees as the U.S. House’s rubber-stamping of policies by President Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California.
He also sidestepped direct criticism of Obama’s economic stimulus package, but said he would have preferred a program of greater investment in infrastructure and long-term benefits.
Nunnelee met with the editorial board to reflect on the past six months as chairman of the Senate’s powerful Appropriations Committee, especially how the 11th-hour decisions in June set the course for the state’s Fiscal Year 2010 budget, which began July 1.
He described the state’s financial difficulties as “three Category 5 hurricanes bearing down on the budget at the same time.”
The “hurricanes” were deep a deep revenue downturn, initial uncertainties about the federal economic stimulus and shortfalls in Medicaid funding.
In hindsight, Nunnelee said Gov. Haley Barbour’s last-minute special session proved effective and forced differing sides to deal for solutions.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.

Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal