By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
NETTLETON – Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley launched his re-election campaign Tuesday with a fiery promise to fight special interests.
Facing Republican challenger Boyce Adams in the Nov. 8 general election, Presley vowed to stand up for consumers over the desires of corporate utilities. It has been the Democrat’s mission since taking office nearly four years ago.
“We do not want to turn this office into a rubber stamp agency,” Presley told a crowd of supporters in downtown Nettleton, his hometown.
He was flanked by dozens of campaign signs and members of the Nettleton High School Band, who played “Eye of the Tiger.”
Presley, 34, admitted making enemies during his time on the PSC. He said utility companies dislike him because he blocks proposed rate hikes that pay for corporate jets and charity golf tournaments.
Telemarketers detest him for cracking down on illegal phone solicitations, he said. He even fought his own colleagues to open PSC meetings to the public and broadcast them online.
Presley also blasted Adams for his stance on a proposed lignite coal plant in Kemper County. Adams said last week he would have supported construction of the $2.8 billion plant had he sat on the PSC during the vote.
But Presley opposed it because it allowed Mississippi Power Co. to pay for the project through higher utility fees charged to its customers. It eventually passed the commission.
“It’s the greatest single rate increase in Mississippi history,” Presley said. “A 45 percent increase on residents and businesses.”
When contacted by the Daily Journal, Adams said he supports the plant but wasn’t sure about rate increases.
“It’d bring more jobs and power to Mississippi,” Adams said. “You can argue about who’s paying the cost … but he hasn’t said anything about how exciting clean-coal energy is.”