By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal
Republican Nancy Collins is seeking a full four-year term representing Senate District 6 after winning a special election in January to serve the final year of the current term.
She is challenged by Pontotoc County School District teacher Stacy Scott, who acknowledges he faces an uphill battle in the predominantly Republican district against the better-funded Collins.
Collins captured the seat in a six-candidate special election after the incumbent, Alan Nunnelee, R-Tupelo, resigned after being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
“I believe each of us can serve others,” said Collins, 63, a registered nurse and speech therapist and active community volunteer. “I feel called to be a public servant now, serving my friends and neighbors. I am not controlled by party interests or special interests but by my Christian beliefs.”
Scott said he has been campaigning while juggling his job as a school teacher and bus driver and attending play practice for the upcoming production of A Christmas Story at Tupelo Community Theatre.
The Sherman resident ran in the January special election for the District 6 seat. He said he had no intention of running in this year’s general election for the full four-year term until he became concerned about the future of District 6, which includes most of Lee County and a portion of Pontotoc.
“Our district deserves better,” said Scott, who previously served on the Sherman Board of Aldermen. “We deserve better education, better jobs and better opportunities.”
Scott, 45, a Democrat, said he will look for ways to save state funds – from supporting the selling of the state jet, to reorganizing the senior college system by merging some schools.
“I will represent the people, not special interest groups,” said Scott. “Voters need to look at who is receiving special interest money. I am taking no money from special interest groups.”
Collins has received the endorsements of numerous business groups, such as the Mississippi Manufacturers Association, but she said “the greatest endorsement I received is from my fellow citizens…when I was elected to be your state senator.”
She did receive a zero rating from the Parents Campaign, a statewide education advocacy group. The score was based on two votes where Collins supported less funding for public education than the Parents Campaign vouched for.
“I am charged with looking at many departments’ requests and I am looking at the whole revenue picture, not just one issue,” Collins said. “I am really very happy that education was funded at the same level as the year before plus having 86 million dollars of federal job fund monies.”
She said during the upcoming term the biggest issue will be “jobs, jobs and more jobs.” She said she also would continue to support public education.
Of the Public Employee Retirement System, which some have advocated changing, Scott, said, “You need to honor the promises made to retirees and leave it alone.”
Collins said, “My personal conviction is that ‘a deal is a deal.’ I believe that the first obligation that we live up to is to our retired teachers. Our next obligation is to ensure a solvent future for the present and future employees in this system.”