Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus open to serve Black and other residents since 1976

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There are often questions about the role and activism of Mississippi’s Black legislators. Many wonder what issues or agenda items their lawmakers advocate for. Some also wonder how they might be more actively supportive of the work of the Black caucus members.

In order to assist in the communicative process, we present the following information, identifying the members of the Senate and the House, according to the counties that each represents. Contacting them can help us to help them in their job as they try to help us.

In the MS State Senate the following are current members: JUAN BARNETT, representing Forrest, Jones, and Jasper counties; BARBARA BLACKMON, representing Attala, Holmes, Leake, Madison, and Yazoo counties; ALBERT BUTLER, representing Claiborne, Copiah, Hinds, and Jefferson counties; HILLMAN FRAZIER, representing Hinds County; ROBERT HICKMAN, representing Kemper, Lauderdale, Noxubee, and Winston counties; JOHN HORHN, representing Hinds and Madison counties; ROBERT JACKSON, representing Coahoma, Panola, Quitman, and Tunica counties; DAVID JORDAN, who is not listed on the caucus’ website, but has long represented Leflore County; SOLLIE NORWOOD, representing Hinds County; DERRICK SIMMONS, representing Bolivar, Coahoma, and Washington counties; SARITA SIMMONS, representing Bolivar, Sunflower, and Tallahatchie counties; JOSEPH THOMAS, representing Sunflower, Humphreys, Madison, Sharkey, Washington, and Yazoo counties; and ANGELA TURNER FORD, representing Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee, and Oktibbeha counties.

The MS State House currently has the following members: JERAMY ANDERSON, who is not listed on the caucus’ website, but who has served as the representative from Moss Point; OTIS ANTHONY, representing Bolivar, Humphreys, Sunflower, and Washington counties; WILLIE BAILEY, representing Washington County; EARLE BANKS, representing Hinds County; CHRISTOPHER BELL, representing Hinds County; EDWARD BLACKMON, representing Madison County; BO BROWN, representing Hinds County; CEDRIC BURNETT, representing Coahoma, Quitman, Tate, and Tunica counties; BRYANT CLARK, representing Attala, Holmes, and Yazoo counties; ALYCE CLARKE, representing Hinds County; ANGELA COCKERHAM, representing Adams, Amite, Pike, and Wilkerson counties; RONNIE CRUDUP, representing Hinds County; OSCAR DENTON, representing Warren County; JOHN FAULKNER, representing Benton, Lafayette, Marshall, and Tate counties; JOHN HINES, representing Bolivar, Issaquena, and Washington counties; GREGORY HOLLOWAY, representing Claiborne, Copiah, and Hinds counties; LATAISHA JACKSON, representing Panola and Tate counties; ROBERT JOHNSON, representing Adams, Franklin, and Jefferson counties; KABIR KARRIEM, representing Lowndes County; HESTER JACKSON MCCRAY, representing Desoto County; CARL MICKENS, representing Lowndes, Noxubee, and Winston counties; SOLOMON OSBORNE, representing Leflore County; ORLANDO PADEN, representing Bolivar and Coahoma counties; DARYL PORTER, representing Pike and Walthall counties; TRACEY ROSEBUD, representing Bolivar, Quitman, Sunflower, and Tallahatchie counties; ROBERT SANDERS, representing Bolivar and Sunflower counties; OMERIA SCOTT, representing Clarke, Jasper, and Jones counties; DE’KEITHER STAMPS, representing Hinds County; RUFUS STRAUGHTER, representing Humphreys, Sharkey, and Yazoo counties; ZAKIYA SUMMERS, representing Hinds and Rankin counties; CHEIKH TAYLOR, representing Clay, Lowndes, and Oktibbeha counties; RICKEY THOMPSON, representing Lee and Monroe counties; KENNETH WALKER, representing Attala, Leake, Madison, and Yazoo counties; PERCY WATSON, representing Forrest County; SONYA WILLIAMS BARNES, representing Harrison County; and CHARLES YOUNG, representing Lauderdale County.

These men and women, according to their website, pledge themselves to represent our community. (On most occasions they are joined by a handful of white Democrats.) This means that they are most likely and are in the best position to support (1) fully funding public education, (2) Medicaid expansion, (3) living wages for workers, (4) fair apportionment and voting rights protection, and (5) other civil and human rights.

The job of advancing these matters, however, is made difficult by the fact that 2/3 of both chambers of the legislature consists of conservative Republicans who oppose them. This means that such critical issues rarely see the light of day. Most often their opposites, and things like educational censorship and cutting social services, are the priorities of the conservative Republican majority. 

This has long been the predicament of the MS Legislative Black Caucus members. Such, in part, led to the organization of the caucus first informally in 1976 and then formally in 1980. Since those early years, the state legislature has become increasingly conservative and Republican, making the caucus even more necessary. 

The active and consistent voice of citizens during committee hearings, floor debates and votes, and even publicly in the off-season can make a difference and can greatly enhance the caucus’ efforts to enact the community’s preferences and the caucus agenda. With the names of their representatives in hand, citizens can become more involved in the entire process. 

The current executive officers of the caucus are: Senator Angela Turner Ford, chairwoman; Representative Tracey Rosebud, vice chairman; Senator Sarita Simmons, secretary; Representative Omeria Scott, assistant secretary; Representative Oscar Denton, treasurer; Representative Otis Anthony, chaplain; Representative Daryl Porter, parliamentarian; and Representative Cheikh Taylor, sergeant-at-arms.

Since the caucus is open to serve, by all means follow it through its emails and other forms of communication. Contact the members, individually and/or collectively, by mail, phone, email, or any other means that is necessary. (Never let it be said that nobody knew what the Black community wanted.) Let them hear from you. 

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Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus open to serve Black and other residents since 1976

By Dr. Ivory Phillips
January 2, 2023