In Mississippi, politics definitely controls the highways - not to mention bridges, airports, railroads, truck safety, and public transportation. And who wins the election for Southern District Transportation Commissioner will make a HUGE difference.
Here's how it works. Mississippi has three elected Transportation Commissioners for three Districts: Southern (that's us), Central, and Northern. These Commissioners hire the Executive Director (currently our former Mayor Butch Brown) who has tremendous power over the Department (MDOT).
Right now, the Northern District has a Democratic Commissioner, Bill Minor, and he has no opposition in the election. The Central District has a Republican Commissioner, Dick Hall, and he has a Democratic opponent Rudy Warnock. Our Southern District has a Democratic Commissioner, Wayne Brown (no relation to Butch), and he has a Republican opponent Larry Benefield. The two Democrats support Butch Brown, and the Republican would fire him in a heartbeat. So the outcome of the elections for Transportation Commission will determine who controls MDOT. Barbour and the Republicans want this badly. Butch Brown and the Democrats are fighting for their life.
I know there are a lot of Natchezians who aren't fond of Butch Brown. However, even they have to admit Butch has been good to Natchez as Executive Director of MDOT. If you want that to continue, you'd better vote for Wayne Brown. If not, you can let Barbour take over and get ignored again. There's another reason to vote for Brown - he's an engineer. His opponent and the other Commissioners appear to be professional politicians.
What do I predict? Both of these races are hotly contested and very close, but I'll go out on a limb and say both incumbents will win.
DON'T FORGET TO VOTE ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 6!!!