Shows, Pickering tout their strengths
By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
September 29, 2002
Democrat Ronnie Shows described himself Saturday as a candidate of the people, unaffected by partisan politics and the right man to represent East Mississippi in Congress.
Republican Chip Pickering said he can work with President Bush, work with Mississippi's two GOP senators and is the right man to represent East Mississippi in Congress.
And many of the 15 people at the Queen City Fair who stopped to hear the candidates already knew who they backed. Many wore stickers in support of Pickering or Shows.
Leta Solomon, 26, of Meridian said she is for Pickering even though she only caught Shows' comments at the fair. She said she doesn't see much difference among the candidates on basic issues.
Shows and Pickering made separate appearances at the fair Saturday. Both are running in the Nov. 5 election to fill the newly redrawn 3rd Congressional District seat in the U.S. House.
Shows now represents the 4th District, while Pickering represents the 3rd District. The two were placed in the same district when Mississippi lost one of its five U.S. House seats this year.
Also at the fair was independent candidate Jim Giles, who blasted the media for ignoring him. Giles said he supports the state flag and wants to represent "white county rebels" in Washington.
The real attention, however, was on the two chief candidates for the 3rd District. And both spoke on some of the same issues they have talked about throughout the campaign.
Pickering said his accomplishments include growth in the Lauderdale County area at Naval Air Station Meridian and improved infrastructure. He also said he fought unfair trade practices.
Pickering also said he will do what he can "to build our communities, build our infrastructure and industrial parks, bring new jobs and to help those who have been hurt by trade, like in Clarke County."
Pickering said a $3.2 million federal grant for Clarke County in August will help workers get job training, work force training, education, transportation funds and child care.
Shows, though, told fairgoers that 27,000 jobs have left Mississippi because of the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade agreements.
For Solomon, though, she hasn't been impressed with the Shows' campaign. To her, Shows has slung the most mud through television and newspaper coverage and direct mail campaigns.