Burton urges others to join state GOP
PARTY SWITCH – Gil Carmichael, Meridian businessman and longtime Republican Party activist, and Marijo Denson, member of the Newton County Republican Party, congratulate state Sen. Terry Burton of Newton on his decision to switch to the state GOP. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By William F. West / community editor
Dec. 31, 2002
NEWTON A burst of cheers greeted state Sen. Terry Burton on Monday when he called on other elected officials and potential candidates to climb aboard the Republican Party bandwagon.
Burton was joined by some of the state's top Republican leaders, including U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, state Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall and state Auditor Phil Bryant.
Burton, a former mayor of this East Central Mississippi city, also was joined by Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck herself a convert to the GOP after switching from the Democratic Party early this month.
The Monday announcement was the third high-profile party switch this year. Besides Burton and Tuck, state Sen. Videt Carmichael of Meridian joined the GOP in May.
State Democratic Party officials could not be reached for comment.
Former desk mates
Tuck noted that she and Burton were once desk mates in the state Senate. She said Burton has long stood for senior citizens, children and public education.
Tuck said Burton's leadership skills were evident on Dec. 19, when he immediately made phone calls seeking assistance for the victims of the tornado that struck Newton.
Pickering, who recently won re-election to the newly redrawn 3rd Congressional District U.S. House seat, drew much applause and cheer during his turn at the podium.
Doors are open
State GOP Chairman Jim Herring noted that Newton City Hall once served as a church.
Burton's announcement capped days of speculation he would switch parties. He assured the crowd of more than 100 that he will be the same Terry Burton in the future as he has in the past.
After his speech, Burton talked about events leading up to his decision to switch parties.
Here is a sampling of reaction on Monday to state Sen. Terry Burton's decision to switch from the Democratic Party to the state GOP.
A.F. Lancaster of Newton, a security guard with the state Department of Transportation and a funeral home driver
Larry Davis of Newton, a supervisor of manufacturing at Peavey Electronics in Decatur
State Sen. Alan Nunnelee, R-Tupelo