Clarion-Ledger from Jackson, Mississippi on March 8, 1996 · Page 15
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Clarion-Ledger from Jackson, Mississippi · Page 15

Jackson, Mississippi
Issue Date:
Friday, March 8, 1996
Page 15
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Chancery judge decides Moore has right to sue Friday, March 8, 1996 The Clarion-Ledger 3B i i.u'.m:na 1 Senate From IB By Beverly Pettigrew Kraft CIrlon-Ld9r Stafl Writer Jackson County Chancery Judge William Myers said Wednesday that the decision to sue tobacco companies is one for the attorney general, not the governor or the Division of Medicaid. The ruling comes nearly three weeks after Gov. Kirk Fordice and tobacco companies filed petitions asking the Mississippi Supreme Court to cut off Attorney General Mike Moore's tobacco lawsuit. , Fordice and the tobacco companies argue Moore brought the lawsuit on behalf of the Division of Medicaid, and had no right to sue because Medicaid is under the governor's supervision. Moore maintains the suit he filed in May 1994 is not just to recover Medicaid expenditures for treating illnesses related to smoking, but also to collect other costs including state health insurance dollars. The Supreme Court has not addressed arguments raised by the governor or the tobacco companies about Moore's authority to sue. Greg Hinkebein, Fordice's legal counsel, said Thursday, "We've got a petition before the Supreme Court and that's where we would like a decision on our petition to be made. "Our petition is before that court, not before Judge Myers." Myers is the state trial judge presiding over Moore's lawsuit. In an Aug. 25, 1995, ruling, Myers said Moore had authority to pursue the suit The two-paragraph order did not give the judge's reasons. Myers filed the Wednesday order in response to tobacco companies' Aug. 29 request to spell out reasons. "The court is aware of no constitutional provision, statute or decision of the Mississippi Supreme Court which gives the governor of this state or the Division of Medicaid the power to bring or maintain an action in matters of statewide interest. Such authority is reserved for the attorney general," Myers wrote. "When men vote for a governor, they have no thought that they are voting for a law adviser." Michael B. Wallace of Jackson, an attorney for Philip Morris Inc., told the Supreme Court Thursday: "The Chancery Court's findings are based on clear errors of law. "Nothing. . .authorizes the attorney general to file suit over specific objections of the state agency whose interests the attorney general is only supposed to represent as legal counsel," Wallace said in a document that seeks to supplement earlier legal arguments. Moore said Thursday, "Why do you need an attorney general if the attorney general cannot make decisions in the interest of the public? That's nonsense." Bill Allain, who served as attorney general then governor, is defending Moore in the petition Fordice and the tobacco companies' filed before the Supreme Court. Moore said Allain agreed to work for free. "We'll be pleased to have his services and help," Moore said. "He's somebody who has occupied both chairs and knows what the law is." ill O'Hara Name: Shawn O'Hara, 38 Politicalworking career: A Southern Baptist evangelist for 18 years, the Hattiesburg resident has TV and radio experience. He has published 16 books and claims to have penned 1,224 other tomes and more than 3,950 songs. He made an unsuccessful attempt for Democratic gubernatorial nomination last year, while his father Richard lost to Gov. Kirk Fordice on the Republican side. Shawn O'Hara lost the 1989 and 1993 Hattiesburg mayor's election, a 1992 bid in the 5th Congressional District race and the Senate race in 1994. Campaign highlights: Road-warrior campaign, traveling hundreds of miles a day to meet with media outlets across the state; semi-isolationist who wishes to end foreign aid and eliminate welfare programs that assist immigrants; calls Thad Cochran a "thief" but doesn't specify; offers to pay for a debate should he and Cochran win their primaries. Quote: "I'm tired of people like Thad Cochran sending our young women and men to Bosnia when Washington, D.C., is one of the biggest crime zones in the country. It's time he stops sucking his thumb and gets off his rear and does something about problems in this country." Name: James W. "Bootie" Hunt, 69 Politicalworking career: Hunt, retired from factory work for the last seven years, has lived in Oktibbeha County for two years. He sought his first public office in an attempt to unseat Sen. Trent Lott in 1994 but lost in the crowded Democratic primary. Campaign highlights: His reason for running is he wants a voice in government for at least one term and says his honesty makes him the best candidate. He's campaigned little and said less, making his bumper sticker a collector's item in the Starkville area. Quote: "I would like the opportunity to serve the people as their U. S. senator." 4if Hunt IS. i Cochran Temperatures get colder; early spring dreams melt By Bruce Reid Clarion-Ledger Staff Writer And you thought spring had sprung. Record low temperatures are expected across Mississippi tonight and through the weekend. Although daytime highs will climb into the 40s and 50s over the weekend, the frigid nighttime air could threaten fruit crops and some backyard ornamental plants. ' A high pressure system will continue to pump strong northerly winds and arctic air from the Plains states into Mississippi today. Skies will be clear, but temperatures in central Mississippi won't top about 35 today. "We're not going to see any moderation of these colder temperatures until the high pressure system moves east," said Jeff Garmon, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Jackson. A southerly flow of warmer air could return Monday, when temperatures may rise to 60 or higher. Temperatures will dip into the mid-teens in metro Jackson tonight and early Saturday, Garmon said. Lows could be around 10 degrees in extreme northern Mississippi and in the upper 20s along the coast. Today's record low for Jackson, set in 1971, is 24 degrees. The record low for March 9, set in 1932, is 22 degrees. And don't think this is winter's last bitter breath. "We may get another cold snap before spring kicks into full gear," Garmon said. . Dramatic temperature swings are not that uncommon in late winter, Garmon said. "We see this type of thing every few years," he said. ', Bobby McDaniel, a meteorologist with the weather service's agricultural office in Stoneville, said farmers and fruit growers are fearing this weekend's cold snap. "This is going to play havoc with the fruit crops," he said. McDaniel and other officials said commercial peach and blueberry crops could suffer damage. Wheat and corn crops also could suffer, McDaniel said. Homeowners shouldn't get too jittery about their backyard plants, said Felder Rushing, a horticultural agent for the Cooperative Extensive Service. Bradford pear trees are nearly finished blooming, he said. Native flowering trees, such as dogwoods and redbuds, can take the chill. "Most of the native plants are used to this," Rushing said. Other species, including azaleas and roses, could have burned foliage or damaged buds as the temperature dips below freezing, Rushing said. "If it gets below 28 degrees, there's not much you can do." Rushing said boxes or bags can be placed over small plants to provide some protection, but the coverings should be removed as temperatures rise during the day. Most of the damage should be temporary, Rushing said. "Sometimes you've got to take your lumps." Cold blankets state, 12A Name: Sen. Thad Cochran, 58 Politicalworking career: Cochran, a lawyer and former Naval officer, is serving his third term in the U.S. Senate after six years in the U.S. House. Rising quickly, he joined the Jackson law firm of Watkins & Eager after graduating from the University of Mississippi, becoming a partner in 2 years. His first political television appearance was a 1967 endorsement for Fred Thomas in the Hinds County Sheriff's race. He won election as 4th District U.S. representative in 1972. He won his Senate seat in 1978, the first Republican to win statewide election in more than 9.50 years. He is the third highest-ranking Republican in the House. Campaign highlights: Unopposed in 1990 and a seeming shoo-in this year, he said he hasn't forgotten how to campaign. He makes frequent visits to the state, pushing his support for agriculture, school prayer and business concerns. He calls himself a conservative, at the same time admitting, "By comparison, I'm more moderate than some of those people." He is working in behalf of Bob Dole's campaign. Quote: "I hope to be an influence in the making of policy at the national level to benefit our state's interest. I have no specific goals in mind other than to make this a more peaceful world. With Sonny (Montgomery) retiring, I will try to pay more attention to military affairs. It's good business for us and something I think Mississippi people support." Name: Richard O'Hara, 78 Politicalworking career: The Hattiesburg retiree is taking his third straight shot at political office after unsuccessful primary bids to unseat Gov. Kirk Fordice last year and Sen. Trent Lott in 1994. He is a retired tool-and-die specialist at Ford Motor Co., where he worked 30 years. He also ran a Fort Myers, Fla., motel. Campaign highlights: Working mainly from his wheelchair at home, he appears a bit less excited about running against his son, Shawn, with whom he lives. He plays down the family in-fighting, other than to say he and his son agree to disagree. He backs Pat Buchanan among GOP candidates and calls on voters to look at younger leaders to take them into the future. Quote: "Am I serious about running? Oh, absolutely. I was serious when I ran against Sen. Trent Lott and serious when I ran against Gov. Kirk Fordice. I want to get things done. I'm tired of the way things are going and want to put common sense into government." O'Hara Name: Ted C. Weill, 70 Politicalworking career: Weill is a World War II Naval veteran who served on the battleship USS Pennsylvania in the Pacific Theater. He spent the last 33 years in Mississippi, where he runs Universal Ware Parts Inc., a tool-and die manufacturer in Tylertown. He operates similar businesses in Kenner, La., and in Ontario, Canada. Campaign highlights: Weill faces no opposition in his first run for office until November's general election, He runs a self-styled "poor man's campaign" out of a motor home, in which he hopes to cross the state several times before the end of the campaign. He is running on a self-imposed two- term limit, and he takes no campaign contributions. His message is basically an agreement with the grass-roots sentiment that "something has to be done" to right government. Quote: "If businessmen take over in Washington, in 9.5 years time I'll cut your taxes 50 percent and still give you all the services we now have. If the career politicians spend any time thinking about you at all, it's 'How can we nail the American public for another tax they won't notice?' " i 1 !Jtj 1 i n race. Cochran was one of three senators nationwide unopposed for reelection in 1990. This year, four men have challenged him a Republican and two Democrats swamped in previous races, and a Mississippi Independence Party candidate with no political experience. "I've been very lucky. I'll let others speculate on why that has been," said Cochran, who has referred to his style as "low key and boring." His success might well come from Cochran's self-described "moderate conservative" nature. He's a man who seems to appeal to Democrats and Republicans alike even as he follows the GOP line in Washington, state Republican Party chairman Mike Retzer said. "Thad connects on a deeper level than just the Republicans," Retzer said. "He has a way with voters across the spectrum. He's conservative, but he's not a hard ideologue. He's popular because he does his business for Mississippi." Among Democrats who don't disagree with that assessment are former Mayersville Mayor Unita Black-well, a civil rights pioneer and former Congressional candidate. Blackwell has known Cochran for nearly 25 years as a man willing to listen. "Back when it wasn't popular to talk to people like me, he sat down with us and tried to learn from us. He's been a person who's been willing to represent all of Mississippi," Blackwell said. "He's a person you can agree or disagree with, but you're always treated with respect. I'm a Democrat; I'm not going to run out and support Republicans, but if a man has done a decent job, you have to give him credit." Looking beyond Super Tuesday, Retzer said he expects Cochran to collect at least 75 percent of the Nov. 12 general election vote and return to Washington as the third-ranking Republican in the Senate. His opposition appears less than formidable. His Republican challenger is Richard O'Hara, who has proven himself little more than a curiosity in previous attempts to unseat incumbent Sen. Trent Lott and Gov. Kirk Fordice the last two years. In the Democratic primary O'Hara's son, Shawn O'Hara, who has failed in several attempts at various offices, meets Starkville retiree James "Bootie" Hunt, whose shot at Lott's seat two years ago received no support. The O'Haras tend to change party affiliations with the frequency a fashion model changes clothes. An Independence Party candidate, Tylertown businessman Ted C. Weill, 70, joins the primary winners on the November ballot Even Weill likes Cochran, saying his target is changing the political system less than getting rid of Pontotoc native Cochran. "The polls I've seen show that 65, 70 percent of Americans want change in Washington. I've also seen the polls that show Cochran's approval rating at 80 percent. We'll find out," Weill said. While acknowledging Cochran's popularity, state Democratic Party Executive Director Alice Skelton wouldn't predict the outcome of the November election. She did say a strong Democrat could offer a challenge. "There's nobody unbeatable. I think it's just a matter of making their own political career choices," Skelton said of the state's high-profile Democrats. As to why none has stepped up since Winter's failure, Skelton couldn't say. Richard O'Hara and Hunt have also avoided attacking Cochran, and instead key their candidacies on representation of the common man and replacing the so-called career politicians. Shawn O'Hara refers to Cochran as one of the "thieves" in the Senate. He has not been specific, and many of O'Hara's criticisms are directed to "people like Thad Cochran," in essence demonizing the Senate rather than Cochran. Cochran won't respond, which doesn't surprise Retzer. In 1972, while campaigning the first of his three terms in the U.S, House, Cochran politely but firmly declined Retzer's offer to introduce him to people during a campaign stop in Leland. "He said, 'Mike, I know you have a lot of friends in this town, but you might have some people who don't like you. Where I want your friends, I certainly don't want your enemies,' " Retzer said. "He's always had a good political compass." He beat Democrat Ellis Bodron by about 5,500 votes to become the state's first Republican in modem times elected to national office. Unlike fellow Republican Sen. Trent Lott, whose appearances in Mississippi have decreased over his Senate tenure, Cochran has maintained a presence in the state and often appears for or lends personal support for local causes. For instance, Cochran has worked in behalf of the adult literacy program at Jackson State University's Continuing Education Learning Center. When it appeared funding was threatened five years ago, he came to Jackson to pledge his support and quietly paid for two tuitions out of his pocket. "He is very sincere and knows what it means to these adults to learn to read," said center Comm-nity Relations Director Amy McMahan, who has known Cochran since their days at the University of Mississippi. "I think he cares about the people back home." m ll ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT-RIBS!! W&DgK &,LP WAR (MR ftMW I I 2131 Highway 80 West in Jackson rllMjtL I PU"lrJTER&TATEI-iA irv I WILSON' Mississippi's 1 Dodge Dealer 944-1331 TOLL FREE 1-800-737-1331 E-MAIL: DODGEDLRaofcom lm Internet Address: http:ftww.neMow.eomcomwileon is Si. IS ribs! RIBS! I This Friday & Saturday have All-You-Can-Eat Ribs at Cridley'e. Tender, meaty, BBQ fjork ribs, served with slaw, beans & hot bread for just $11.95. Now this is special! 1428 Old Square Rd 362.8600 3 5 i ? iw5MStmx xmXBWXXrXXX. X x xxxx o It takes a lot to be a top cop - hard work, long hours and lots of dedication. Each month Regency Auto and WLBT salute one of the metro area's finest for outstanding work and for going beyond the call of duty in the Top Cops recognition program. Exceptional law enforcement officers are nominated for the program by their Metro Jackson law enforcement agencies for this prestigious honor. The nominations are scored by an independent group of judges and the recipient receives a plaque, a check for $1,000 and recognition on WLBT. The Clarion-Ledger salutes the Metro Jackson Top Cops and congratulates this outstanding individual for making a positive impact in law enforcement and a difference in all of our lives. TOP COP February 1996 SHANNON PENH Rankin County Sheriff's Dept. Published as a community service by

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