Mike Espy has been around Democratic Party politics for awhile.
Now, he’s one of the Democratic Nominees for Senate in Mississippi (due to retirements, both Mississippi Senate seats are up for election in November.)
So, if you can, donate to Mike Espy.
Meet Mike Espy
Statement of Candidacy
After much prayerful consideration, and with the approval of my family, I announce today that I am a candidate for the United States Senate to fill the unexpired term of Senator Thad Cochran.
As Senator Cochran retires, all Mississippians can look with pride on his record of accomplishment. He was a tireless advocate for Mississippi; for its farmers, its rural towns; for its health clinics and for its schools and universities. His door was open to all Mississippians. My wife and I wish him the best as he pursues a well-deserved rest from public service.
Above the din of chaos, acrimony, and bitterness that characterizes so much of Washington today, Senator Cochran evidenced a calming voice. And though we didn’t always agree, I recognize that his deliberate approach was enormously helpful because it enabled solutions to be reached more expeditiously-with less posturing and partisan rancor.
It is in this same spirit that I offer my candidacy- to rise above party and partisan wrangling in an effort to appeal to all Mississippians- as we unite to show the nation, at the end of this second decade of the 21st century- just how far we have come.
My grandfather’s legacy serves as the foundation of this campaign. Born as the son of slaves, Thomas Jefferson Huddleston rose to relative affluence amidst the failed promise of federal Reconstruction. Except for the period of slavery, he lived in perhaps the most dangerous time to be an African-American in Mississippi. Yet he defied the odds and led his community with courage and resolve. Under the organizing theme of “group economics” he built a health insurance company; thirty-six funeral homes; a newspaper that boasted a circulation of 100,000 subscribers, and a hospital, in which my twin sister and I were born.
He didn’t foster guilt, or let hate overcome him. And he refused to let his emotions and the conditions of his time destroy the goals he envisioned for his community. He simply had too much work to do.
Similarly, the selfless example of my father, Henry Espy Sr., still serves useful purpose for me. Dad was the ultimate agriculturist, graduating as the protégé of Dr. George Washington Carver, of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. After graduation he became one of the first black USDA County Extension agents in Arkansas.
On my first day as United States Secretary of Agriculture, one of my staffers went to the basement vault and unearthed my Dad’s reports. As I silently read, I recognized that his refrains still echo forward into modern times: he felt that the agriculture agency in Washington was too large and slow, and that the stodgy bureaucracy didn’t treat farmers as priority “clients”, as it should have; he bemoaned the high costs of production, and believed that the farmers were not being offered enough support through the federal farm programs to secure markets for the crops grown by farmers under his tutelage.
Dad soon left USDA to move to Mississippi to take over the funeral homes from my aging grandfather. Cutting the grass, driving the family cars, comforting the bereaved, and “making” the funerals on weekends, I did almost every job required to sustain our small business. It is during this formative period that I learned the value of hard work, of being responsible, and of having to make a payroll.
Our parents, Jean and Henry Espy, passed on to each of their seven children certain beliefs that I continue to hold today- beliefs that I pledge to pursue and defend on behalf of every Mississippian if privileged to become your next United States Senator:
I know what it takes to have to fight for a good name- because I had to fight for mine. When false accusations are leveled I believe you have no choice but to fight. For me it took four long years before the record was finally corrected- but it was, and in the end I emerged triumphant. This ordeal made me stronger, wiser, and more humble and faithful- and I discovered that in Mississippi, unlike Washington, people who know you best would give you the benefit of the doubt. My respect and admiration for the hospitable nature and charitable spirit of Mississippians is something for which I will be forever grateful.
As a state, often we are defamed, dismissed and disregarded. Many of these criticisms are cynical, petty, and unfounded. But some criticisms ring true. Where we can do better, I will offer mature leadership- but where hostility is without merit, I will vigorously defend the communities and the causes of our state.
Lastly, mine will be an independent voice in Washington. As is known, on occasion I have crossed party lines to vote for the candidate who in my estimation would do the best job for Mississippi. After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, I cast such an independent vote. My view then remains my view now- whatever is best for Mississippi is where I will be.
If elected to this important position, I will work everyday to be a shining example of the positive qualities of our state- and I will work to unify this state like no one before me ever has. I am asking for your votes, your prayers and your confidence as we work to push Mississippi forward- and to rise above the fray.
We can do better. We have to do better. There is no more time for disunity and dysfunction. We simply have too much work to do.