MOSS POINT—Mississippi House Rep. Jeramey Anderson announced his campaign today to become the next mayor of Moss Point, his native city, which is located just north of Pascagoula in coastal Jackson County.
“I intend for my campaign to be as much a celebration of our accomplishments as it is a serious and informed dialogue about the challenges of hard-working Moss Pointians,” Anderson, a Democrat, said as he launched his campaign this evening.
“I’m committed to working together to ensure that all of our residents share in the prosperity of our great city and the great State of Mississippi.”
In his announcement, Anderson said he wants to focus on issues including economic hardship and crime prevention.
Current Mayor Negotiating Federal Plea Deal
The current mayor, Democrat Mario King, first won office in 2017. He is currently negotiating a plea deal with federal prosecutors on 13 federal charges of wire fraud and another count of conspiracy to defraud the United States.
An April indictment alleged that King and his wife, Natasha, misused funds they had raised in 2018 that should have gone to support a mental health program for the Moss Point School District. The indictment claims the couple instead put the money to personal use, including paying off credit-card charges used to purchase a pedigreed dog and for a down payment on a new car.
Both Kings have also faced charges of domestic violence and simple assault in the past.
Last year, 11 people sued the City of Moss Point, alleging that King “forced older employees to retire or resign so he could hire millennials” and that he “misused the city’s taxpayer funds,” the Associated Press reported.
If the couple is convicted of the current charges of wire fraud and conspiracy, they each face up to 20 years in prison. Still, Mayor King has not announced whether or not he plans to run for re-election next year.
WLOX reported that, when they asked King for comment in July, he had little to say.
“We look forward to our day in court,” WLOX reported the mayor saying. “Litigation is a tool that I believe everybody should use the way it should be used.”
King was not a topic for Anderson’s announcement, though. The House District 110 representatives instead previewed an optimistic campaign led by the slogan, “Restoring Hope.”
Anderson, who currently represents House District 110 in the Legislature. said his ambitions for the people of Moss Point include “empowering young males to reach their highest potential” and “inspiring young people to believe in education in order to succeed in life.”
At age 21, Anderson became the youngest member ever elected to the Mississippi Legislature and the youngest Black legislator elected in U.S. history when he first won the seat in a 2013 special election.
In 2018, he launched a long-shot bid for U.S. Congress against incumbent U.S. House District 4 Rep. Steven Palazzo, a Republican. He only won 31% of the vote in that race, though he is the only Palazzo challenger since the Republican first won office in 2010 who has managed to crack 30%.
Years earlier, at age 16, Anderson founded the Foundation for a Brighter America, a nonprofit organization focused on mentoring boys ages 11 to 18.
At one point in the evening announcement, the mayoral candidate highlighted Mississippi’s newly adopted state flag. “The new flag says to the world that Mississippi is ready to change. Now, we all must see that the state follows through on that promise,” Anderson said.
He cited “roadblocks to economic equality” in “Black and brown communities” and said he would invest in local job training programs. “I will continue to be the voice of reason, compassion and understanding as I have in the Mississippi Legislature, understanding the struggles of everyday hardworking folks,” Anderson said.
Mississippi’s municipal elections will take place in towns and cities across the state next year, with primaries in April 2021 and the general election following in June.
You can watch Anderson’s announcement, which he streamed live on Zoom and later posted to Facebook, on his Facebook page.