Don’t Forget to Vote Tuesday

“If you don’t vote, you don’t have a voice. Make your voice heard in Mississippi.” – Morgan Freeman

This past basketball season, Lynn and I lucked out with a pair of tickets next to one of our most famous living Mississippians: Morgan Freeman, an avid Ole Miss fan and registered Mississippi voter.

As the game progressed, we began speaking about the importance of registering to vote and casting a ballot. Toward the end of our visit, Mr. Freeman said to me: “If you don’t vote, you don’t have a voice.”

As Mississippi’s Chief Elections Officer, I could not agree more. Governance begins at the ballot box, particularly where municipal elections are concerned, and many have fought and died to give us the right to vote.

Who determines whether new businesses are welcome in your community? Who secures a police force and fire protection? Who maintains your streets? Your mayor, aldermen and women, city council members, and other municipal elected officials, are directly tied to all of these responsibilities impacting our daily lives.

On Tuesday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., many of Mississippi’s 1.8 million registered voters will have the opportunity to vote for candidates running for these important positions. There is only one way to ensure your voice is heard in this upcoming election: by taking the time to cast your ballot.

For more information about elections in Mississippi, visit Y’all Vote at or call your Municipal Clerk. (As a reminder, not all municipalities will conduct a general election.)

See you at the polls—and do not forget your photo ID!

Source: Clarion Ledger

State Asks Judge to Jail Cemetery Owner; Arlinghaus Found in Contempt

A year-long battle between the Mississippi Secretary of State and the owner of two neglected Meridian cemeteries heated up in court Tuesday.

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann asked Lauderdale County Chancery Court Judge Jerry Mason to incarcerate William “Bill” Arlinghaus Jr. for failing to comply with an injunction requiring him to report weekly collections at two neglected cemeteries.

Mason held Arlinghaus in civil contempt but declined the state’s request to put him in jail, saying that incarcerating Arlinghaus would prevent him from fulfilling his injunction obligations. Mason fined Arlinghaus $500, for the state’s attorneys’ fees, and ordered Arlinghaus to file reports by May 30.

The state first took legal action against Arlinghaus in June of 2016, following complaints at Meridian Memorial Park Cemetery, at 9590 Old Highway 80 W, and Magnolia Cemetery, at 2638 23rd Ave.

Families complained to the Hosemann’s office about footstones they paid for and never received, overgrown grass and graves in need of attention. When the state investigated, it found $33,000 missing in perpetual need trust funds. The state requested an injunction against Arlinghaus for neglect at the two cemeteries and that injunction was granted in August.

As part of that injunction, Arlinghaus was required to submit weekly reports about the collections of previously sold cemetery goods and services, internments and entombment sales. The state does not have full control over the budget for the cemeteries, nor does the injunction prevent Arlinghaus from burying the dead, the Secretary of State’s office said in October.

In April, Hosemann seemed optimistic the sale of the cemeteries would proceed after Arlinghaus filed paperwork in Michigan to reinstate his business, Greenscape Michigan, Inc. For Arlinghaus to sell the cemeteries, the company had to be reinstated.

Leah Rupp Smith, Hosemann’s assistant of communications, said that the state could only approve the contract, which was already done, but wouldn’t have a role in finalizing the agreement.

“It is our understanding that the parties have signed a purchase agreement,” Smith said. “Now they have to proceed with closing.”

The finalization of the sale depends on Arlinghaus meeting the terms of the contract.

Arlinghaus testified Tuesday that the sale is imminent, anticipating its completion in two weeks, according to Mason’s bench opinion.

A second hearing is scheduled for May 31.


Source: Meridian Star

Hosemann Talks DeSoto County Business Growth

Mississippi’s Secretary of State talked economic development and touched on recent primary elections as he visited DeSoto County on Wednesday.

Delbert Hosemann appeared at the Quarterly Luncheon for the Southaven Chamber of Commerce, which was held at the Landers Center and after a brief visit with county municipal leaders and DeSoto County Republican Women at Latimer Lakes Park in Horn Lake.

In his Southaven address, Hosemann was quick to point out the growth of business in DeSoto County.

“DeSoto County is an awesome place,” Hosemann said. “It has continued to expand. We have formed almost 7,000 Limited Liability Companies, or LLC’s, in the state in the first quarter of 2017. Of those, about 400-plus are in DeSoto County.”

Hosemann told business leaders attending the luncheon that small business is the future of Mississippi and DeSoto County has three factors needed for continued growth: an educated workforce, financial backing and community support.

While touting the need for continued small business growth, however, Hosemann predicted DeSoto County would soon be the headquarters of a major company.

“We have a headquarters relocation credit available to help pay for people to come here to this part of the state,” Hosemann said. “It’s only a matter of time before they come here.”

Hosemann expressed disappointment in the recent primary election turnout statewide, but noted that the political parties are in charge of primary elections and they should continue doing so without state government involvement.

“This is not the government and I have repeatedly discouraged the Legislature from getting the government more into party primary elections,” Hosemann said. “I think whatever the party happens to be, you need to be able to run your own elections, as long as it complies with state law.”

There have been challenges in some municipal primary elections in the state and Hosemann said his office has been asked to look into those issues, but he remained adamant that state government should not run party elections.

He did say, however, that Mississippi has greatly improved its election process since he took office, to the point where state elections have been run without legal challenges.

“You still have to have a voter ID and 99.9 percent of our people had ID’s that showed up in the presidential election,” Hosemann said. “We’re the only state that didn’t get sued. Since they entrusted me with it, our process has improved pretty dramatically when you think about the history and where we were before.”


Source: Desoto Times

Celebrate, Encourage Small Business Owners

What’s better for East Mississippi’s economy – a large manufacturing company from elsewhere coming here to set up shop – or several small to medium-sized start-up businesses created and operated by local entrepreneurs?

The answer – for many reasons – is the latter, according to Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hoseman, who sat down with The Meridian Star’s editorial board this week.

During a conversation Tuesday, the Republican touched on the economic outlook for the state and Meridian.

According to Hosemann, our efforts should focus on encouraging small business owners, not just courting major corporations who will, in his words, “allegedly bring in 1,000 employees.”

“In Meridian, we need to hit singles and doubles,” Hosemann said. “Four companies here employing 50 to 75 people – you do the math. That’s 250 to 300 new employees. That makes a huge ripple. And we have the simplest way to do that, the junior college system that trains the work force. Then, you have community support.”

“The main thing is an educated workforce, access to capital – which you have here, and community support,” he added. “That’s what will lead you to scoring runs. I’m all about hitting home runs – it’s really exciting. But four singles will get you the same result.”

Hosemann is right.

Our state, county and local leaders shouldn’t just try to catch the biggest fish, but rather make it easier for small business owners and entrepreneurs to set up shop.

Success stories

When it comes to small businesses, our community is full of success stories.

In Philadelphia, Hardy Manufacturing is continuing more than three decades of of building heaters. The company isn’t a large corporation – it employees 25 full-time workers. But its role in Mississippi’s economy can’t be underestimated – it has six distributors and a nationwide network of independent dealers. That number continues to grow as the business embraces the future by looking at safe and economical heating appliances.

Hardy Manufacturing is just one example of a successful locally-owned area business. East Central Mississippi is full of these types of small to medium sized companies.

Three factors

Important factors in the success of small businesses, Hosemann noted, are community support, access to capital and training opportunities.

We witnessed some of those factors in action during a small business expo held at the MCC-Riley Workforce Development Center recently. The event, sponsored by Citizens National Bank and the City of Meridian, focused on connecting small business owners with local, regional and statewide resources.

Attendee Mariposa Pigott said she will use the information she received at the expo to grow her current business and to open another – a local rental kitchen.

Pigott, and many other enthusiastic entrepreneurs, like those involved in the East Mississippi Business Development Corporation’s Minority Business Alliance, may hold the key to the future of our area.

We should not just applaud and encourage their efforts, but do whatever it takes to make their journey fruitful.


Source: The Meridian Star

Hosemann Talks Municipal Elections, Blue Book

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann isn’t very optimistic about voter turnout for this year’s municipal elections — and he’s reaching out to voters across Mississippi to do what he can to remedy that.

“This is literally where the rubber meets the road,” Hosemann said at a press conference Thursday at the Trent Lott National Center. “Your municipal elections are the individuals who give you police protection and fire protection, they manage your streets, they pick up your garbage.

“Everything that goes on in day-to-day life comes out of your municipalities and their governance, and the selection of that governance is just as important.”

As of Thursday, officials from Hattiesburg City Hall had received 87 absentee ballots for the upcoming May 2 primary election. Hosemann said 4-5 percent of registered voters typically vote absentee, so he’s hopeful the small number of absentee ballots is not reflective of the actual turnout in Hattiesburg for the primary.

He has so far been disappointed in the expected voter turnout in other areas around the state, including Jackson.

“They have a very heavily contested Democratic primary — there are about 12 or 13 people in it,” he said. “But they only had 211 (Wednesday) that had actually cast an absentee ballot, and that’s not a good sign.

“Now, either people don’t care, or the candidates aren’t ringing them and asking them if they’re going to be in town. I was just disappointed.”

Hosemann also took the opportunity to present the 2016-2020 Mississippi Official and Statistical Register, informally known as the Blue Book.

The book, which has been published since the early 1900s, features information on state and county officials, government agencies, boards and commissions and election returns. A digital version of the book can be found at the Secretary of State’s website at

This year’s version of the Blue Book is the Bicentennial edition and offers 59 pages of Mississippi history, beginning with the Magnolia State’s 1817 beginnings and leading up to the present date. That section features several businesses, business leaders and other members of communities across the state, including  sports legends and renowned artists and authors.

“It shows you who got elected here, who didn’t get elected, what the vote totals were in various primaries — those kinds of things are in here,” Hosemann said. “All of the economic developers are in here, all the information about each county is in here.

“We’re real proud of it. I think the Legislature was right to authorize the publishing of it, and we’re glad to have it distributed today.”


Source: Hattiesburg American

Hosemann on Target with Website

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is onto something with the relaunch of the Y’all Business site, a free digital resource of information.

The website was initially launched in 2015 but this latest version, with interactive maps showing locations of hospitals, restaurants and other types of businesses, and population data and information about household income and broadband access, is frankly fantastic.

Users can easily find demographic information by geographic location in Mississippi, or useful competitive business information. For instance, a user considering opening a restaurant can populate a map with information about restaurant competitors from within a certain area, and they can find out other helpful information including traffic count.

Other demographic information is valuable simply because it is so accessible and from a verified source. For instance, Lafayette County has a median age of 28.5 versus 36.5 for the state at large, and that information is right at your fingertips at

Hosemann says he created the site to help determine things like whether there’s a market for a certain type of business in any particular part of the state. He said the goal is to help development of small- and medium-sized businesses by giving people free access to information.

We think he’s right on target with this useful site.

Source: The Oxford Eagle

Autism Awareness, Access to Treatment Central Focus for Hosemann

April is autism awareness month and inside the state capitol rotunda Wednesday, children, doctors and state dignitaries gathered to bring greater awareness to those living with the disorder.

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann led off the event.

“Today’s an important day, not only to shine the bright light of public awareness on autism, but it is also important for us to acknowledged that we are at a stepping stone for the future [in Mississippi],” Said Hosemann.

Secretary Hosemann said that the state has made unbelievable strides, but that Mississippi has a ways to go.

Dr. James Moore is Chairman of the Mississippi Autism Board and professor at the University of Southern Mississippi and said that more experts in the field of autism are needed to address the thousands of kids and adults in Mississippi who have the disorder.

“We need diagnostic support, we need more professionals in Mississippi. It’s hard to convince those qualified folks to move, so we need more programs, like the program at the University Southern Mississippi, who are trying to produce home grown behavior analyst,” said Moore.

Moore says that the state is only averaging about 12 students a year who will graduate in the discipline of behavior analyst. And according to him, that’s nowhere near enough to work with the more than 5-to-10 thousand kids who have already been diagnosed with the disorder.

Mother Chelsea McKinley of Petal, Mississippi was last to speak at the event. She has three boys who have been diagnosed with autism and said that she struggles to find ways to help her kids navigate a society that doesn’t quite have them in mind.

“We tried everything. I know you’ve seen it, someone shares on your Facebook, the new diet, the new supplement, we tried them all. They do work in some cases but my thing was, I wasn’t looking for a cure for my children. They didn’t have something that they needed to be cured from. They needed to find a way to cope in a world that wasn’t necessarily made to cater to them,” said McKinley.

The event was sponsored by Autism Speaks.

Source: NewsMS