On Friday, Senators unanimously voted to appoint Senator Gray Tollison as the new President Pro Tempore of the Senate.
“This is a great honor to be selected by the Senators to serve in this position. I certainly appreciate the seriousness and responsibility of the office and it’s something I’ll carry with me everyday,” said Tollison. “It’s unfortunate how it happened, I have great respect for Senator Burton. I’ve relied on him for guidance and advice and will continue to do that as we go through the rest of this year.”
Tollison was nominated by Sen. Buck Clarke and the nomination was seconded by Senator John Horhn who took time to speak highly of the character of Sen. Terry Burton who stepped down on his own volition, and of the newly nominated Senator.
“Senator Tollison is a fine man, even though we may not agree on everything,” said Horhn. He went on to call him the ‘Senator’s Senator’ #msleg
— Yall Politics (@MSyallpolitics) January 11, 2019
Senator Chad Mcmahan then moved that nominations be closed and Tollison be confirmed by acclimation. The Senate was unanimous on the decision, 52-0.
“Sen. Tollison’s election by his peers to this leadership position shows the deep respect senators have for him,” Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said. “His 24 years of experience in the Legislature and his passion for good public policy make him the right fit to serve as the ‘Senators’ Senator.’”
Since Tollison served as Vice Chair of the Rules committee, and is now Chairman after the vote, someone will have to be named as the Vice Chair. Tollison said that decision will be made in the next week or two.
Tollison (R), who was a Democrat prior to 2011, has served in the Mississippi Senate since 1996 and currently serves District 9, the Lafayette and Panola Counties. He currently chairs the Education committee, and will remain the chair since he was appointed to the position prior to his appointment as Pro Tem. Tollison has however announced he will not run for reelection in his district.
The appointment comes after Pro Tem Terry Burton resigned on Tuesday. Burton served as Pro Tem since 2014 after the death of Senator Brown.