Brent Bailey was sworn in as the Central District Public Service Commissioner on Thursday, replacing Cecil Brown who chose not to seek re-election.
Bailey, a Republican, defeated Democratic Jackson City Councilman De’Keither Stamps in the November general election after losing the 2015 race to Brown. His win gives the Public Service Commission a Republican majority on the three-man board, with Dane Maxwell (R) assuming the Southern District seat replacing Sam Britton and Brandon Presley (D) returning to the Northern District post.
Bailey spoke to Y’all Politics after the swearing-in ceremony, outlining his view of where the PSC should be focused, as well as on what the new majority means for citizens. He said he doesn’t see any major shift in the way the PSC operates under a Republican majority.
A late campaign donation by the Sierra Club to Bailey’s campaign has raised some eyebrows amongst conservatives.
The Sierra Club is perhaps the most powerful environmental lobbying group in the nation. Its ties to far left causes in recent years has shifted the organization’s conservation message to more of an anti-growth, anti-energy, anti-business lobby. The Sierra Club has advocated for ending the use of all fossil fuels and nuclear power, and is a hyper-activist for climate change policies put forth by Democrats.
Bailey’s campaign took in $20,000 from the Sierra Club in the waning hours of the 2019 cycle heading into the November general election.
Y’all Politics followed up with Bailey on what some conservatives have questioned as an “unusual campaign donation for a Republican.” Bailey’s statement in its entirety is below:
“I am proud of all the donors who supported and contributed to our campaign. They did so because we pledged to put the people first at the PSC and my track record of consistently representing the interests of consumers in my past work verifies that pledge. Those donors helped to elect a Republican Commissioner to the PSC and put a Republican majority on the Commission. The conservatives I know think that was a pretty good thing.
“I welcomed all donors who shared our campaign’s commitment to put the people first, facilitate new economic opportunity, provide more choices for consumers and introduce some competition into the utility marketplace. That is about as conservative as it gets.
“We will put the people above politics, above profits, above partisan bickering and above those who would try to divide us. Folks from both sides of the aisle expect the PSC to work to stop harassing robocalls and illegal phone scams, expand reliable broadband to our rural communities, ensure cellar service for all, keep rates low and bring bills down. And that is just what I plan to do during my term at the PSC.”