Less than a month into her term, freshman State Rep. Ramona Blackledge (R-HD 88) is resigning from the Mississippi House of Representatives.
Her resignation, she says, is a result of Speaker Philip Gunn’s stance on members not receiving their legislative pay in addition to also receiving state retirement from PERS.
Blackledge defeated four term former state representative Gary Staples in the 2019 primary.
As previously reported by Y’all Politics, Speaker Gunn has said he has no intention of changing the statute in question regarding PERS since it would be a conflict of interest for lawmakers to have the ability to create laws that would directly benefit them in regard to drawing retirement.
“Regarding current sitting members of the Mississippi Legislature seeking to draw full retirement while serving, the statutes are clear that it is not allowed,” Gunn said. “The statutes were obviously put in place to prevent legislators from drawing double pay from the citizens while serving in the legislature. We do not intend to change that policy.”
Three other freshmen legislators are in a similar situation as Blackledge. They are Rep. Dale Goodin of Perry County, Rep. Billy Andrews of Lamar County, and Rep. Jerry Darnell of DeSoto County.
Blackledge’s resignation is effective Friday, January 31, 2020.
A special election will be necessary to fill the unexpired term for HD 88.