As House lawmakers near completion of the third week of the 2012 legislative session, Rep. Earle Banks (D-Jackson) has offered a bleak assessment of Republican leadership to date. While committees are yet to consider the first general bill of the session, the Management Committee last week hired an aide to Speaker Philip Gunn for $110,000 a year.

Banks said, “Instead of working on bills to put Mississippians back to work, Republicans have spent $110,000 of taxpayer money on a political operative.” Banks added, “This is not the jobs plan that Republicans promised us during last year’s elections.”

Banks noted, “For the amount of taxpayer money Republicans have spent hiring an ad man, we could have hired three new teachers, paid for a year of tuition for nineteen college students or added at least two new highway patrolmen.”

Nathan Wells, a current partner at Winning Edge Communications and former employee of the Mississippi Republican Party, will be paid $110,000 per year as an aide to the Speaker. During 2011, Mr. Wells played an integral role in the distribution of negative and misleading attack ads on behalf of Republican House candidates.

According to his company’s website:

“Nathan Wells has been directly involved in well over 50 political campaigns. He has adapted his experiences from politics in to successful campaign strategy for all kinds of clients. He has worked with national organizations, financial firms, and restaurants to develop the image and strategy they need to be successful.

Nathan developed his public communication skills as Political Director of the Mississippi Republican Party and later as a statewide campaign manager. His approach is hands on, and he believes that teamwork and clear communication is the key to any successful program.

Nathan is best known for combining old-fashioned grassroots organization and modern campaign communications to any client’s needs, whether political or business.”

House Democrats Press Release