Young blood in state government: Doors open for hard-workers

Mississippi’s small size, the family atmosphere of the South and the willingness of young people to work long hours for relatively low salaries lend to an abundance of opportunity for newly minted politicians or staffers, according to political junkies.

Consider Rebekah Staples, 26, director of policy for Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and former jack-of-all-trades for then-Gov. Haley Barbour.

Staples is one of the late 20s/early 30s professionals who climbed into prominent positions in Mississippi state government after encountering opportunities in high school or college. Getting an early break led to a totally different life than they’d pictured.

“When you look at politics, particularly on the staffing side, it’s a young person’s game,” said Reeves, Staples’ boss who himself was elected state treasurer in his late 20s.

Clarion Ledger
3/30/12