Mississippi needs another John Ed Ainsworth — this time to run for commissioner of agriculture and commerce.
Ainsworth, who died last month, was elected state land commissioner in 1971. He immediately initiated needed reforms in the office, including seeing that schools got more money from 16th section leases.
And he successfully worked to eliminate his own state agency, convincing the Legislature to roll its duties into the secretary of state’s office. It was a classic example of reducing government expenses, something politicians often talk about but seldom do.
A similar opportunity exists for someone who is seeking to make a positive mark in history instead of just a job.
Agriculture and Commerce Commissioner Lester Spell has announced that he won’t run for re-election next year after 16 years in office.
While the field is lining up to replace him, the question of whether the state even needs such an elective office should be asked.