Hall: Whom might gov. tap for PSC post?

When discussing whom Bryant might choose, the first name off most people’s lips is state Sen. Michael Watson, R-Pascagoula, a strong Bryant ally who many believe has a bright political future.

If Watson wants the gig, it’s likely his. But is that really a smart move for Watson?

The most obvious problem for whoever takes the position is how to handle upcoming votes on the Kemper County coal plant being built by Mississippi Power Co. There would be significant pressure to support any adjustments to the current agreement sought by Mississippi Power — such as increasing the cap on how much Mississippi Power can generate in revenues from rate increases to current customers.

However, such a vote will put a large bull’s-eye on the incumbent’s back come 2015 when he (or she) has to run for a full term. And since the district is largely Republican, it’s likely the most serious challenge will come in the primary.

Watson is a shrewd, smart politician, so he understands the pitfalls here. Furthermore, if anyone is well suited to make such a politically dangerous vote and survive, it’s Watson.

Sam Hall
Clarion Ledger
8/11/13