Clarke Reed is one of the founding fathers of Mississippi’s modern Republican Party. Reed, 84, chaired the party for 10 years, beginning in 1966, when only 5 percent of the state’s population was Republican.
Today, the GOP controls both state legislative houses and holds virtually every statewide office, with the exception of the office of the Attorney General.
Southern Company subsidiary, Mississippi Power Company, provides electricity to 23 Southeastern Mississippi counties. This electric utility monopoly is building a $3.8-billion coal plant in Kemper County, for which its customers will have to pay over time via their monthly electric bills. The state Legislature recently passed two bills for Mississippi Power and the Kemper plant: One allows the company to issue $1 billion in bonds for which its customers are responsible. The other authorized a seven-year phase-in plan for the Kemper plant’s electric rate structure.
Q. What is your political perspective on Mississippi Republicans and their support for Mississippi Power’s Kemper County lignite coal plant?
A. I was one of the first chairmen of the Republican Party (of Mississippi). We started the party up back then, in the 1960s, when Republicans comprised about 5% of the population. Now, of course, we’re the majority. I knew we’d get there. I didn’t know it would take so long: It took 50 years. The real power would be to have the House, the Senate, and the governor, I thought. Then we would be able to do something great for the state.
But guess what the signature legislation is going to be for this first-ever Republican-controlled state government? This lignite plant. And it’s a horrible thing. And I think it’s a political issue that could be used against us for years.
It proves Republicans are for the millionaires and don’t give a darn about the state. It’s not true. But we’re in charge, and it’s what we look like.