State House members ‘stick’ to traditions, colorful ways

In the ornate, domed Mississippi House chamber, genteel veteran state Rep. Forrest Hamilton, R-Olive Branch, speaks softly and carries a trick stick.

“It’s a back-saving device as well as a labor-saving device,” says Hamilton, a 71-year-old retired pharmacist serving his third four-year legislative term. “On a good day we can vote on 100 bills, and it can be hard getting up and down from our chairs (low-lying, high-backed rocker recliners) to vote. We used to have yes-no switches on our desks; now we have these buttons to push.”

His hand-whittled stick, about a yard long, is a perfect finger-point extension from a sitting position.

Commercial Appeal