Political fortunes rise and fall at the Mississippi Capitol, and some veteran lawmakers from both ends of the philosophical spectrum are enjoying expanded power in this new four-year term.
Republican Rep. Greg Snowden of Meridian has become a leader among conservatives, while Democratic Rep. Tyrone Ellis of Starkville is exerting influence as the first-ever majority leader of the Mississippi House.
Ellis was hand-picked for the job by House Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi, after McCoy survived a tough fight in January for re-election as presiding officer in the 122-member chamber.
As one of McCoy’s lieutenants, Ellis takes part in closed-door strategy sessions and is responsible for counting heads before votes are taken on volatile issues. When McCoy holds news conferences, he often surrounds himself with some of his closest advisers, including Ellis.