Senator Melanie Sojourner: Courage Under Fire

Despite consistent attacks by the GOP Establishment, Senator Melanie Sojourner has remained a steadfast champion of conservative values.

By Ryan S. Walters | @ryanswalters73

sojournerThere’s an ongoing war within the Republican Party in Mississippi between the Establishment and Conservatives. Last year we saw it up close and personal in the battle between Thad Cochran and Chris McDaniel. This year the fight is in State Senate District 37, a contest between Senator Melanie Sojourner and two Establishment hack candidates, a deceitful tactic concocted by the powers that be designed to split the vote and throw the race to one of their own.

The party-controlling Establishment Republicans, seeking to destroy a prominent conservative this campaign season, chose to go after Senator Sojourner in retaliation for managing McDaniel’s US Senate campaign. This race is their latest phase in the war to cleanse conservatives from the GOP in Mississippi.

Aside from being Senator McDaniel’s campaign manager, why the hostility towards Senator Sojourner? Is it because she is a strong conservative woman? Quite possibly so.

Like Chris McDaniel, Senator Melanie Sojourner is one of the most principled conservatives in Mississippi, which is something the Establishment hates. She stands right along side McDaniel as the most conservative in the State Senate.

Her election in 2011 was truly historic. She is the first Republican and the first woman elected from that district, which encompasses Pike, Amite, Franklin, and Adams counties, including the city of Natchez. As a freshman, she was appointed as a committee chair, a rare honor.

She has been a champion of all the great conservative causes – repealing Common Core, protecting gun rights, standing up for religious liberty, cutting taxes, and reducing spending, as well as fighting the growing pandemic of corruption. She and she alone persuaded Governor Bryant to veto Tate Reeves deceptive Common Core Bill, ensuring that the legislature can, in the future, dump those federal standards.

As a freshman she passed an important tourism bill that her Democrat predecessor could not get enacted in a decade.  She authored a bill to develop Tuscaloosa Marine Shale that brought hundreds of jobs to the state and saw the passage of her bill to protect student religious liberties.

She is one of only a handful of conservative Senators that voted against dozens of tax increases, even those authored by Republicans.  And for these reasons the Establishment detests her and wants her ousted.

In their zeal to defeat her, they have, thus far, done nothing constructive in the campaign. Their two candidates have offered no plans of reform, for they have none, or any plan to better the lives of the people. They have done nothing but sling mud at Senator Sojourner.

To do this, the Establishment has taken a page out of their old anti-McDaniel playbook and created a big-money PAC, named the Citizen Super PAC, to spread lies and deception. This PAC is unregistered in Mississippi, which is a violation of law.

FullSizeRender-5And what are the attacks? The two main assaults are that she is often absent from the senate and misses a lot of votes, and that she committed an ethics violation by not filing her campaign finance reports on time.

Let’s look at the absentee issue first. In the last four years, the Mississippi Senate has cast about 3,000 votes.  Senator Sojourner missed a grand total of 30. That’s only one percent.  And, most notably, these missed votes were on minor issues, consisting of naming bills, congratulatory resolutions for coaches and sports teams, and other non-important matters. Not one missed vote was on a binding law that affects the people.

In those same four years, she missed all of eight days.  Seven of those days were on either a Monday or Friday when rarely any business is transacted.  Most of the time on Mondays and Fridays, the Senate gavels in, taking up no business, has a prayer, reads announcements, and gavels out, and the state spends tens of thousands of dollars for those days. On several of those days she came in to take care of constitutes needs, but wasn’t there at the time the body was gaveled in, so she was counted absent, as were a number of other members.

And on many of those non-work days she remained at the Capitol to work, yet did not get paid. She doesn’t waste taxpayer dollars doing nothing, unlike many of our distinguished legislators.

She has an incredible work ethic and puts in many extra hours doing research, meeting with constitutes, and working with other Senators to garner votes for the issues that conservatives champion.IMG_1487 One numerous occasions, she remained alone in the chamber late at night conducting work on behalf of her constituents. The idea that she is a perpetually absent Senator is ridiculous and an outright lie.

On the ethics issue, the Establishment has tried to persuade the voters that Senator Sojourner is unethical because she failed to file her 2013 campaign finance report on time, insinuating that she had something to hide. This is how the Establishment has always operated, to smear conservatives with outright lies and falsehoods.

But the truth is far different. In September 2013, an EF2 tornado hit Senator Sojourner’s house in Natchez and destroyed it. She lost many of her personal possessions, including paperwork and records, and was forced to live with her parents for many months. With such a tragedy, she was advised by several senior senate members that she could file her campaign reports late, as she did her taxes and insurance claim for that year.   She did end up filing all three filings by the tax and insurance extension deadline.

Yet Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, who is a point man for the Establishment’s cleansing campaign against conservatives, used it as a campaign issue, threatening to jail Senator Sojourner if she did not file her paperwork and pay the requisite fine. She paid the $500 fine on October 24, 2014, yet continued to get threatening letters from the Secretary of State, as well as negative hits from the media. And throughout the ordeal, Hosemann never acknowledged the tornado, even when on talk radio shows in which he continued to shamefully slander a distinguished member of the State Senate.

Keep in mind that this is the same Secretary of State, Delbert Hosemann, who has said not a single word about the unregistered and illegal PAC running ads against Sojourner, nor has he said one single word about the illegal activities involving campaign-spending violations by State Auditor Stacey Pickering, who is now under FBI investigation.

This should tell you all you need to know: Hosemann’s conduct, and that of the entire Establishment, is nothing more than a smear campaign against a good, solid conservative State Senator.

The Republican Party has surged in Mississippi over the last 20 years, but has been in the clutches of the Establishment, which has succeeded in transforming the state into the most corrupt in the nation. And they are intent on keeping it that way. That’s why Hosemann and others are attacking Senator Sojourner with such ferocity. Anyone who seeks reform and wants to hold elected officials accountable is a target.

So, to the conservative citizens in District 37, you have a stark choice: You may either keep one of the most principled conservatives in the Mississippi Senate or succumb to the dictates of the Establishment and elect their chosen candidate to keep their culture of corruption intact.

For the good of your district, and our state, I hope you choose wisely, reject the lies and smears of the Establishment, and re-elect Senator Melanie Sojourner.

Walters for Governor 2019: Or, Why I’m Considering Getting In On The Deal

Ryan S. Walters | @ryanswalters73

No, I’m not really planning to win the governorship in 2019. I’m just planning on running a campaign. You see, it seems that in Mississippi, at least according to some in the Establishment, as well as their many defenders across the gulf of cyberspace, you can spend campaign funds for personal expenses. Who knew?

Wow, what a revelation! I’ve learned so much in the past few days. Why didn’t I think of this sooner? Why haven’t a lot of us?

All you have to do, it seems, is use your “campaign” assets (and simply call it a campaign asset seems to be sufficient) on occasion for an official campaign related event, large or small, and you are home free. Sounds like very good work if you can get it. [Read more…]

The Arrogance of Barack “Woodrow” Obama: A Lesson From History

Ryan S. Walters | @ryanswalters73

There have been a number of articles in the last six years making the comparison between President Obama and one of his predecessors, Woodrow Wilson, who served as President from 1913 to 1921. Many of these pieces focus on policy similarities. But I would like to center on perhaps one neglected aspect – self-righteous arrogance displayed by both men, particularly on foreign policy.

Wilson and Obama have similar backgrounds – both Ivy Leaguers, both college professors (although Wilson was a real scholar with voluminous published writings, and later president of Princeton), both Nobel Peace Prize winners, and obviously both progressive Democrats. And both could be notoriously self-righteous and arrogant, believing themselves to be the smarted guy in the room. [Read more…]

The Pickering Scandal: Why Spend Your Money When You Can Spend Someone Else’s?

Ryan S. Walters | @ryanswalters73

In the spring of 2014, Whitney Pickering, wife of State Auditor Stacey Pickering, gave a lecture at the Charles Pickering Honors Institute at Jones County Junior College in Ellisville.  The topic was life lessons, certainly something the young students needed to hear.  And Mrs. Pickering is certainly well qualified to give such a lecture.

In her speech, she told the students how she had been very successful in the corporate world, as a cookbook editor for Southern Living, then left to “begin the new direct sales division of Southern Living at Home, as she also raised three children. In her first month, she earned $15,000 and showed JCJC students the check stub as proof, there’s money in direct sales. After several years selling home décor, she gained the title of millionaire in 2007.”

So the Pickerings, by their own admission, are millionaires.  Then why do they need to use campaign cash to travel, buy RVs, and garage doors for security purposes?  And why would Whitney Pickering need to be reimbursed more than $9,000 for her own travel expenses, particularly when making such big money in business?

Travel 3

I guess it’s always better, and more fun, to spend other people’s money!  But that usually comes with a price and that’s what we need to know!

Laurel Leader Call Headline: State Frauditor

Kudos to the Laurel Leader Call for perhaps the headline of the year!

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The Pickerings And Their Frequent RV Trips To Disney World

Whitney Pickering is a recognized expert in travel to Disney World!

Ryan S. Walters | @ryanswalters73

The Pickering Saga continues.  In my last post I discussed the RV purchased by the Pickering campaign that has been used by the Pickering family for personal vacations, mainly to Walt Disney World in Orlando.  Stacey Pickering’s wife, Whitney, has been so many times that she is literally an expert on the resort.  That seems to be beyond dispute.  In fact, the Clarion Ledger featured her as just such an expert in a feature story back in January. [Read more…]

Stacey Pickering and His Vehicles

Ryan S. Walters | @ryanswalters73

With the saga of Stacey Pickering’s campaign spending habits unfolding daily, there have been more and more questions about the purchase and use of two vehicles by the campaign – a BMW and an RV. [Read more…]

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