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Cristen Hemmins Runs for Senator of District Nine in Mississippi

Cristen Hemmins with her family at an Ole Miss football game in 2011. Photo from Cristen Hemmins For Senate Facebook page.
Cristen Hemmins with her family at an Ole Miss football game in 2011. Photo from Cristen Hemmins For Senate Facebook page.

Note: This is the first story in a series of profile articles about the candidates running for the Mississippi Senate. 

This past January, Senator Gray Tollison of District Nine stood on the Senate floor and argued against Initiative 42 as the Republican chairman of the Senate Education Committee. Cristen Hemmins watched the live feed of the session and decided right then and there to run for the seat.

Hemmins said, “I decided to run the day Senator Gray Tollison stood on the senate Floor and led the charge for Initiative 42-A.”

She is running as the Democratic candidate for the Senator’s position in district nine, and education is the first and foremost issue on her platform. As a kindergarten teacher’s daughter, Hemmins watched her mother continue to work after 40 years.

“She instilled in me how important education is,” she said. “Fully funding the schools is the most important issue to me.”

Hemmins has three children in the Oxford school district and that made educational support all the more important in her campaign. She said, “Our schools have been underfunded 16 of the 18 years since the adequate funding law was passed in 1997 — since just 2008, District 9 schools have been underfunded by a combined $40 million.”

“Oxford school district has local taxpayers to help, but north Panola (which includes Batesville and Sardis) does not have the same taxpayer base. All children should have equal access to education,” she said.

Hemmins has two more platforms: ensuring equal pay for women and establishing a living wage standard in Mississippi. She said, “some Mississippians work three to four jobs and still can’t afford the bills, decent housing or healthcare.”

This Senate race may be an interesting one to watch considering the history between Hemmins and Tollision. Hemmins along with Lafayette County Democratic Party supported Gray Tollison when he ran as a Democrat for the Senator of District Nine in 2011. Tollison won the re-election for the fifth time, then switched to the Republican party two days later.

Hemmins is a first-time political candidate, yet the primary election cast a promising light on her campaign. Mississippians in District cast a total of 6,013 votes–including Republican and swing voters–over Tollison’s total of 2,140.

“I have been knocking on a lot of doors, calling a lot of people,” said Hemmins. “I’ve been here for 22 years. I’m an Oxonian and I will represent the Oxonians the way they want to be represented.”

The general election is November 3. For more information about Cristen Hemmins, visit www.cristenforsenate.com or her Facebook page.

Callie Daniels Bryant is the senior managing editor for HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at callie.daniels@hottytoddy.com.

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