Sens. Tammy Witherspoon and Sampson Jackson

State Sens. Sampson Jackson, D-Preston, and Tammy Witherspoon, D-Magnolia, have announced their resignations midway through their current terms.

Witherspoon was recently elected mayor of Magnolia and began serving in that office on July 1. She has served six years in the Legislature as senator for District 38, which includes Adams, Pike, Walthall and Wilkinson counties. She was chairwoman of the Enrolled Bills Committee and vice chairwoman of the Housing Committee.

Jackson, who represented District 32 including Kemper, Lauderdale, Noxubee and Winston counties, has served in the Legislature for 30 years. He was chairman of the Forestry Committee. He told local news outlets in his home district that he felt it was simply time for him to retire.

Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann thanked Jackson and Witherspoon for their service and said both senators “had a collegial and congenial nature in the chamber, and oftentimes worked across the aisle on issues aimed at making Mississippi a great place to live and work.”

“After nearly three decades of service, Sen. Jackson has a wealth of experience and knowledge about the legislative process and policy which served his district very well,” Hosemann said in a statement on Tuesday. “Sen. Witherspoon was equally as dedicated to finding solutions and opportunities for her constituents.”

Senate Minority Leader Derrick Simmons, D-Greenville, said, “I am saddened at the retirements of two colleagues who have helped our state move forward, yet I am happy they left to pursue greater happiness and to fulfill further destinies.”

“Sen. Sampson Jackson retires after 48.5 years of service to our state and our nation – 30 of which were in the senate — and Sen. Tammy Witherspoon resigned after six years to become Mayor of McComb, where I know she will do well,” Simmons said. “It is my hope that the brightest and best of their respective districts will come forward to offer themselves for public service as senators and continue to help move our state forward. We need more fair and impartial public servants who will look beyond party politics and serve the best interests of Mississippi’s citizens.”

Gov. Tate Reeves will set special elections to fill the final two years of the four-year terms.


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Geoff Pender serves as senior political reporter, working closely with Mississippi Today leadership on editorial strategy and investigations. Pender brings 30 years of political and government reporting experience to Mississippi Today. He was political and investigative editor at the Clarion Ledger, where he also penned a popular political column. He previously served as an investigative reporter and political editor at the Sun Herald, where he was a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team for Hurricane Katrina coverage. Originally from Florence, Mississippi, Pender is a journalism graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and has received numerous awards throughout his career for reporting, columns and freedom of information efforts.