Tuck betrayed Democratic Party, Rep. Flaggs says

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 3, 2002

Rep. George Flaggs, D-Vicksburg, says Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck betrayed the Democratic party, but that her switch will make it easier for her to seek re-election next year.

“My hat is off to her if that’s what she wants to do,” Flaggs said. “But I do think you betray one party when you run with one and then switch midterm.”

Flaggs, a lifelong Democrat and member of the House for 14 years, said Tuck, who announced Monday that she has switched to the Republican Party, will benefit from financial backing and support if she seeks another term as lieutenant governor, a job that makes her presiding officer for the Senate.

“She’ll have a much easier time in the primary where she could have faced some stiff competition,” Flaggs said.

All statewide and legislative offices are up for elections in 2003. Party primaries are set for August.

Flaggs, senior in the Warren County delegation to Jackson, is also the only Democrat. Freshman Rep. Dr. Chester Masterson of Vicksburg is a Republican, as is Sen. Mike Chaney, whose district includes all of Warren and Issaquena counties.

On the House side of the Capitol, there has been speculation for nearly a year that Speaker of the House Tim Ford may not seek another term.

“It think it’s premature for me being in a leadership position to speculate about that,” Flaggs said.

Flaggs is chairman of the Juvenile Justice Committee and serves on the Appropriations, Investigation of State Offices, Legislative Budget, Management and Public Health & Welfare committees. He was appointed by Ford to the Standing Joint Congressional Redistricting Committee and Legislative Committee on Reapportionment.

If Ford does step down, it will be up to the members of the House, where Democrats hold a 2-1 majority, to elect a new speaker.

Democrats also hold a majority in the Senate, but by a much smaller margin.