Stirgus challenging Selmon for county’s District 3 post|[01/23/07]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A coordinator for a regional charitable organization has become a challenger in the District 3 race for the Warren County Board of Supervisors.

James Stirgus Jr., 48, filed qualifying papers Monday to challenge incumbent and fellow Democrat Charles Selmon in the district, located entirely inside Vicksburg’s corporate limits.

Stirgus is coordinator for Warren County in the Warren Washington Issaquena Sharkey Community Action Agency, a financial assistance agency for low-income residents. He has helped lobby supervisors in recent years for more funding, which the agency could receive if next year’s budget allows for funding it at a newly approved $25,000. Previously, the group has received $7,500 a year out of a possible $20,000.

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Selmon, the three-term incumbent who filed for re-election Jan. 9, has been the strongest voice on the current board for more county funding of nonprofit organizations, WWISCAA being chief among them in the months after Vicksburg’s hikes in natural gas rates last winter.

Stirgus is a first-time candidate. Reached late Monday, he was brief about his plans and ideas for running in the district, one that covers central Vicksburg from Interstate 20 northward to China Street.

&#8220Of course, I’ll always need two more votes, but we’ll try to work together for District 3,” Stirgus said.

Stirgus is a former Trustmark bank branch manager and has chaired the City of Vicksburg’s Transportation Committee. That group had a role in updating ordinances governing cab companies and assisted in establishing NRoute, the city public transportation system that debuted in June.

His father, James Stirgus Sr., was a teacher, educator and superintendent for the Vicksburg Municipal Separate School District before it was combined with Warren County Public Schools in 1986. He is director of the Vicksburg Housing Authority.

Selmon has said jobs and bringing more county services to the district are his goals if re-elected.

The district also covers neighborhoods bordering Bazinsky Road on both sides and those behind Vicksburg Factory Outlets, just inside city limits. It also covers the commercial strip along Pemberton Square Boulevard from South Frontage to the U.S. Post Office location.

Also qualifying Monday was Vicksburg businessman Alex Monsour, who again will challenge Rep. Chester Masterson in the Republican primary for House District 54.

The state party’s Web site shows Monsour, 44, filed qualifying papers by Monday to challenge the two-term incumbent and retired physician in the district covering southern Warren County, including south Vicksburg, Sharkey and Issaquena counties.

Monsour, owner of A&A Enterprises and A&A Vending in Vicksburg, garnered 35 percent of the vote in the 2003 Republican primary against Masterson, 73. He also ran for county supervisor in District 1 in 1999.

Monsour said this morning economic development would drive his message during the campaign.

In other legislative seats, state Rep. George Flaggs, D-Vicksburg, has said he will run for re-election, but had not filed paperwork.

State Sen. Mike Chaney, R-Vicksburg, has filed to run for a third term representing Warren, Issaquena and southwestern Yazoo counties in the Legislature’s upper chamber.

Reps. Chuck Middleton, D-Port Gibson, and Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, have qualified as well. Both incumbents’ districts cross into sparser populated parts of Warren County, Middleton’s in the southwest and Gunn’s in the northeast.

Party candidates are nominated through primary elections, set for Aug. 7 this year. In Mississippi, voters do not register by party, meaning a voter may vote in either party’s primary and cast a ballot for that party’s nominees to the general election.

If no candidate receives a majority of the votes in a primary, a runoff is held between the top two vote-getters.

However, a voter who votes in the primary of one party may not cross over to vote in the run-off of another party.