Olive Branch optometrist Dr. David Parker is the newly elected senator for District 19, after DeSoto County voters went to the polls in Tuesday's runoff.
District 19 voters elected Dr. Parker over Rep. Pat Nelson (R-Southaven).
Voters in north Mississippi returned to the polls Nov. 27 for runoffs in DeSoto and Marshall counties after the Senate District 19 and House District 52 races were left undecided from the Nov. 6 general election. The runoffs took place because no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote.
Sen.-elect Parker, a Republican, will be filling the District 19 seat in the state capital in Jackson that was vacated by Sen. Merle Flowers. Senate District 19 encompass a large portion of Southaven and Olive Branch.
MORE: Runoffs in 2 Mississippi races Tuesday
In May Sen. Flowers, a 43-year-old Republican, said he was going to resign after serving the past nine years representing District 19.
Parker, led first-term state Rep. Nelson - 3,966 votes to 2,428 - for a state senate seat from Desoto County, according to complete but unofficial results.
The newly elected Sen. Parker says among the big issues facing DeSoto County is the push for charter schools in the State of Mississippi.
"There is a big move for charter schools in Mississippi and charter schools have been put high on the agenda in the state," Sen.-elect Parker said. "There's going to be something that happens this year and I want to be the voice for DeSoto County or one of the voices to make sure that what happens will be good for our teachers and our students and for the long term benefit of everyone."
With the implementation of the Health Care Reform Act, Parker says he brings something special to the table with his background in healthcare.
"I know the direction the doctors would like to go, and I also know the direction that patients need things to go," Dr. Parker said. "I think being in the Legislature and the Senate will allow me to be a bridge builder between the patients and the doctors and Obamacare and be able to make a difference."
On jobs Sen.-elect Parker said DeSoto County is strong, but not where it should be.
"We are better than some counties but we need to go back to our glory days," he said. "Olive Branch was the fastest growing city in the U.S. for awhile, and I think that we can go back to significant growth with the interstate development that is happening and the new Methodist Hospital in Olive Branch. We can get some significant growth and get the economy going again."
Sen.-elect Parker will be sworn into office Jan. 8.
In Marshall County, Planning Board member Bill Kinkade easily defeated contractor Jeremy Bryan in the House District 52 runoff. Kinkade garnered 70 percent of the vote. Kinkade, from Byhalia, led Bryan, of Barton, 1,346 votes to 874, according to complete but unofficial results.
The elections won't change the partisan balance of the House or Senate in Mississippi.
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