The state representative called the incident a family matter that should be resolved within the family, not in the court system or through the press. And he said, "I apologize to my constituents for the distraction caused by a family issue at a time when there are more pressing issues such as the upcoming special session."
One of Creel's constituents is Steve Ryan. He said the assault allegation didn't change his opinion of the District 115 representative.
"He's got personal problems," Ryan said. "But I think he can still do his job."
Many people who live or work near Point Cadet shared that opinion. At the Biloxi Businessmen's Club luncheon, members compared Creel's predicament to situations Sen. Ted Kennedy went through. They said Kennedy never let personal problems impact his public responsibility.
Pat Byrd expects Creel to do the same thing.
"He certainly can," Byrd said. "He has been a very effective leader in the past."
The two window plates Jamie Creel allegedly broke Sunday morning still have cardboard covering them. Because of the altercation, Creel was accused of simple assault and malicious mischief. Since becoming a state representative, Creel has also been convicted of DUI, and ticketed for leaving the scene of an accident.
Yet, political science professor Dr. Pat Smith said none of that should impact his effectiveness in Jackson.
"Officeholders are going to be held accountable for producing results," Smith said. "If people can see positive results, they're likely to forgive a lot of personal foibles."
That's what Steve Ryan said as he reviewed the newspaper article.
"He needs to maybe tighten up a little there and not be so public," said Ryan. "But I still believe he can do his job."
Last session, lawmakers saved East Biloxi's house seat, even though the area's population was below the state average. They also approved the purchase of Deer Island. Dr. Smith said those accomplishments could help Jamie Creel's political career overcome his latest legal crisis.
by Brad Kessie
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