Political Newcomers Vie For Seat In State House

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - You've seen the signs throughout the district, three men are vying for a spot in the State House of Representatives.  All three are political newcomers, with fresh ideas to take to Jackson.  Voters will decide between Jeff Guice, Bill Kulick, and Michael Santobianco on Tuesday.

The seat became open this summer, when Danny Guice left the position to take a spot on the State Parole Board.  His first cousin, Jeff Guice, is one of the three in contention.

"I have served the people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast most of my life in some form or fashion," he said, "This is an opportunity for me to take that service to the next step."

While this is his first run for public office, it's been on his mind for years.  He believes his background makes him aware of issues important to voters.

"I believe as a self employed person, small business man, I'm in tuned to the vast majority of voters, hard working people," he said. "And I know how hard the times are, how important it is to use our funding wisely, and how we struggle each day to make ends meet."

He says he understands what the 114th district voters want.

"They want to see an improvement in insurance, they want to see continued improvement in the efficiency of government, and lower taxes and less waste," he said.

Guice isn't the only candidate with taxes on his mind.  Bill Kulick believes the state should keep taxes reasonable.

"I think we should live within our budgets, our families have to live within our budgets, and so should state government," he said.

He also hopes to help clean up state government.

"Mississippi government does not have to be corrupt, and it doesn't have to be oppressive," he said. "If you elect good people that are willing to do the right thing at the right time."

There's another issue on Kulick's mind, and that's the governor's ability to pardon convicted murderers. He says Governor Barbour's releasing Michael Graham from prison brought the issue to his attention.

"I think the governor should have to face the families of the victims before he issues a pardon. That just seems fair to me," he said.

The third hopeful, Michael Santobianco, is running his sixth race for political office. He promises to serve the interest of county voters, from medicare to annexation, to taxes, to outdoor recreation.

"For the past twenty years they're the same issues. Jackson county needs good representation, that's gonna represent the county and what we stand for," he said.

He's been working for years to increase voter registration and turnout.

"If we can get 90 percent of the 9000 folks to vote, we sure would be proud," he said.

He believes his main strength is his ability to put his own interest aside when it comes to representing voters.

"What I'm gonna provide is somebody that takes a collective majority and represents a collective majority no matter if I like it or not," he said, "Somebody has got to represent the collective majority."

Polls are open from seven AM to seven PM Tuesday.  The 114th district covers St. Martin, Latimer, Larou, parts of Vancleave, parts of Ocean Springs, and a small section of Harrison County.

For more information on where to vote, contact the Circuit Clerk's office.