Help Make History: Meet Mike Espy

Mike Espy

This fall, voters in our neighboring state of Mississippi will have a good chance to elect a Democrat to the US Senate. Not just any Democrat, but an experienced African American who has served as a US Congressman and on the Cabinet, Mike Espy.

“At the age 33, Mike Espy was elected to Congress from Mississippi becoming the 1st black Congressman from that state since Reconstruction,” says Joyce Espy Searcy. “After serving two terms, he was selected to be the 1st black Secretary of Agriculture.”

The 2018 United States Senate special election in Mississippi will take place November 6, 2018, to elect a United States Senator from Mississippi to fill Senator Thad Cochran’s seat after he announced his resignation. On March 5, 2018, Espy announced his candidacy for that United States Senate seat being vacated. In a statement, Espy made a centrist pitch, praising Republican Thad Cochran, who stepped down due to failing health. He called Cochran a “calming voice.”

“It is in this same spirit that I offer my candidacy — to rise above party and partisan wrangling in an effort to appeal to all Mississippians — as we unite to show the nation, at the end of this second decade of the 21st century — just how far we have come,” Espy said.

He also highlighted his family history. “My grandfather’s legacy serves as the foundation of this campaign,” he said. Espy was born in Yazoo City, Mississippi. He is the grandson of Thomas J. Huddleston Sr., founder of the Afro-American Sons and Daughters, a fraternal society that operated the Afro-American Hospital, a leading provider of healthcare for blacks in the state from the 1920s to the 1970s.

Alphonso Michael Espy was born November 30, 1953. From 1987 to 1993, he served in the U.S. House of Representatives from Mississippi. From 1993 to 1994, he served as the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Bill Clinton. He was both the first African American and first person from the Deep South in that position. He was indicted in 1997 for receiving improper gifts, but acquitted of all 30 charges in 1998.

“Mike is in an exciting, non-partisan campaign to become Senator from Mississippi,” says Searcy. “This campaign is being watched all over the country because, if elected, he will again make history.”

On November 6, a nonpartisan ‘jungle’ primary will take place on the same day as the regularly scheduled U.S. Senate election for the seat currently held by Roger Wicker. Party affiliations are not printed on the ballot. If no candidate gains 50% of the votes, a runoff special election between the top two candidates will be held three weeks later on November 27, 2018.

Espy attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., earned his Juris Doctor from Santa Clara University School of Law in California in 1978, was an attorney with Central Mississippi Legal Services between 1978 and 1980, and was the Assistant Secretary of State to Mississippi Legal Services. From 1980 to 1984, Espy was the Assistant Secretary of the State to the Public Lands Division.

Espy was Assistant State Attorney General from 1984 to 1985, when he was elected as a Democrat to the 100th Congress in 1986 from Mississippi’s 2nd congressional district, defeating two-term Republican Webb Franklin to become the first African-American to represent Mississippi at the federal level since Reconstruction. He was re-elected three times. Espy was appointed by President-elect Bill Clinton to be Secretary of Agriculture in his Cabinet.

“That is the star that I see rising in the South,” U.S. Sen Cory Booker, D-N.J., said in Jackson recently about Espy. “That is the hope that this nation must have in Washington, D.C. And God willing, the people of Mississippi willing, we will have Mike Espy as the next United States senator.”

Locally, Congressman Jim Cooper is hosting a campaign event for Espy at the home of Brooks and Bert Mathews, on Tuesday, July 31st. Suggested Contributions: Host: $1,000; Co-Host: $500; Friend: $250; and Young Professional: $100. They need your support and want you there. Please RSVP to let them know you are coming. Please contact Marissa at (412) 526-8409 or with any questions. If your schedule won’t allow, they would still appreciate any donation. If you would rather write a check, mail it to: P.O. Box 14072 ; Jackson, MS 39236-4072. You can RSVP and contribute by: Credit card – here: Learn more about Mike Espy at the official Espy for Senate website.