HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Community leaders around the Pine Belt endorsed Senator Thad Cochran Monday night at an event in Hattiesburg.
Speakers included former Petal School District superintendent James Hutto, former president of Forrest General Hospital Bill Oliver, Vietnam War veteran Sergeant First Class Charles Brown, Petal's Grand Bank senior vice president Jim Smith, former executive director of R3SM, Inc. Colonel Sheila Varnado and Grand Bank's CEO Ed Langton.
"We're not disparaging any other candidates here today," said Langton. "We're not doing that. We're talking about huge, huge economic loss if we don't have leadership that remains in the positions that Sen. Cochran has."
Each speaker spoke on issues where they feel Cochran has provided growth for Mississippi, ranging from education to healthcare, and business to military affairs.
Langton said Cochran's experience and leadership in Washington has provided Mississippi with successful employers such as Camp Shelby, USM's polymer science program, and Stennis Space Center, just to name a few.
"It's incredible the amount of esteem and respect that he has in Washington among all people," said Langton. "He's not a politician. He's a statesman."
The runoff will be Tuesday, June 24.