HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell announced his campaign for U.S. Congress in Mississippi’s Fourth Congressional District Wednesday.
The seat is currently held by Rep. Steven Palazzo, who told WLOX that he plans to run for re-election in 2022. Palazzo is currently facing an investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics.
Ezell is a Republican who has served as Jackson County Sheriff since 2014 when he was first elected in a special election. He was re-elected to the position in 2015 and 2019. Ezell has 40 years of service in law enforcement, including working in the Pascagoula Police Department and serving as chief of police for the Ocean Springs Police Department.
Ezell officially kicked off his campaign Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. with an announcement speech at the Jackson County Courthouse followed by additional announcements in Gulfport, Hattiesburg and Laurel.
During his remarks, Ezell discussed why he’s running for Congress and his experience and qualifications to tackle the issues facing America.
“My platform, number one, is public safety, law and order, strong borders, taking care of people’s rights and looking after those that need protection,” Ezell said. “I’ve always been a servant to the people, and I’ve always worked hard to try to make sure that everybody is protected and taken care of, and I’ll do that if I’m elected to Congress.
“As a husband, father and grandfather, I’m very concerned about the future of our country and the direction that Washington is trying to take us. I believe it’s time we all ask ourselves, what type of country is America today, and what will it be in the future.
“I believe President Trump’s policies had us moving in the right direction, and I am alarmed that President Biden and his allies are trying to undo every success of the last four years.
“I’m running for Congress because I believe in the American way of life, and my experience in law enforcement and as Jackson County Sheriff has prepared me to go to Washington and fight back against those who seek to radically change this great country.
“I look forward to meeting as many of my fellow citizens as possible in the Fourth Congressional District in the course of this campaign and hope to earn your vote.”
By auditing the equipment and spending of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, Ezell led the effort to recover 65 cars in his first year, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in just gas expenses, and returned over $1 million to the county in his first and second years.
While serving, Ezell graduated from the Mississippi Law Enforcement Training Academy and obtained a degree in criminal justice from the University of Southern Mississippi. He was also selected to attend the FBI National Academy and later worked with the FBI on their Safe Streets Task Force.
Sheriff Ezell is an active member of the Jackson County Republican Club and the Mississippi Sheriffs’ Association. Ezell and his wife, Suzette, live in Pascagoula and are active members of First Baptist Church of Pascagoula. They have one daughter and a granddaughter.
Raylawni Branch, one of the first African American students to integrate the University of Southern Mississippi, also announced her candidacy for the 4th District.
Branch said she will be canvassing the state to garner the necessary signatures required to run as an Independent.
Republican Carl Boyanton has also announced his intention to run for the seat.