Sam Creekmore will become Union County’s newest state representative next Tuesday, Jan. 7, and plans to hit the ground running.
“My goal is to outwork my partners,” he said.
“The swearing-in is at high noon,” he said. “They said the ceremony takes about 30 minutes and then it’s straight to work.”
He is allowed to have two guests on the House floor so he will be accompanied by his wife, Warner, and youngest son, Lewis. Other family members, including his parents, Dr. and Mrs. Sam Creekmore, in-laws and Warner’s uncle Will Poindexter who himself served in the legislature, will be in the gallery.
He doesn’t know where he will sit yet. “We will draw numbers and based on pecking order will get desks,” he said.
Representatives don’t get offices, simply due to a lack of space, Creekmore said.
However, he has found an apartment about a half mile from the capitol that has two bedrooms, so he can use the second as both his legislative office and workroom for his businesses here.
“Mitch Campbell has been running the landscape business and C. J. Bright has been my contractor so about al I will need to do is drawing,” he said.
Not only is his apartment in walking distance (although representatives do at least get assigned parking spaces) to the capitol, but the owner has a special four-month rate for legislators.
“I think I’m the first landscape architect to be in the legislature,” he said.
Creekmore’s first legislative goal concerns education.
“I’m passionate about it,” he said. “I’ve asked (Speaker of the House) Phillip Gunn about being appointed to the education committee but there are no guarantees.”
“I do plan to introduce a bill concerning education and education funding,” he added.
He said it is suggested that freshman legislators not try to introduce more than a bill or two until they learn more about the process.
Creekmore wants to deal with the learning curve as quickly as he can and, hopefully, start building alliances. “I’ve met all the freshman class and am memorizing all of them,” he said. He does already know area legislators Jody Steverson and Steve Massengill.
This year’s legislative session is scheduled to run through April rather than just three months. “The first session of a new term is always a month longer but they said we will try to make it shorter,” he said.
Creekmore also wants to promote technology in education as part of his agenda.
“We need to bring technology in education to bring our young people back,” he said. “You see where they move to,” he continued, referring to cities such as Huntsville that are growing dramatically thanks to technology.
He added that there is a sort of informal Northeast Mississippi legislative group and they may be able to find funds to expand what Northeast Mississippi Community College offers in technology.
Another priority for Creekmore is staying in touch with the people at home.
“I don’t know yet how I will communicate with constituents,” he said. “I thought maybe a podcast, maybe a newsletter but I definitely will do Facebook.”
Creekmore said he and his wife have been thinking about public service a long time, and not necessarily the legislature. “It was the timing of it, and the ages of our children,” he said. “I considered the senate but did not want to have three counties, just one local.”
“I’m excited,” he said, but wants to remember some advice Sallie Pennebaker Wilkerson gave him that came from her father, John David Pennebaker.
The way to be successful is simply to quickly learn who you can trust, he said.
Incoming senator Kathy Chism was also given the opportunity to be interviewed this past week but did not respond.New Albany, Sam Creekmore, state representative, Union County