PICKENS, Miss.--The mayor of Pickens died in a car crash near the town he served. Joel Gill was a farmer, businessman and politician. The wreck happened Thursday on Hwy. 17.
Gill ran unsuccessfully for other offices. I had the opportunity to cover two of his campaigns while working for Breezynews in Kosciusko.
He ran on a plan of frugality, telling me in July 2010 at the Neshoba County Fair, that his campaign for 3rd District Congress against Gregg Harper had raised only $5,000. That was after Harper's campaign had raised $625,000. He believed he could win the race based on his values and business experience. That was interesting, given that Gill lived in Holmes County, outside the 3rd District.
Gill reasoned that having business interests in Leake and Neshoba counties meant he would be a good representative of the interests of those counties.
In his speech at the Fair, he told the crowd that he was a Democrat, but believed in immigration reform and other conservative causes. Cautious about running against Harper, an overwhelming favorite and the incumbent, Gill said he would not resign as mayor of Pickens, nor would he move to the 3rd District.
Gill also touted his experience as a cattle salesman when he ran against Cindy Hyde-Smith for Ag Commissioner in 2011.