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Meet the candidates running for Mississippi Public Service Commission

Photo courtesy of the Mississippi Public Service Commission

Now that the qualifying period has come to a close, candidates for Mississippi’s three public service commissioner positions have been confirmed.

Upon Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley’s recent announcement that he would be challenging incumbent Governor Tate Reeves, no Democratic candidates decided to run to fill the seat held by the party since 1989. Rather, three Republicans will be seeking the position: Chris Brown, Mandy Gunasekara, and Tanner Newman.

Both Central District Public Service Commissioner Brent Bailey and Southern District Public Service Commissioner Dane Maxwell will have challengers. Bailey will once again face off against Democrat Representative De’Keither Stamps, whom he narrowly ousted in 2019. Maxwell will go up against Nelson Wayne Carr in the Republican primary.

To learn more about the candidates running for Mississippi’s Public Service Commission, continue reading below.

Northern District

Chris Brown (Republican)

Representative Chris Brown of Aberdeen was the last of the three Republicans seeking the post of Northern District Public Service Commissioner. Brown, an outspoken member of the Mississippi Freedom Caucus, has served in the state legislature since 2012.

If elected, Brown says he will advocate for lower utility rates, demanding quality service, encouraging solutions to spam calls, and expanding broadband access.

Mandy Gunasekara (Republican)

Mandy Gunasekara of Oxford enters the race for Northern District Public Service Commissioner after previously serving as chief of staff at the Environmental Protection Agency under former President Donald Trump.

As part of the Trump administration, Gunasekara was the chief architect of the Paris Accord withdrawal and worked avidly to greenlight the Yazoo Pumps Project. Prior to her time with the EPA, she founded the Energy 45 fund, a nonprofit dedicated to highlighting energy, environmental, and economic gains made under Trump.

If elected, Gunasekara says she will prioritize American-based energy, China-free power, grid innovations, and ensuring free speech from Big Tech companies.

Tanner Newman (Republican)

Tanner Newman currently serves as director of development services for the city of Tupelo. He previously worked as a constituent liaison in U.S. Senator Roger Wicker’s office.

If elected, Newman says he would prioritize eliminating mobile spam calls, furthering broadband expansion, and ensuring residents have affordable and reliable power.

Central District

Brent Bailey (Republican)

Incumbent Brent Bailey is looking to serve a second term as Central District Public Service Commissioner. During his first term in office, Bailey helped MPSC reach a $300 million settlement with Entergy Mississippi — the largest in the commission’s history. As a result of the settlement, Entergy Mississippi customers were able to receive an $80 refund for being overcharged.

Bailey also voted to pass a new net metering rule that would provide a $3,500 rebate for homeowners and small businesses looking to install a form of self-generated power, such as solar panels.

De’Keither Stamps (Democrat)

Dekeither Stamps, a combat veteran, former Jackson city councilman, and current state representative, is challenging Bailey in a rematch of the close 2019 election that was decided by just over 2,000 votes.

Stamps currently serves on the Mississippi House’s public utilities committee. If elected, the Democratic candidate will look to expand broadband access in the Magnolia State.

Southern District

Dane Maxwell (Republican)

Incumbent Dane Maxwell is vying for a second term as Southern District Public Service Commissioner. Maxwell is a Marine Corps veteran, retired law enforcement officer, and former mayor of Pascagoula.

Under his leadership, MPSC approved two separate $80 million solar projects in the Magnolia State and also secured the aforementioned $300 million settlement with Entergy Mississippi. Maxwell also received national recognition by becoming the official Mississippi Campaign Director for former President Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection bid.

Nelson Wayne Carr (Republican)

Nelson Wayne Carr is a building contracting agent with W C Builders, LLC in Gulfport. Carr does not have a campaign website or Facebook set up currently.

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