Photo: Voters listen to candidates make their pitch during Saturday’s Stump Speaking event at Cedar Hill Farm. (Bob Bakken/desotocountynews.com)
It was their chance to meet voters face-to-face and tell them why they should vote them into office or keep them in office in the next election.
Saturday’s “Stump Speaking” event at Cedar Hill Farm south of Hernando gave local, regional, and state candidates a few minutes to state their positions and what they would bring to the office they are running for.
A stump speech is defined as a speech “repeatedly delivered by a politician during their campaign for election or re-election to public office.”
And that’s what you got from the candidates who took the stage for Saturday’s event, a first for Cedar Hill Farm owner Robert Foster. But Foster said he wanted to give voters their chance to also meet the candidates and ask them questions, as well as hear the candidates on the “stump.”
It’s an event Foster said has become popular in other parts of Mississippi and he hopes that Saturday was the first of a new political tradition in DeSoto County.
“When I ran for governor four years ago I went all over the state to every county and every big political engagement that the state has to offer,” Foster said. “I saw certain regions of the state had traditions of having an open speaking event. It’s not a debate but more of an opportunity for all of the candidates in their area, the region, and statewide, to face voters and speak to the voters.”
Foster himself took the stage as he is a candidate for DeSoto County Supervisor in this year’s election cycle, and along with the other local candidates, was given just five minutes to make his case as a candidate.
“We let all of the local and regional candidates have five minutes and our statewide candidates were given 10 minutes to speak,” Foster said. “If we are able to draw more candidates in the future we’ll either have to extend the time of the event and maybe add another hour to the event as we grow. I’m not allowing proxy speakers at this event, the candidate has to be the one to speak if they want to speak.”
His run for governor four years ago had Foster participate in several such events across Mississippi.
“Those events were some of the best-attended events and some of them had been going on for a long time and had become a local tradition,” Foster said. “I would like for this to hopefully be that one day, where we do this every election cycle and have all of the local candidates come out and speak and face the voters.”
Stump Speaking had a definite conservative atmosphere but candidates had been invited to come and participate. Those who came out were especially interested in hearing from the candidates for DeSoto County Sheriff, Thomas Tuggle and Michael Lee, as well as the candidates for DeSoto County District Attorney, Bob Morris and Matthew Barton. The day ended with U.S. Rep. Trent Kelly (R-Mississippi) introducing the featured speaker, fellow U.S. Rep, Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia).
“Voters actually don’t have much of a chance to speak to their local elected officials a lot of times, especially on the regional level or a statewide level because it is just hard to get an opportunity to see those people and speak to them,” Foster said. “I’m hoping that as this grows over the years we’ll have more and more of the statewide officials coming by and facing the voters.”
Following is a sampling of some of the speakers at Saturday’s event.