Photo credit: Steve Hopkins for the Mississippi Facebook page
State Rep. Steve Hopkins (R-Southaven) has announced he will not run for office when his seat comes up for a vote in 2023.
Hopkins made the announcement on his Facebook page on Tuesday. The ultra-conservative Republican is in his second legislative term after his first election in 2015, surprising longtime incumbent Wanda Jennings in the Republican primary and moving to Jackson without Democratic opposition in November. Hopkins won re-election in 2019, ousting Kimberly Remak in the Republican primary and then defeating Democrat Theresa Gillespie Isom in the November general election.
In his social media announcement, Hopkins said he was keeping his promise to serve no more than two terms in the Legislative Assembly.
“I told people at their front door both times I ran that I believed in term limits so much I would limit myself,” Hopkins wrote. “It is imperative that I keep my word because without it I just become another stereotypical politician. I don’t know what will happen next for me, but after next year I plan to focus on my family.
Hopkins, the chairman of the ultra-conservative Mississippi Freedom Caucus, has become a lightning rod for officials lobbying for programs like the Penny for the Parks local restaurant tax in Southaven, a one-cent surtax on sales restaurant gross in the city, the program has funded improvements to parks and recreation. Horn Lake has a similar overnight accommodation tax, Olive Branch will vote on a similar accommodation supplement at some point, and Hernando also has an upcoming vote on a restaurant tax similar to Southaven’s, which would improve the quality of the components of life in their cities.
The extension of the repeal of local and private articles for Horn Lake and Southaven and the proposals for Olive Branch and Hernando were questioned in the 2022 session due to opposition to similar local and private laws by Hopkins and other local lawmakers.
Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite has called Hopkins failing to represent the interests of the people Hopkins represents through his opposition, and Musselwhite has worked tirelessly to convince other lawmakers to back Southaven’s proposals whenever extensions of tax repeal were put to the vote. Southaven failed the first time repeal came after it was launched, but it was mooted and approved the following year and was renewed at the 2022 session.
In this week’s Facebook announcement, Hopkins urged his supporters not to vote for “former and current” officials if they try to run in the state legislature.
“My advice; NEVER vote for a former or current alderman or mayor who is running for state representative or state senator,” Hopkins wrote. “They are already brainwashed to believe that a additional taxation is necessary Get the candidates to sign a pledge to stick to the Republican Party platform and if they don’t, don’t waste your time voting for them because they’re Democrats.
Hopkins ended his announcement by saying he was honored to represent District 7 voters in the state House of Representatives.
“Fans of District 7 please pray for someone to come forward in my place who will vote your will and not the will of the Board of Taxes and Expenditures of Supervisors, Aldermen and Mayors,” Hopkins said. . “It’s been a great honor to serve and I’ve delivered on the promises I made when I raced.”
Hopkins’ full message can be found on his Facebook page.