by Ana Maria
The battle for Trent Lott's seat in the U.S. Senate hangs in the balance of this year's election cycle and with it the mantle of Lott's leadership on all things Katrina--especially Insurance Reform. Last year's tumultuous election for the insurance commissioner position had the 32-year incumbent George Dale screaming all over the place about how hard he had worked on behalf of Mississippi's home owners after Katrina.
Employing the nose test of politics in last year's election, Democratic voters booted out Dale in the primary believing him to be protecting the interests of the insurance industry rather than protecting homeowners. Dale's words and actions didn't mesh. Anyone can talk the talk regarding Katrina recovery and insurance reform, but walking the walk requires passing South Mississippians' nose test.
A few weeks ago, in a piece titled Musgrove’s Ties to Big Insurance Smells to High Heaven, I described the impeccable noses of folks down here in Katrina Land, particularly when it comes to politicians and the insurance industry that continues to betray us.
There is a special word for those who speak empty words and act in ways contrary to their words: hypocrites. With FEMA and the insurance industry pulling the wool over our eyes within the last few years down here in Katrina Land, we don’t take kindly to hypocrites—particularly of the political persuasion. And we can sure smell 'em a mile or two away. That fishiness is something that . . . cologne cannot cover.This week, we got confirmation on the accuracy of our political nose test.
Former Mississippi Insurance Commissioner George Dale has joined former Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Robert Wooley on the lobbying staff of the law firm of Adams & Reese LLP, further developing the firm's insurance regulation specialty.
In other words, George Dale is a lobbyist for a law firm that represents insurance companies. Ahhh, the sweet smell of validation.
MS-Senate Race: The Nose Test Knows Best
Electing the candidate who will replace Senator Trent Lott requires us to employ once again the nose test of politics. South Mississippi remains in steady--but extremely s-l-o-o-o-o-o-w--recovery mode. Purely and simply, the insurance industry betrayed us with denying legitimate wind claims, not paying for cost-of-living-expenses while our homes were being rebuilt, then jacking up premiums beyond the point of no longer being affordable for average South Mississippi families and business owners. Watch the short videos of Hancock County Executive Director Tish Haas, Hancock Bank Chairman George Schloegel, and others as they describe the incredible hardship that the insurance industry has imposed on South Mississippi families and businesses.
In Musgrove’s Ties to Big Insurance Smells to High Heaven, I wrote
When it comes to seeing clearly the insurance industry’s responsibility in creating the economic devastation it caused South Mississippi’s Katrina-ravaged home and business owners, former Governor Ronnie Musgrove can’t see past the end of his paycheck. Since July 2004, Musgrove has been on the payroll of the law firm Copeland, Cook, Taylor & Bush, the same law firm that Gulf Coast News reported “is involved what with almost every Mississippi insurance case.” And not on the side of home and business owners, either.Obviously, Musgrove has conflicts of interest that won't pass South Mississippi's smell test on Insurance Reform and Katrina.
Greg Copeland, the firm's founding member, is “ a longtime lobbyist for the insurance industry” . . . and the attorney for the American Insurance Association . . . and State Farm . . . and the recently ousted state insurance commissioner George Dale, who refers to Copeland as a “ good friend.”
His republican buddy and former roommate, Interim Senator Roger Wicker won't pass the smell test either when it comes to veterans issues, another HUGE issue here in South Mississippi and throughout the rest of the state as well. Every time an insurance company refused to pay or paid pennies on the dollar to a home or business owner, chances are rather high that the insurance company was betraying a family member of a vet . . . if not the vets themselves. Wicker's congressional voting record on key votes from the Disabled American Veterans shows the kind of man Wicker is when it comes to standing up for our men and women in uniform.
In 2006 alone, the DAV gave Wicker a 50% rating. In 2005, the DAV rated Wicker with a whopping goose egg-->0%. In 2004, the DAV rated Wicker with another whopping goose egg-->0%. In 2003, the DAV rated Wicker . . . with another goose egg-->0%!!!Since writing that in MS Senate race holds Katrina Recovery, Insurance Reform Future, I have found that the DAV rated Wicker with another goose egg in . . . 2002. WOW! Four years in a row from 2002 through 2005, Wicker failed to show up for duty on behalf of our disabled veterans. That's not just going AWOL. That's outright desertion, in my book.
By way of contrast, the DAV rated former Congressman Ronnie Shows 100% in 2002, 100% in 2001, and 100% in 2000. Shows is from South Mississippi, so I anticipate that his understanding of the issues facing families and businesses in the wake of Katrina has more of a personal connection than the cold office of his State Farm opponent Mustgo Musgrove. When it comes to disabled vets--be they in South Mississippi or elsewhere in the state, Shows showed up for duty each and every time which is in stark contrast to the deserter on disabled vet issues Interim Senator Wicker.
Katrina recovery, insurance reform, and vets issues are intimately connected for plenty of South Mississippi families, like my own. Count on voters employing the nose test of politics to the upcoming U.S. Senate election to replace Senator Trent Lott who was good on both issues. George Dale can attest to the fact that South Mississippi voters, in particular, can sniff out hypocrites far and wide . . . and vote for their opponent.
© 2008 Ana Maria Rosato. All rights reserved.
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