Local lawmakers weigh in on Rep. Moore resignation

 State Rep. John Moore, a Brandon Republican, stepped down from his seat amid sexual harassment allegations.
Staff Writer

Local policymakers have had little to say following the surprising news that longtime State Rep. John Moore, a Brandon Republican, stepped down from his seat amid sexual harassment allegations.

State Rep. Rob Roberson R-Starkville, said he just recently heard the news and was surprised to hear about the allegations against Moore.

"I didn't personally see anything that I thought would require an investigation or anything like that," Roberson said. "Obviously something has come up, but I really don't have any real information as far as those are concerned."

Roberson worked closely with Moore, serving both in the House and serving as the vice chairman for the Education Committee, of which Moore was the chairman.

"What I saw out of (working with Moore) was someone that was passionate about his views as far as education or for that matter any other issues out there," Roberson said. "I wasn't in a position to see his relationships with other people."

With Moore's resignation, the chairman position is vacant, which will be appointed by Mississippi Speaker of the House Philip Gunn. Roberson said he has not had any conversations with Gunn about taking over the chairman position.

"If I'm asked to step into it permanently, I would certainly do whatever is needed to do to serve my community and for that matter the state," Roberson said.

Roberson said he is unsure as to when the appointment will be made, but he expects the appointment to come a week prior to the State session, if not sooner. He said the speaker not only has to fill the education chair position, but also a few other open committee positions as well.

Gunn's office told the Starkville Daily News because the resignation is so recent, there is not a timeline as to when the appointment will be made at this time.

Roberson said amidst the allegations, he wants to reassure the public that the committee will not be missing a beat when it comes to taking care of education in the state.

"There's no question we are going to do what we must do for our education system, for our students, for teachers and for our parents who depend on this," Roberson said.

During this process, Roberson said he is certain the speaker will do a thorough job seeking and choosing the appointee. He said regardless of the decision, he is ready to get back to work.

"If it's me I certainly will need help and if it's not me I will certainly help whomever it is," Roberson said.

The Starkville Daily News contacted retired State Rep. Tyrone Ellis, D-Starkville and State Rep. Gary Chism, R-Columbus. Both declined to comment due to lack of knowledge on the subject.

State Rep. Karl Gibbs, D-West Point, was unable to be reached for a comment before press deadline on Monday.

Gunn confirmed the allegations, but could not confirm if the allegations led to Moore's resignation, according to the Associated Press.

Moore announced on Friday, Dec. 8 he was resigning from the House due to health reasons.

Moore had bypass surgery earlier this year and said on Monday he didn't know of any complaints against him.

Gunn said the House hired a lawyer to handle the investigation, but Moore's resignation ended the investigation. Gunn said Moore knew about the investigation.

- The Associated Press contributed to this report.