HATTIESBURG, MS. - A Hattiesburg Attorney announced his candidacy for a chance with the Mississippi Legislature.
In an exclusive television interview with FOX 23, Cory Ferraez, 28, said he will campaign for the soon to be vacant seat and hopes to be the next State Representative for District 102.
Current State Representative for District 102, Mayor-Elect Toby Barker plans to make his last day with the Legislature on June 30 and begin his mayoral career in Hattiesburg starting July 1.
Ferraez said he is passionate about economic development in the Pine Belt and wants to face challenges head on as a State Representative.
“I am certainly campaigning on bringing the necessary, relationships and advocating for necessary resources to improve our infrastructure, and jobs, and economic development" said Ferraez.
He added, "Making sure we support our higher education and other healthcare related sectors here in Hattiesburg. And I believe I am a strong voice to do that in our Legislature.”
"When we can make improvements in our infrastructure and go and recruit other industries like manufacturing and agriculture we have a real opportunity to broaden our economic base here in Hattiesburg" said Ferraez.
Originally from Columbus, Mississippi, Ferraez has lived in Hattiesburg for 3 years and attended the University of Alabama for his undergraduate degree and Ole Miss School of Law. He said he has been passionate about politics since law school.
The January deadly E-F3 tornado that hit Hattiesburg sealed the deal for Ferraez to become a leader for the Pine Belt.
"Hattiesburg comes together like no other, that is more apparent in our recent tragedy in Hattiesburg with the tornado here."
Ferraez added, "That really sealed the deal for me about the ability for the community to come together behind a vision, calls, or even challenges, that we have."
"So I am passionate about addressing our challenges that Hattiesburg faces in our infrastructure and in our development."
"Those things are important that we have someone in the Legislature who can address those issues and build the coalitions necessary to make sure that we get the adequate funding and new approaches to and for funding infrastructure projects."
By law Governor Phil Bryant has to announce a special election 30 days after a vacant seat.
As of now, Ferraez is the only person to announce candidacy. But according to Ric McCluskey's Facebook page he is considering to run.
McCluskey said, "Since the results were announced, I have been honored by messages from individuals and groups across the state asking me to consider a run at the legislative seat vacated by mayor-elect Toby Barker.
I want to say "thank you" to everyone who's encouraged me!"
He added, "Although I'm presently undecided, I'm grateful for your support, and all options remain open. My decision will be based solely on moving Hattiesburg and this state in a positive direction."
McCluskey ran for 4th Congressional District in Mississippi in 2016, but was defeated by Congressman Steven Palazzo.
The new candidate will begin January for the regular session.