Sen. Sampson Jackson II (D-Preston) has retired from the Mississippi Senate after serving District 32 for nearly 30 years.
“After 48 and a half years in state government and military, I feel very well,” he told The Meridian Star on Wednesday.
Jackson, who represented Kemper County and parts of Lauderdale, Noxubee and Winston counties, is leaving one and a half years into his four-year term. Gov. Tate Reeves will set a special election that will determine his successor.
Jackson said his son, Keith K. Jackson, is going to run for his seat.
Sampson Jackson worked for the State of Mississippi for many years, including 10.5 years with the Department of Transportation, according to a statement. He also served in the U.S. Army for two years.
He started serving in the Senate in 1992. During his first term, he said the state and the school system were “broke,” so the Legislature decided to raise the sales tax from 6 to 7%. This change allowed the Legislature to set up a structured pay raise for teachers.
Before his retirement, Jackson was serving as chairman of the Forestry Committee. He has also served on the Corrections Committee, where he worked on criminal justice reform.
He was a member of numerous other committees during his tenure in the Senate, including Agriculture, Appropriations, Energy, Highways and Transporation, Interstate and Federal Cooperation, Judiciary, Division B and Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
Jackson noted improvements to the counties he represented, including bringing a regional jail to Kemper County. He also secured funding for the building of a natural gas pipeline from east of DeKalb to Scooba. He said the pipeline, which is currently being constructed, will save East Mississippi Community College $50,000 a year.
This past legislative session, he secured funding for the construction of a water line from the Kipling Water Association to a community in Kemper County north of Daleville.
Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, who presides over the Senate, praised Jackson in a statement.
“After nearly three decades of service, Senator Jackson has a wealth of experience and knowledge about the legislative process and policy which served his district very well,” Hosemann said.
Jackson said that an important part of being a senator is the ability to form relationships with other leaders.
“Being a senator, you really have to establish relationships with your senators and with leadership,” he said, “and that’s how you get things done.”
Jackson has a cattle farm and owns a few stores and an apartment complex. Now that he’s retired, he will have more time to raise cattle and manage his properties.
Jackson also likes to fish, but he never has taken time off to practice the sport. Now, he will.
“If I decide I’m going to go fishing, I’m going to take some time off and go fishing,” he said.