Hosemann not on Fair schedule yet
Wednesday, July 24, 2013 1:00 AM
Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann will not speak at the Neshoba County Fair this year, officials said Monday, citing a prior commitment.
Fair Association board member Scott Bounds, one of three committee members setting up the political speaking, said Hosemann would be out of town because of a family event.
"Right now he will be out of town both days [Wednesday and Thursday]," Bounds said. "If that changes we will work him in."
Hosemann's absence is not the only news to come out of the Fair speaking schedule.
A "controversy" arose over speaking times set for college presidents during the Fair but officials were quick to call it a misunderstanding.
The problem stems from the official political speaking scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday at the Fair.
The official Fair program lists University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones speaking at 10 a.m. with State Auditor Stacy Pickering to follow at 10:20 a.m. on Wednesday, July 31.
Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum is scheduled to speak from 10:10-10:20 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 1.
The "controversy" stemmed from the blog "Daily Ledes" written by Sam R. Hall, who suggested that the "obvious slight" to Keenum and MSU could actually hurt Jones and Ole Miss by keeping visitors outside for 20 minutes in the hot sun without "Delbert Hosemann hand fans."
On Saturday, July 20, Fair officials posted a response on Facebook saying all speakers are allotted 10 minutes only no matter who they are.
Rep. Bounds elaborated on the cause of the "controversy."
Initially, we sent out invitations to Ole Miss, MSU, Southern [The University of Southern Mississippi] and Jackson State asking their presidents to come and speak at the Fair, Bounds said.
"It's a non-election year, there are no contested races and we wanted to add more," he said.
The letters had a specific time already allotted for each person, Bounds said.
On July 12, the Fair board received responses with Jones and Keenum accepting while Jackson State University President Carolyn Meyers and University of Southern Mississippi President Rodney Bennett declining.
"We went on the premise that they would accept," Bounds said, noting that the Fair programs went to press two days later.
The board was able to secure East Central President Billy Stewart to take Bennett's slot; but it were unable to find anyone to put in Meyers' allotted time.
Instead those 10 minutes will be a "breather," Bounds said with a laugh.
"No favoritism was shown," he said. "I don't know why Bennett or Myers declined."
Bounds added that if another speaker is found it would be announced on the Fair's Facebook page.